Thursday, 29 November 2012

"What's in the box?" An assembly for Advent (primary level)

You will need:
A canvas bag or a box

Inside it, you will need:
The figures of Mary, Joseph and the Christ child from a Nativity set
An Advent wreath with 4 candles and matches
A mirror

Sit down in the chair and do nothing, with the bag or box clearly visible in front of you.  Look in it once or twice and smile at the children.

When they start getting impatient, say “raise your hand if you want to find out what’s inside this bag.”

Ask them how it feels to be waiting to find out what you’ve brought.

Tell them that Advent is a special time in the church’s year.  Advent is a time of WAITING and GETTING READY.  The word “Advent” means “coming.”  What are we waiting for?  Who is coming?  Explain that people of many different religions get ready for Christmas - the tree, the presents, Christmas dinner - but Christians are waiting for another part of Christmas.  What special story do Christians remember at Christmas?  Who are Christians waiting for during Advent, apart from Father Christmas?
Ask if they know how Christians get ready for Jesus to come.

Bring out the Advent wreath and place the candles in it.  Mention that purple is our “waiting” colour.  If you have a pink candle in your tradition, mention that it’s a colour of happiness – our waiting is joyful because we know that Jesus is coming into our lives.

Turn off the lights and light the candles.  Explain that we light a new one every week.

Tell the children that the Bible talks about Jesus by saying “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

We are waiting for Jesus, who is the light of the world.  As the world outside gets darker and darker, our Advent wreath gets brighter and brighter, as Jesus gets closer and closer.

Take out the figure of Jesus from the crib scene and place it in the centre of the Advent wreath.

Ask if anyone knows the difference between a LIGHT SOURCE and something that reflects light.  Come up with as many light sources as you can.

Then take out the mirror and hold it up behind the Advent wreath.

What happens to the light?  (Many different answers are okay here - it gets reflected, it bounces back, there is more of it, etc.)

Take out the figures of Mary and Joseph and place them on either side of the Advent wreath.

If Jesus is the light of the world, shining in darkness, Mary and Joseph – and all who follow Jesus – are like mirrors.  We reflect the light of God into the world.  The light comes from God, but we can make it brighter and bigger, we can make it shine into new places, we can see the light reflected in each other.

You can turn the lights back on here, or leave them off as you finish and reflect.

I wonder what ways there are to see the light of God in other people?


Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility.  Grant that as our world grows darker this winter, we may feel the light of Christ growing in our hearts, as we get ready to welcome him into the world.  And help us to shine with the light of Christ, reflecting his brightness into the darkness.  Amen.


  1. Hi Margaret,

    That is a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing it with us. Would you consider sharing it on my blog's Link-Up, Exploring Advent and Christmas?

  2. I've always felt (or at least since it first occurred to me when I was about 24) that perhaps the best analogy for prayer is that it serves as a mirror, increasing the power of God's light to permeate the universe.

  3. Sheila, I'm so sorry I didn't see your post until now. Feel free to copy it if it's not too late!