Christmas poems for your carol service (and beyond!)
Looking for the perfect poem to help your church and community reflect on the hope of Christ’s birth at Christmas? Over the years we’ve shared various poems...
Steve Rouse, Church Team Director at LICC, on how you can equip the people in your church to live out the hope of Christmas in daily life with simple Advent gift boxes.
Advent – that wonderful time of year when you can’t remember where you put last year’s Christmas decorations, you hope there’ll be enough children to stage the nativity play, and you look forward (?) to dressing up as Santa for the pensioners’ Christmas lunch. All together now: ‘We wish you a merry Christmas…’
I’m grouching (or is that grinching?). Truthfully, though, it’s wonderful preparing for all these things that bring folk together. For many of us, Christmas means tens or even hundreds of people we don’t normally see coming through our doors to sing carols, eat mince pies, and, we pray, understand something of the gospel message.
But Christmas doesn’t stop there. Because when the carol services end, our congregations go out to their frontlines: the ordinary places where God’s put them, amongst even more people who don’t know Jesus.
Christmas is about the message of hope coming to meet us – not God waiting for us to come to the message of hope. In the same way, we can live out the Advent message amongst the people we meet day to day, not just by bringing them to church.
Every December, we have an amazing opportunity to equip people for that mission. So this year, how about making a one-degree shift and equipping people to share hope out on their various frontlines as well as in church?
‘How do I do that?’ I hear you cry. Never fear – LICC has the answer…
This is a really simple idea, but one that’s worked wonders in my church. On the first Sunday of Advent, you simply give each person in your church a gift box – designed to encourage them to live out the messages they hear each week of Advent on their frontlines.
Each box contains five candles, chocolate coins, and envelopes – one each for every week in Advent. The idea is to build in the excitement of opening Advent calendars – and in my church’s experience, everyone from five to 95 years old loves it.
The real whole-life Christmas magic is contained in the little envelopes. Alongside the chocolate coin is a card, including a verse from the section of the story being focused on that week and a simple frontline practice to attempt – designed so as many of your folk as possible can give them a go.
Each one is an opportunity for people to take the advent message of hope to the places they find themselves: schools, neighbourhoods, workplaces and homes – not just waiting for the people there to come to church over Christmas.
Our prayer is that this simple idea will help shift the dial in your church, encouraging all to see how God is at work on their frontlines at Christmas time – and how they get to join in.
Here’s all you need to bring the idea to life:
After the past 18 months, the people around us need a message of hope more than ever. May this simple activity help the people in your church make a difference for God on their frontlines – reflecting his love in the ordinary details of their day-to-day lives.
Church Team Director