If you’ve young children like me – or maybe you’re just really excited about Santa coming – this question might be a daily occurance in your household in the run up to Christmas.
A Black Friday purchase, Alexa is a source of constant delight to my 6 year old. From tracking Santa, hearing his latest updates, telling jokes and even providing a – ahem – flatulence noise on demand, to telling me the time, weather and traffic conditions, we’ve embraced Alexa into our family. The ‘how many sleeps’ skill has actually been very helpful to me as I post our Living Advent Calendar venues (maths was never my strong point).
The Church of England has also tapped in to the powers of Alexa by developing a skill with additional Christmas content which now allows you to: Play daily Follow The Star reflections from Christmas Eve through the 12 days of Christmas to the Epiphany (‘Alexa, ask The Church of England for today’s Follow The Star reflection.’); listen to the specially-commissioned Follow The Star Carol by award-winning composer Will Todd, an arrangement of the much-loved ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’. (‘Alexa, ask The Church of England to play the Follow The Star Carol.’), and find Christmas services and events near you by asking the Church of England for your nearest church. (The CoE skill needs to be enabled via the Alexa app first, btw).
A step too far, some might say? Not at all. As I ask Alexa to play me some music and tell me what the weather’s like, it occurred to me that Alexa is particularly of use to people living alone, or with disabilities, who might not be able to get out. What better way to bring church to them this Christmas, than have Alexa play carols, say Grace and read the Lord’s Prayer to them?