Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Christmas by Year 1 Girls

Watch out for the srtudent looking at her foot at 4.24.  Hilarious!

How do you live the Christmas story? 

One way to get children to both hear AND live the story is to become a part of it.  This video from  Diocesan Junior School Auckland, NZ is a great example of  how you do that.

It's clearly inspired by St Paul's Arts and Kids Christmas Story movie from a year or two ago (which can be found here).  However this version includes more of the story as well as lots of adorable performances.

It's suitable for showing in chapel or deconstructing in RAVE.

Click the image above (or this text) to find it.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Natwivity (yes, that is spelled correctly)

What if Mary and Joseph had Twitter? If you follow @natwivity on Twitter you might find out. This clever idea which started on December 1 last year and hopefully will be running again this year tracks the tweets of Mary and Joseph as they travel to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. It also includes some pictures and links with Tearfund which gives it a social justice focus as well. What exactly was on Mary and Joseph's minds throughout these momentous events? Natwivity reveals all. A great way to inject some seasoning into Twitter for  Advent and Christmas.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Challenging Advent

I like and don't like these advent videos. I like the images used, although Mary and Joseph seem pretty down in the dumps. But maybe that is the point. It is easy to cover over their story with the joy of a new baby and who that baby is and  forget that the whole experience was probably shocking, numbing and overwhelming. I am not sure I like all the voice over. Maybe it is all too direct. At any rate these videos allow us to think about the lead up to the birth of Jesus with new eyes. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Reflecting on the Nativity

Here are a couple of reflective nativity videos that might be useful for Christmas worship. They both use music and techniques that lend themselves to quiet thoughtfulness. In the first video, while I prefer not to blur the lines between Christmas and Easter, like the gentle reminder at the end  that the baby becomes the man on the cross. Another video I watched about the "true meaning" of Christmas ended up with a bloody crucifixion. This I think goes too far. While the birth of Jesus might point forward to his death it has it's own special message. God is with us. For some reason I couldn't post these videos so you will find them here and here. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Advent for the Southern Hemisphere

If you're like me, it is easy to get cranky in the Advent / Christmas period at all the Northern Hemisphere imagery in our carols, decorations, etc.  These things are all good in themselves, but I enjoy seeing Southern Hemisphere imagery whenever possible.

The connection of the four Advent candles with the stars of the Southern Cross that are in our night sky every night of the year is an idea that has a lot of potential.

A group of Anglicans and Roman Catholics in NZ have come up with resources for worship where the stars are symbolised as four white candles with stars in front of them or on them. This symbolism is offered instead of the green wreath with its coloured candles, which originally derived from the Northern Hemisphere in a very different season of the year. However, it is still possible to use the four coloured candles with the traditional Advent wreath in this service and to focus on them as lights that shine in the dark.  As they explain:
The new approach, referring to the stars of the Southern Cross, is prompted by a number of biblical images. The saints are called to shine like the stars of the night in the book of Daniel (Chapter 12, verse 3). It was a star that guided the Magi to the Christ child (Matthew, Chapter 2, verse 9). The coming of Christ is described by Saint John (the Gospel according to Saint John, Chapter 1, verses 4 and 5) as the coming of a light into the darkness, which the darkness cannot overcome. We are called, like John, to witness to this light as Christians. Ultimately, Christ is described as the morning star in the book of Revelation (Chapter 22, verse 16). The season of Advent expresses all these hopes.
In the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, the four central stars of the Southern Cross shine permanently above us. From ancient times, these stars offered travellers and ocean navigators who looked up to them, a sure sense of direction, the way to true south. So also as Christians, we look to the cross of Jesus and the light of His resurrection to offer us a true bearing for our lives: the Way, the Truth, the Life. In the season of Advent, in particular, we remember and anticipate the coming into the world of the light that enlightens everyone, as a baby and as the Redeemer Judge at the end of time.
Visit their blog with more resources for using the Southern Cross in this way and why not explore other means by which we can have less snow and more sunshine in our Advent?