THE CHRIST CHILD AROUND THE WORLD
Have children divide the work equally in this nontraditional
worship that works especially well for larger churches.
Instead of a traditional worship service, have your kids
research and set up stations in a gym or fellowship hall to show
how baby Jesus is welcomed around the world. Form multi-age groups
that'll plan minipresentations according to their selected country
and interests. There are many traditions that lend themselves to
wonderful displays. For example, a tradition in Malta is to sow
wheat on clots of cotton four to six weeks before Christmas and
raise it in a dark cupboard. The result is snow-white grass to line
baby Jesus' bed.
Let each group choose what to do to best share the religious
heritage of the country it selects. If some sing, then give them an
area to perform. If some cook, let the congregation sample their
food or take home copies of their recipes. This gives every child a
chance to shine in the arena each chooses.
To direct each group's endeavors, you may set some standards you
want each group to meet, such as the following:
Each group will decorate a 6x6-foot area in the gym that could
include a flag of the country selected, a display or picture of the
country's representation of baby Jesus, a poster about religious
traditions, a costume of religious celebration for a person or
doll, a tape or video of the country's Christmas music, sculptures
or models, or a cooking project to share (with copies of the recipe
for everybody).Each group must prepare to talk about its country as
people visit its presentation station.Set up the day before the
presentation, and let the children take turns exploring each
other's stations. During the presentation, encourage the
congregation to roam freely. Then complete the experience by
gathering everyone to sing carols the children have chosen.
CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD RESOURCES
Provide research material, such as books from the library, a set
of encyclopedias, or downloads from the Internet. Here are great
Lori Niles is the co-author of The Warm and Wonderful Church
Nursery (Group Publishing, Inc.).