Equipment: Paper, pens, laptop, projector, , Retooning the nativity video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-4y5mK_o9E), Christmas Run-around (Game: http://insight.typepad.co.uk/rethinking_christmas.pdf)
Game: A variation on the shopping game. ‘For Christmas I unwrapped a…’ – Each person says something e.g. ‘For Christmas I unwrapped a PlayStation’. The next person goes and says all the answers that have gone before then their own.
Ask: What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
Explain: There’s lots of things we enjoy about Christmas and lots to celebrate. Often it can be easy to get caught up in the mayhem of Christmas and forget what Christmas is all about: The birth of Jesus.
In Groups: Give groups 2 minutes to come to write down all they know about the Christmas story. Bring the groups back together and look at what they have. Have they missed or added anything? (Don’t tell them quite yet!).
Christmas Run-around: (Borrowed from http://insight.typepad.co.uk/rethinking_christmas.pdf) – Ask the questions on the document and have ‘A’ ‘B’ ‘C’ and ‘D’ up around the room.
Explain: Often our view of the Christmas story is based on nativity plays and Christmas card scenes rather than what the bible actually says. Let’s have a look at a short video about what really happened in the Christmas story.
Video: Retooning the nativity
Small Groups: In their small groups again get one group to read through the Luke passages and one group to read through the Matthew passages and write down what they find out about the real Christmas story (bullet points)
Passages: Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 1:18-25 and Matthew 2:1-18 (Split these between groups)
Feedback: Bring the group back together and get them to share and combine what they found out.
Explain: The Christmas story that we’ve added to makes it very fluffy and we end up with a cute story like the scene we find on Christmas cards. In reality the Christmas story is challenging to all those in it.
Groups: Back into groups ask them to come up with the challenges they think: Mary, Joseph, The Wise Men faced.
Feedback: Feedback the discussions on challenges.
Explain: In reality what we have in the Christmas story is something far more radical. Mary, an unmarried virgin is asked to carry the Son of God…being pregnant outside of marriage would have been hugely controversial. Joseph, her fiance suddenly finds his wife-to-be pregnant…and he knows he isn’t responsible…then has to trust that God is in all this. The wise men put their faith in a star and spend a couple of years travelling to find out what’s going on. Throughout the story people are being challenged, putting unimaginable amounts of faith in God and finding their relationships testing.
More amazing than all of that is Jesus. The son of God coming to earth as a baby. A baby who would grow up to be the saviour of the world.
Prayer: Close the session by praying. Ask that God would help us remember the real meaning of Christmas.
ADD-ON: If you have a bit longer why not invite your group to have a go at writing a modern day version of the Christmas story?