Christmas Pack #14
Gifts of Peace
Resources for Churches and Groups
- How to Use This Packet
- "Welcoming the Prince of Peace" Graded Activity Guides
- "Gifts of Peace" Guidelines for Alternative Giving
- "Welcoming the Prince of Peace" Models for Prayer and Worship
- Organize for Peace: How to Start a Peacemaking Group in Your Church
- "I Will Write Peace On Your Wings" Puppet Play
- "Welcoming the Prince of Peace" Advent and Christmas Calendar
- Sample Bulletin Insert
Copyright Creative Commons (original ©1993, Alternatives)
Feel free to reprint on a not-for-profit basis.
Gifts of Peace: Alternative Christmas Packet
Messages of peace surround us at Christmastime. From Christmas card greetings and familiar refrains wafting through the malls, to Scripture passages that guide our churches through the season, we greet the "Prince of Peace" and remember the promise of "peace on earth, good will to all." As we stand in line at a crowded store or tuck an anxious child into bed, we might be reminded of the words to a favorite carol . . . "Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright . . . ."
How "calm" is our Christmas? How calm was that first Christmas? Beyond this image of a tranquil, starry night in Bethlehem lies a more disorderly and troubled scene. A pregnant young girl marries a man who is not her baby's father. Travellers must leave their homes to go register with the government. A child is born on the streets because none will give up their own comfort for a laboring woman. The governor has all the baby boys in the area killed to ensure his grip on power.
Jesus was born into a troubled world. And Jesus comes as a gift of peace to our world exactly as it is right now. Jesus comes to pregnant teens, to homeless families, to refugees, to victims of violence and oppression. Jesus comes to frantic holiday shoppers, anxious children and busy families. Jesus comes with the promise of peace on earth, through justice, righteousness and plenty. This is the world we wait for and work for.
The resources in this packet can help us work towards the fulfillment of
Jesus' promise as we learn to live by values of reconciliation, creative
problem-solving, acceptance of differences, and unity with the poor and
powerless. The packet helps us to welcome the Prince of Peace, and to receive
and give gifts of peace this Christmas.
- "Welcoming the Prince of Peace" Graded Activity Guides. With separate guides for leaders of six different age levels - young children, older children, youth, senior high, young adults, and adults - these resources explore peace with self, peace in the family, in the community and in the world. Use the four one-hour group sessions during the weeks of Advent.
- "Gifts of Peace" Guidelines for Alternative Giving. This resource can lead small study groups to explore gift-giving and ways to give "gifts of peace" at Christmas. It can also be handed out to Advent workshop participants, families, or individuals.
- "Welcoming the Prince of Peace" Models for Prayer and Worship. These prayers, litanies, readings and other worship elements can be used to incorporate peace themes into worship services, prayer services or other special gatherings during the Advent/Christmas season.
- Organize for Peace: How to Start a Peacemaking Group in Your Church. This resource offers guidelines for organizing a year-round peacemaking group in your church or community.
- "I Will Write Peace On Your Wings" Puppet Play. Plan a children's puppet play for a special Christmas gathering or Sunday school class with these step-by-step instructions.
- "Welcoming the Prince of Peace" Advent and Christmas Calendar. With daily suggestions for thought and action, this calender helps individuals and small groups explore and promote peace.
Many More Christmas Articles.
Page updated 11 Sept. 2013
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