How much do you really know about the first Christmas? Perhaps we’ve heard the story so many times we know it well. Or do traditions sometimes overtake the truth?
‘Rethinking Christmas’ is a chance to explore the Bible narrative with your young people through games and creative activities.
Ideal for younger teenagers. This active ‘run-around’ quiz will test your group’s knowledge of the accounts in Matthew and Luke, providing a platform for further discussion or reflection.
Set up four zones in your room or hall (zone A, B, C and D.) Ask the group to gather in the middle of the hall. Explain that you will ask a question about the Christmas story which has four possible answers (A, B, C or D.)
Then on your signal (a whistle is good) the young people have 10 seconds to run to the zone which they think represents the correct answer. Once everyone is in a zone, the whistle blows again and they have 5 seconds (if they wish to change their mind) to change zones.
For example; With what words did the heavenly host of angels praise God?
A Joy to the world, the lord is come
B O little town of Bethlehem
C Hark the herald angels sing
D Glory to God in the highest
Find out by downloading Rethinking Christmas (pdf) which contains this complete article including the ‘run-around’ quiz questions and an alternative (or additional) word search introducing the main characters and places in the nativity account.
A cinquian (pronounced ‘sin-CANE’) is a five lined poem whose rhythm relies on the number of syllables in each line. First created in 1911, these were short unrhymed poems consisting of twenty-two syllables. They were distributed into 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables in five lines.
Divide the young people into pairs and invite them to create a special advent or Christmas poem illustrating the feelings of one of the people involved or highlighting something of the real meaning of Christmas.
This is a great way to dig deeper into the thoughts and feelings of characters in the story or to reflect on the real meaning of the coming of Christ.
Create an five line poem based on the ‘cinquain’ method where,
- Line one has only one word, the title of the poem. (Noun).
- Line two has two words, describing the title. (Adjectives).
- Line three has three action words (or a three-word phrase) that tell you something that the title can do (Verbs).
- Line four has four words (or a four word phrase) describing a feeling about your title.
- Line five is one word that refers back to your title (Synonym).
Here is my own five minute attempt on the story of the wise men coming to see Jesus.
HOPEFUL JOYFUL SEARCHING
FOLLOWING THE EASTERN STAR
Now have a go yourself. You could begin with words like Mary, Angels Shepherds, Baby, Saviour, Christ, Jesus, Star, Light, Hope. Invite some of the young people to read out their five line ‘cinquain’ poems.
Prepare some discussion questions on the story to help your young people reflect on what they can learn from it today. For example,
- How do you think the teenager Mary felt when she heard the angel’s words? How do you react when you sense God calls you to a new, surprising or challenging task? What can we learn from Mary’s response and example?
- Why do you think Jesus was born in such humble circumstances? How does that make you feel about him today?
- The angel announced ‘Good News’ to the shepherds, who then spread that news to others. How could you share this same ‘Good News’ in the next few days?
Close with a short message or reflection on our own response to the first Christmas. Is it just an annual celebration? An opportunity to get that games console? The birth of a world religion? God demonstrating his love for mankind? God showing his love for ME? How do we respond to the birth of Jesus?
MORE CHRISTMAS RESOURCES
For more, click on Christmas ideas and talks on the category list on the sidebar.
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