Name that tune: an Advent all age talk

This talk was originally done in Gloucester Cathedral, for an all age service at Advent 2, but the approach could be adapted for any Sunday in Advent, or even on Christmas Eve/Day.  The cathedral organist was able to play extracts from all the popular songs listed, but the talk could also be done with recorded music – although a local church organist might welcome the chance to play something different!

It worked well with all ages as the songs are familiar across generations, it had humour but also a serious message too.


All Age Talk, Gloucester Cathedral, Advent 2 2017

When did Advent begin? Was it 1 December or was it Advent Sunday?

Advent means a coming towards………coming towards the birth of Jesus.

Who has an Advent calendar? Discussion about types of Advent calendars.

For many people Advent starts with the Switch-on of the Christmas lights in the city. Ask if anyone went along to one.

There’s so much to look forward to at Christmas – what do you look forward to the most? Brief discussion

Introduce the idea of wonderful things to look forward to – let’s name that tune and guess some of the things:

ORGAN MUSIC or music ensemble – encourage sing-a-long

  • I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
  • Rudolph the red nose reindeer
  • O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
  • Santa Claus is coming to town……..

We love these familiar tunes, but for us there is something more at the heart of Christmas. For us, it’s Christmas carols that help us to share the message of the good news of the story of the birth of Jesus. Like this one..

  • Away in a manger [or similar carol]

The Advent bible readings, offer us a very clear wish as they look forward to the coming of Jesus. The message of the prophets is this: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight a highway for our God.’

How do we prepare for the birth of Jesus at Christmas? How do we prepare a highway for God?   Snow, reindeer and trees are wonderful, but Advent is about getting ourselves ready as well.

There are (insert number) more sleeps to Christmas day.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us prepare to share the message that his birth is indeed good news for all people. Let’s think about how to make a highway for God.  How do we do that? We can join in the carols, but there could be more – and maybe this song gives us a clue:

  • Feed the world. Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

The coming of Jesus, the Christ child, is the beginning of a whole new world. A world of generosity and kindness and love. We can support (any local charity you would like to mention), Christian Aid, local Food Banks or simply show kindness and love to those around us …….

We can play our part in sharing the good news with all.

We can play our part in making a highway for God, and to welcome the Prince of Peace when he comes – not long now!

Original talk by Canon Nikki Arthy, Gloucester Cathedral


Life Events team