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An Heroic Ministry
Verse of the day
YWI - working with...
YWI is pleased to work in association with
Fuller Youth Institute, US
Sophia Network, UK
Everyone loves Christmas don't they? Presents, parties, school holidays, family feuds, loneliness and isolation, world poverty. Yes. Christmas can be a celebration of frivolity, excess, and emotional manipulation, but this CPR explores how young people can be challenged to take another look as they unwrap Christmas.
WARM UP INTRODUCTORY ACTIVITY
Wacky Christmas Traditions: Give out paper and pens and ask the young people to write out what their wackiest Christmas tradition/ritual is - do they go skinny dipping on Christmas eve? Dress the dog up as Santa? Put them all in a hat and get the group to try and pair up the tradition with the person. Vote on your favourites and incorporate some of them into the group's sessions during the advent period.
Ask the young people to give some well-known carols a re-vamp, either by re-writing the words, incorporating a rap or putting it to a dance beat. Then take your re-vamped carols onto the streets to raise money for your chosen local charity.
Split into small groups and challenge each group to decorate a tree, all of them must fit the title ‘The real meaning of Christmas'. Give them some time to plan and prepare their (small) decorated tree. (Encourage them not to just come up with what they think you want, get them to think about what Christmas really means to them). Display the trees in a space where Christmas shoppers can stop and view them with some light refreshments during the Christmas shopping period.
Split the group into teams. Give them a supply of each of the things listed in the scenarios. Challenge them to come up with creative ways in which they can use each of these items to positively impact their community. Which team can come up with, and implement, the most imaginative uses?
WORKING WITH A GROUP
Play a game of pass the parcel, to make it more interesting, and a way of getting to know each other better. Put questions between the layers instead of forfeits, e.g. ‘Which famous person would you like to throw a custard pie at? Why?'
Ask the young people to bring in any unwanted items they have (clothes, books, games etc). Get them to swap their unwanted items for something they could give away as Christmas presents - free gifts! You could also make your own wrapping paper and Christmas cards.
Read out the story. Give the group all of the objects outlined in the scenario. Challenge them to come up with their own version of the nativity play incorporating all of the things listed in the scenario. Put on a performance of the play to parents/friends etc.
Make your own Christmas crackers, instead of a joke or motto, put in a piece of advice that would make the world a better place, put in fairtrade chocolates, make your own ‘newspaper' hats. Use this activity to share with the young people how these things can fit in with the ethos of Christmas.
Create a space where there are presents, a tree, decorations, Christmas lights, food and all of the trappings of Christmas. In the background play a soundtrack of a baby crying. Print off the story (@ www.biblegateway.com) of the birth of Jesus and place this somewhere within the space.
Put out small gift-wrapped boxes with a slot cut into the top, enough for each of the young people in the group. Write on their names. Give out pens and paper, ask the group to think about each person in the group and write a anonymous short sentence about something they appreciate about that person e.g. ‘you are great at including everyone' then post in the appropriate box.
WORKING WITH INDIVIDUALS
Encourage the young person to think of one gesture they can do that will share the meaning of Christmas with one other person. e.g. giving a charitable donation, helping out with a household chore etc.
Get a Christmas cake with a trick candle that re-lights after it is blown out, share the cake and take turns in blowing out the candle, each time talking about a Christmas memory from the past.
Take the young person to a local nativity play.
The Christmas story; for a contemporary translation try The Message.
www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A7951656 (Christmas traditions)
Sermon on the Mount - about giving and being Christ like.
The Christmas story
Matthew 25:34-40, Leviticus 19:18, Isaiah 42:1-9
What's the point of Christmas? J John
Lori Passmore is a freelance writer and co-leader of BoB, a young people's housegroup. Richard Passmore works with Frontier Youth Trust and Bristol Centre for Youth Ministry.