Christmas is fast approaching. It’s a time when Australia basically stops: schools break for holidays; offices shut down; and people gather together for one never-ending BBQ. All for what? It’s obviously a naturally low in the working cycle (except if you are a shopkeeper or work in a shop). However, for Christians it is the opportunity to once again, present the gospel clearly to our world. Once again, we get the opportunity to gather a large proportion of the wider community, sings hymns, and remember God lovingly “breaking” into our world by sending his Son, Jesus, into the world to do his mighty act of salvation.
One opportunity churches have to proclaim Jesus is through running a Community Carols. The idea is to run a family-friendly, attractive, yet gospel centered event that will not only bless the community but also reaffirm the true meaning of Christmas to people who may never hear otherwise. There is a fine line that churches need to think through. Questions like:
- What do we do with Santa?
- What do we do with secular carols that are anything but Christian – like Jingle Bells or Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.?
- Should we even have a sermon address?
These are good and valid questions and depending on how you answer them have a real bearing on how many people will actually attend your carols event (and future ones).
I’m no expert, but may I suggest a narrative approach to your Carols event. You can see it diagrammatically, as follows:
It’s an integrated Christmas narrative that could be used as a framework for the whole carols event. The main benefit of this is that it presents a faithful, coherent and unified narrative that would work well for a whole Community Carols, whilst also being flexible, accommodating and engaging to the modern (secular) resident.
- This proposal is a framework we believe will work. There is lot of room for flexibility around the readings and carols for items, etc.
- Each reading will be a faithful paraphrase, read by an accomplished reader . We don’t expect each reading to exceed a few minutes per reading. With all the carols, the readings, the MC, and Santa, etc, we calculate the carols event to be about 1¾ hours in total.
- The carols around each reading are suggestions that would work well for each particular reading.
- Santa Claus is a welcome part of the Community Carols. He is of importance because children and families are familiar with him, but also because his historical origins lie in Bishop Nicolas, who lived among the poor and because of his love and mercy would buy, wrap and give gifts to the children in the poorest area of his community. It would be wonderful if we could meet this Santa through a fun and interesting interview.
At our Community Carols, we plan to cap this year at 5,000 people. That is eminently achievable for our area and a great opportunity for the Gospel. I’d love to hear stories of what your church has done or plans to do in the future – you know where to find me!
Loves Jesus and loves telling people about Him.