Sunday, September 9, 2012

Godly Play: The Holy Family

Materials for "The Holy Family": a nativity set
and the cross that is also the Risen Christ
In our Sunday Godly play group, I am currently preparing two children, one of them a special needs child, for baptism. Because of this, I am focusing on many of the core stories of Godly Play that allow the children to explore the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. "The Holy Family" is a simple story that helps children connect Baby Jesus in the manger to the Risen Christ they hear about at Easter.  

In fact, children often think that I am going to tell them the Christmas story when I pull out the materials and sometimes exclaim, "But it's not Christmas!" or "I already know that story . . ." But as soon as I begin by showing them Baby Jesus and explain that "his arms are stretched out to give you a hug . . . ", they usually begin to refocus and listen intently. The climax of the story is when I hold Baby Jesus directly in front of the figure of the Risen Christ (which is also in the form of a cross) and say, "Now Jesus can stretch out his arms to hug the whole world. He's not with us in the same way he was earlier. Now he is with us everywhere and all the time." (My translation from the German text!) Such a simple statement, but so powerful. 

The Wondering questions for this story have to do with which figure of the Holy Family the children like best, which is the most important, which figure tells something about them and which one we could leave out and still have everything we need for the story. There is also a question about where the children might have seen the figures of the Holy Family outside of our Godly Play room. Last time we met, there was no verbal wondering at all, probably since it was our first time together as a group. But this week, the children war quite chatty. Perhaps they were more used to each other, or perhaps it was easier for them to verbally process the Holy Family than the Great Family.

One of the children was quite distracted during the story and spent most of her time with my door person. I sent the story home with her mother, so that she could bring it up with the child at home at a more peaceful moment. Parental support is an integral part of any Godly Play program.

If you were specifically preparing a child for baptism, which Godly Play stories would you choose?


  1. Ich denke für die Taufvorbereitung sollten das Gleichnis vom Guten Hirten und die Gesichter Christi (mit der Taufe Jesu im Jordan) nicht fehlen. Dazu noch die Schöpfung, "Die große Familie" und der Exodus aus dem Alten Testament

    1. Der Gute Hirte und Die Große Familie sind dabei. Ich habe aber nicht an Gesichter Christi gedacht. Das ist eine gute Idee. Schöpfung u. Exodus sind auch wichtig. Danke!