A CHRISTMAS POEM. My story notes... Setting the scene. Story reference

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1 A Christmas poem

2 A CHRISTMAS POEM Setting the scene You will need: The Bible Curriculum Flash Cards and The Children s Bible in 365 Stories, by Mary Batchelor (published by Lion Hudson plc. paperback /hardback ). Tell the children that the stories they will hear over the next few weeks come from the New Testament part of the Bible. Show the appropriate section in the children s Bible. If you have The Bible Curriculum Flash Cards, show and talk about cards one to three: The Life of Jesus: A 10 point overview. Story reference This story is not in The Children's Bible in 365 Stories For a printable version of today s story see A Christmas poem in this week s Printables. My story notes... Copyright 2016

3 How to illustrate the story Telling the story using props A map of Ireland A poetry book A plain piece of paper and an old fashioned pen Cecil's poem (see Printables) A pencil Another idea You will need: A copy of the story (see Printables), a shawl and a bonnet if you have one. Ask a helper to dress up as a Georgian/Victorian lady. Encourage the helper to sit in a chair in front of the children. Give the helper the printed copy of the story and explain that they are playing the part of Cecil in the story and will need to read the words in italics. Either tell the story or ask an older child to read it aloud, but do not read the words in italics. As you tell the story make sure the children understand that you are referring to Cecil sitting in the chair. You could tell this story as part of your nativity service. Encourage the children to dress up before the service. During the service tell the story using the idea above, then play Once in Royal David s City from a CD through a PA system while the children simply mime the nativity story. (This will need to be practised a few times before the service). Prayer Father God we thank You for the many people that have told and re-told the Christmas story, passing it down from generation to generation so that more and more people can hear the wonderful news of Jesus birth. Father we think about Cecil Alexander who wrote this poem wanting to teach children about Your great love. Father, thank You that today we can still hear the excitement and wonder in the words she wrote. Father God please help us, as we sing this and other carols to think again of Your great love and how truly wonderful it is that You sent Your Son to live amoung people. Amen. Things to take on Sunday... Copyright 2016

4 A CEREAL MANGER Beware of allergies - make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle and taste the food used in this activity. You will need: One Weetabix per child One Shredded Wheat per child Kitchen towel Paper plates - enough for two per child Jelly babies Scissors Dinner knives Teaspoons Coloured pencils and/or felt-tips How to prepare: Print off or photocopy sufficient instructions for one between three or four children. Make a sample manger so that the children know what they are making. How to make: 1. Make sure each of the children can see a set of instructions. 2. Encourage the children to wash their hands. 3. Help each child to make a manger, working through the instructions one step at a time. Dead Sea Comic Capers For an alternative activity, print off and enjoy colouring in this week s Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables). Shopping list... Copyright 2016

5 Printables 1. Story: A Christmas poem 2. Cecil's poem 3. How to make a cereal manger instructions 4. Dead Sea Comic Caper

6 1. Story: A Christmas poem A CHRISTMAS POEM Nearly 200 years ago a little girl called Cecil Frances Alexander was born in Dublin. As Cecil grew up she found that she loved to write poems hour after hour she would sit writing and re-writing verse after verse. Some of her poems were long, telling gripping stories, while others were short and talked about Cecil s thoughts and feelings. Because she was a Christian, many of her poems were about God. Soon people began to think that with the right pieces of music the poems could be sung in churches. After a while Cecil s verses began to be printed in hymn books and by the time she was in her 20s she was known as a hymn writer. A few years later Cecil began to write a poem that was especially for children. She had written other verses for younger readers but this poem was special it would tell the story of Christmas. Cecil looked at her blank sheet of paper. Where did the Christmas story begin? Who were the characters? Soon the first verse of her poem began to form in her head and Cecil began to write Once in royal David s city stood a lowly cattle-shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for His bed: Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ her little child. Cecil paused. How could she explain the wonder of the story, God becoming a tiny Baby? A beautiful palace would have been a fitting place for Him, but instead He was born in a dirty stable. He came down to earth from heaven Who is God and Lord of all, and His shelter was a stable and His cradle was a stall Cecil wrote more. Remembering how Luke described Jesus in the early part of his Gospel, she wrote in her own words how she imagined Jesus as a boy. And through all His wondrous childhood He would honour and obey, love and watch the lowly mother, in whose gentle arms He lay: Cecil finished the third verse and began the fourth. Christian children all must be mild, obedient, good as He....for He is our childhood s pattern day by day like us He grew Cecil knew that with God s love and the powerful help of the Holy Spirit it is possible for a person to become more and more like Jesus: peaceful, loving, kind and obedient. As Cecil came to the end of her poem there was a part of the story that she had not yet told - those who turn to Jesus and believe in Him will one day meet God s Son, not in a stable, but in heaven. And our eyes at last shall see Him, through His own redeeming love not in that poor lowly stable, With the oxen standing by, we shall see Him but in heaven, set at God s right hand on high A year later Cecil s poem was discovered by a musician called Henry Gauntlett. Henry was an organist. During his life he wrote over a 1,000 tunes for hymns. His most famous piece of music was called "Irby". You and I would recognise it as the tune to Once in Royal David s City.

7 2. Cecil's poem Once in royal David s city, Stood a lowly cattle-shed, Where a mother laid her Baby In a manger for His bed: Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ her little Child. He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all, And His shelter was a stable, And His cradle was a stall; And through all His wondrous childhood He would honour and obey, Love, and watch the lowly mother, In whose gentle arms He lay:...christian children all must be Mild, obedient, good as He. For He is our childhood s pattern; Day by day like us He grew... And our eyes at last shall see Him, Through His own redeeming love... Not in that poor lowly stable, With the oxen standing by, We shall see Him; but in heaven, Set at God s right hand on high.

8 3. How to make a cereal manger

9 3. How to make a cereal manger A CEREAL MANGER Beware of allergies - make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle and taste the food used in this activity. 1. You will need: One Weetabix per child One Shredded Wheat per child Kitchen towel Paper plates - enough for two per child Jelly babies Scissors Dinner knives Teaspoons Coloured pencils and/or felt-tips 2. Colour in one of your paper plates. 3. Place a Shredded Wheat on your second plate and ask an adult to carefully cut it in half as shown in the picture. 4. Place one of the Shredded Wheat halves on your decorated plate with it's cut side facing down. Place the second half on top of the first with it's cut side facing upper most. 5. Place a Weetabix on your second plate and use the teaspoon to make a shallow hole as shown in the picture. 6. Place your Weetabix on top of your Shredded Wheat to make a cereal manger. 7. Cut a strip of kitchen towel and wrap it around a jelly baby. 8. Place the wrapped jelly baby in the cereal manger. 9. You could scatter some cereal crumbs around the manger to look like the floor of a stable.

10 4. Dead Sea Comic Caper

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