A session looking at the truth behind the myths of Chirstmas
Suitable For All Ages
Required: Flip Chart paper, pens, bibles
Opening: Get the group to write down everything they know about Christmas on a piece of flip-chart paper (this session works best when donkeys and 3 wise men are written down)
Ask: Ask two individuals to read the Christmas story one from Matthew 1:18 – 2:12 & one from Luke 2:1-20
Explain: When we read the Christmas story we find that actually there’s no mention of a donkey, the bible doesn’t tell us that the Shepherds took a sheep to give, the three wise men were actually astrologers and we’re not told how many of them there were just that they gave gold, incense and myrrh.
It seems that somewhere along the line we’ve made the Christmas story all fluffy and cozy and forgotten the power behind it. Tonight we’ve going to explore the Christmas story in a couple of different ways, first let’s think about some practical issues.
Practicals: Mary is told she’s pregnant by the Holy Spirit – She’s unmarried (adultery is a stoning offense) and also probably only 14 or 15.
Joseph finds out his wife-to-be is pregnant…has she been unfaithful to him? The whole Holy Spirit story sounds a bit far-fetched!
So Mary and Joesph are having a pretty tough time, let’s have a look at how Joseph may have reacted in the beginning!
Drama Sketch: Have 3 of your leaders prepare the drama sketch from myfishbites – link
Discuss: What other struggles happened in the Christmas story?
Explain: Sometimes we forget how shocking to the people reading it some of the things in the Christmas story were (bizarrely probably not the baby killing!), so let’s look at a modern day version of the story
Small Groups: Split the group into smaller groups and hand them the modern day Christmas story (see extra download) and questions, ask them to read through it and think of their reaction.
Sharing: Ask the groups to share their thoughts with the rest of the group
Explain: Sometimes we forget the power of the Christmas story and the bizarre circumstances in which Jesus was born into this world, we get too caught up in cute nativity stories where the stable is actually quite nice and forget that in todays terms it was worse than a cold council flat, we forget the worries that Mary and Joseph would have had and perhaps even the strain it put on their relationship, did Joseph have doubts about the baby really being from God?
Challenge: The challenge for all of us in this story is to remember that God can do amazing things, that when we choose to give our lives to Him it’s not a small change but a massive change, we just need to be prepared to let God work in us listen to Mary’s Song from Luke, sung just after she found out she was going to have God’s baby!
Reading: Ask a female leader to read Luke 1:46-55 from The Message
Challenge: So as Christmas approach’s think of the Christmas story for what it really is, a story full of mystery, fear and challenge, a story that reminds us that we should be prepared for God to turn our lives upside down and use us!