Christmas Ideas 2017
Christmas Scavenger Hunt Fun.
Some years ago the Churches in Geelong came together to create a ‘search and find’ scavenger hunt around their Victorian city. It is a fun way of involving families and children, It is also a way of shopkeepers joining in and getting people into their shops. It is a way of inviting people to a special Community Christmas Service where the winners are announced.
The Concept: Organisers produce a good number of different looking, individual wise men, either handmade or as various picture/poster size by the organisers. Each wise man is identified by a given name.
The concept is explained to shopkeeper who is invited to participate by displaying a wise man somewhere in their store or shop window. The shop keeper is supplied with a quantity of ‘star stickers’. (Explain that it is a great way of encouraging the community to notice/support their business over Christmas). Children or families who want to play the game are supplied with a card /passport listing the wise men’s names and the street or general direction where they may be found. The shopkeeper adds a ‘star sticker’ to the searchers ‘nativity passport’ for each wise man found. At a special Christmas service the completed Passport wins a prize for the holder.
Besides the search for ‘The Wise Guys’ the churches at Geelong also set up a photo booth on the weekends leading up to Christmas. Families were encouraged to dress up as characters from the Christmas story, like a shepherd, an angel or Mary and to pose for a free digital photo. An ideal photo to include in Christmas Cards.
Source: Eternity Paper. Dec. 2014
“HABITUATION”---- be on guard this Christmas.
Habituation is the tendency of a person to stop noticing or responding to something that’s part of their environment for a prolonged period of time. We just don’t notice or appreciate some things after a while. We simply get used to them. Habituation can be both good and bad. It is not so good when we get used to a beautiful sunrise or we take a special relationship for granted or we fail to reach out to needy people around us or we lose our sense of awe at the amazing love of God.
For many of us in the church, there’s a danger of this habituation creeping into our lives at Christmas time. Many of us are really busy at this time of year. We can fall into the trap of habituation and fail to appreciate the significance of God’s incredible gift of Jesus.
In Luke 2:19 “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
This Christmas with all the busyness that happens, lets set aside some time to remind ourselves of the wonder of God’s amazing love in sending Jesus to live and die among us.
Another way habituation can affect us is that we can get used to the fact that there are people all around us — people we work with or play with or live next door to—who don’t yet know of God’s love for them.
One of many amazing things about Jesus is that he never got used to this. He always noticed people who were apart from God, and He loved them, He lived for them, He wept for them and He died for them.
This Christmas, hopefully we’ll all notice these special people and pray for them and reach out to them in some way so that can discover the amazing love of God in Jesus Christ.
Adapted from UC Information, Rev Graham Humphris, 2007.
TWO WEB SITES WORTH VISITING
Australian Christians seeking to live, speak and act more graciously, more compassionately, more like Jesus in today’s world. Get your daily Advent reflections in your box this December. “We are a movement of 35,036 Christians seeking to be more like Jesus as we love our neighbour.” Check out Common Grace
Billy Graham Organisation: Full Website here
Areas to explore on this site include: Grow your faith, TV & Radio, What we do, News, and About.
And a short film, FLYING BLIND, to share with your church, small group or others. (In Australia you could show via YouTube - google Flying Blind).
This is also available as a DVD RESOURCE
Following the recent trends away from Judeo-Christian values the words of Philip Brooks are noteworthy. “Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks, and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks.”
AN ADVENT PRAYER
Leader: Lord God who came to a waiting world, who became one with us in Jesus, as we wait for Christmas Day help us to know there is no end to your coming.
PEOPLE: AS WE WAIT IN FAITH, WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRESENCE.
Leader: Jesus came unto His own and his own received him not. As we come to Christmas Lord be with those who feel alone and rejected by others. Be with single mothers, those without work, new migrants, those who are in prison and be with their families.
PEOPLE: YOUR KINGDOM COME YOUR WILL BE DONE.
Leader: We pray for those who have faced disappointment this year, a broken relationship or where a death will mean an absence of a loved one this Christmas.
PEOPLE: YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE.
Leader: The heavens were filled with choirs of angels. We pray for our nation as it celebrates with singing, gifts and Christmas cheer. Help us to listen to you. Keep us from being greedy consumers, and over valuing material things.
PEOPLE: YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE.
Leader: Lord Jesus come and reign over us wherever the sun traces its course across the sky. Lord Jesus come into our lives and change our ways. Strengthen and preserve the good laws and customs of government, our freedom of speech and worship.
PEOPLE: GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD.
Leader: Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, we thank you that you have come to save us from ourselves, to fill our hearts with your Spirit and with that fuller life which reflects your glory and that gives us reason to rejoice.
PEOPLE: GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD, AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER. AMEN.
Mary’s Christmas. ---- A devotional reflection.
As the baby’s mother, Mary plays a crucial part in the Christmas story. It all begins with the visit of Gabriel to Mary; “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. (Luke 1:30,31).
This conversation between Gabriel and Mary takes us straight to the heart of what Christmas is all about. God was doing something unique, that had never been done before! ‘God was beginning, at this divine and human point, the New Creation of all things. The whole soiled and weary universe quivered at this direct injection of essential life’ (C S Lewis)
This child joins heaven and earth in a new way: the eternal enters time and space and pure spirit takes on flesh and blood. God becomes a human being in the baby Jesus.
God chose an unknown, frightened teenage girl to bring about this new beginning for all of us. Her response is the pattern for us, as we welcome God’s special gift into our lives this Christmas. “I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled (Luke 1;38)
Mary gave an unqualified Yes to all that God wanted to do in her life. It was a costly decision, which risked both shame and scandal. Yet she was ready to obey God and to trust His plans for her, despite her many questions. Is the same true for us this Christmas?
Adapted from The Link, Dec 2016, Rev Paul Hardingham.
List prepared by Rev. E.A. Curnow, Victoria.