Over the last week I have delivered three different craft based chrismas services to over 50 children; it has been amazing and a lot of hard work.
My fingers are sore from all the cutting out, my cuticles are weirdly coloured from all the mixing of paint and my nails might have become glued to my nail bed; but it was all worth it, completely and utterly. There is something about the preparation and planning and manual labour which is central to the ministry with children and families; it's hard work and giving of self and yet it frees my mind and allows me to pray for those I will serve, The preparation truly is the guts of it and the backbone of the whole provision.
But let's be clear, it is the joining in and helping and explaining and watching the exploration and celebrating the creations which is the absolute highlight and which keeps me going in the hard hours of prep. And so today I thought I'd share some of the craft which we've engaged with and some of the messages which they've embodied.
I drew a simple silhouette of a manger with Jesus, Mary, Joseph and a sheep (of sorts). I then invited the children to go mad with paints, crayons or pens across a page and see what effect it would achieve once the silhouette was added. There were all sorts of varied and wonderful patterns and effects created but most of them got whisked away before I got a chance to photograph them. These two were proudly presented to me and they are indeed stunning; showing the sky and the contrasting light from Jesus at his birth. Fabulous.
The Big Art Piece
I love collaborative art; the way a group can together create something that means so much both as a whole and individually. I brought one large canvas and a myriad of coloured paints and let the group free with the idea of producing a nativity masterpiece. Didn't they do amazing; it has so much to offer.
From the sublime of art, to the simplicity and elegance of toddler proof creations. Take one paper plate, cut it into a smaller circle with a fringed tail; cut out some donkey head shapes and allow the kids to colour and stick and create their own rocking donkey ready to carry Mary.
Cross Stained Glass Pictures
Good enough to do again and again; create a cross shape in a card and back it with pieces of tissue paper to create these wonderful pictures.
Trees of Love
Who would have thought that the simple heart shape could be so versatile? I found this on pinterest and the kids and I have loved it. Here are two versions; one with the tree drawn out and then filled in with hearts; the other focussing on the hearts themselves. One for Joy, One for Hope and One for Love.
Last but very much not least, there are the angels. There are so many different types and styles that can be created; using toilet rolls, paper plates, off cuts from rocking donkeys, paper, card, glitter and anything else you need. Here are just two we created in the last few weeks.