Is this the best that we can offer?

Are you ready for Christmas? Perhaps, like me, you’re not *quite* there yet, or more realistically for me at least, you can see the big event hurtling towards you at a rate of knots and know you need to take action quickly!

My annual efforts to try to ‘do better than last year’ have led to my joining several online communities each offering their top tips for successful organisation and it’s in these forums I’ve spotted an interesting theme. Several better organised Mums than me (not hard!) have made comments such as:

“I was struggling to find a Santa experience locally that didn’t cost an arm and a leg but our local church has come to the rescue with their Christmas fayre; visits to see Santa for only £5!”

“Have you looked at your local church to see what they’re doing for Christmas? Ours is offering Santa breakfasts for free!”

Great! The local church is connecting with local families this Christmas, meeting needs and making connections but I have to wonder, is this the best that we can offer? Do we really want the church to be known at Christmas as the place where you get to see Santa for free? Don’t we have more to give?

We recently organised a conference for a group of local churches. We had words of wisdom and insight from speakers from across the country, but gave the final words to a 16 year old young man. When we asked him what message he wanted to give to these churches, we probably expected him to talk about the need for ‘more fun’ ‘shorter sermons’ or ‘newer songs,’ but instead, he said “something’s got to change; you treat Jesus like he’s an acquaintance but he’s your friend!” He went on to talk about the way church was boring and that was so wrong because God’s not boring! God does stuff and we get to connect to him! How have we made that boring?

As I reflect on this, I think again about Jesus’ challenge to his disciples in Mark 10:13-16, “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” I see again new ways that we are, in fact, hindering the children. We make judgements as to how palatable or attractive Jesus may be, and decide to sweeten the pill; we decide we need a hook to bring people so we can make a subtle mention of Jesus as though he is an afterthought, we create worship services so far removed from acknowledging the presence of Jesus that our young people see them as boring.

Many of us will have already planned our Christmas events and many, like me, will still be ‘finalising arrangements.’ Whether those plans include a free Santa breakfast, a Christmas story trail, Christingles, nativity plays or living nativities, may we all have Jesus words ringing in our ears; “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.”

Christmas Resources Round Up

Are you ready for Advent and Christmas? Looking for a late addition to your planning or starting with a blank page with a couple of weeks to go? Here’s a round up of some of the resources we’ve spotted ready for advent and Christmas this year.


The GodVenture Sticker Advent Calendars have been a firm favourite for our family and the friends and family we’ve passed them onto over the last few years. As you count down to the big day, these sticker advent calendars hep you to retell the story of the first Christmas.

Flame Creative Children’s ministry rather appropriately has 25 creative ideas for advent, suitable for home, church and children’s groups. You could try one each day, or dip in and choose those most appropriate to your setting.

Give away books

Hope Together’s Christmas give away story book for toddlers uses the Happyland toys from the Early Learning Centre to tell the story of Jesus to the Rescue.

Love Came Down is a new book published this year by 10 of Those, based around John 3:16 with discounts available for larger volumes.


Care for the Family’s Playtime ministry to toddler groups has a new story book out this year; The Best Christmas Present in the World, complete with story retelling, craft activities and take-home ideas.


Scripture Union have created a new trail for Christmas 2021, In Search of Christmas, using QR codes and based on their giveaway book, God Became Like Me?

Muddy Church have a range of trails available for advent, Christmas, winter and new year, connecting faith with the outdoors, including Muddy Christingle and Jesse Tree ideas.

Sun hats and Wellie boots have a new nativity trail available, designed especially with younger children in mind.

What Advent and Christmas resources have you come across this year? What resources are you looking for?