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24 November 2014

Bring your community together this Christmas

Bring your community together this Christmas

Silent Night Carols is an opportunity not to be missed, writes HOPE's Roy Crowne.

You can bring your community together to sing carols and remember the 1914 Christmas Truce – the moment when peace broke out in the First World War.

The Sainsbury's Christmas advert means lots of people are seeing the story re-enacted on their TV screens. Sainsbury's message is 'Christmas is for sharing'. What an amazing opportunity to share Jesus with friends, neighbours and work colleagues – you could take a vote in your workplace on what's the best Christmas advert this year, then invite colleagues to join a local Silent Night Carols event.

We are thrilled that more than 300 sports stadiums, churches and cathedrals are holding these events. Some will be massive –like the Ulster Rugby match on Boxing Day, the event at the Saracens ground in north London on 11 December, the Crystal Palace event on 9 December or Swansea City carol event on 4 December. Premier League players and managers are taking part in many of these sports stadium events.

At the other end of the spectrum there are Beer &Carols nights in local pubs and primary school Christmas carol services.

Each event is a chance to talk to people about Jesus –the one who promises to end all wars and bring lasting peace. Of course, that means Christians everywhere need to be ready to talk about Jesus and the hope he gives us!

HOPE has been planning these events for the past two years. There are loads of ready-to-use resources and Tearfund has worked with us to produce free souvenir programmes for the events.

This is an event that lends itself to football and other sports stadiums. It brings sports fans together to sing and reflect on who Jesus is and why he came –reaching groups that are often missing from churches.

And it's not too late to plan a Silent Night Carol event to make the most of this unique centenary of the 1914 Christmas Truce.

  • Join with other churches and community groups to sing Silent Night and other carols
  • Invite the Salvation Army or similar band to play and local choirs to take part from schools and community groups
  • Ask a local evangelist or gifted Christian communicator to give a 5-minute talk on the peace and reconciliation that Jesus brings
  • Invite local footballers, managers and fans plus any armed forces groups and uniformed organisations to join the event

Consider:

  • Include the specially-written version of Silent Night, Christ the Saviour is Born, soon to be released as a chart single with a celebrity singer - find out more at www.singsilentnight.com
  • Use the souvenir Silent Night Carols programme available free from www.silentnightcarols.org
  • Ask the local football club to host the event or to hold it at half time in a match near to Christmas Day
  • Give away copies of the replica Active Service Gospel or the Silent Night booklet available from SGM Lifewords at www.sgmlifewords.com

Find out more at www.hopetogether.org.uk/christmas.