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CHRISTMAS Year B

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The Holy Family. Goya.
goyaxmas.jpg

In case you're still looking for some Christmas drama, click here for a little nativity play. [Nov. 30/07]

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CHRISTMAS IV ROTATION

Click here for Overview * Background Notes * In the Arts * Questions for Discussion * Workshops * Revu from Christmas 1.

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TOPIC/STORY

The Christmas story -- a light shines in the darkness.


DATE:

December Year B


WORKSHOPS & ACTIVITIES:

* Arts -- snow globe

* Kitchen -- gift cake in a tin

* Computer -- Fluffy the Christmas Sheep/Prophets

SOURCE TEXT:

Luke 2: 1 - 20. READ THIS.


KEY VERSE:

Luke 2: 10.

The angel said to them: "Do not be afraid for behold I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. (New King James Version)


AFTER STORYTIME IN CHURCH, ALL CHILDREN MEET IN THE CHURCH HALL FOR GATHERING TIME, BRIEF REVIEW, THEN GO TO SCHEDULED WORKSHOPS.

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BACKGROUND NOTES (& OTHER NEAT INFO):

Beloved lines from Luke immortalized by Charlie Brown.
Linus actually. Treat yourself. Get the video or tape it off the tube and watch it one more time!

Get serious.
Charles Schultz's dunderhead character who can't even pick out a decent tree is perfectly in keeping with the long line of loveable underdogs that populate this story. Take for example the shepherds. Not exactly the most upscale, scholarly or refined folk to receive the incredible message of the angels. But receive it they did, then immediately sailed off to check out this fantastic report. Who better to discover the Prince of Peace resting in a humble manger.

Bleak midwinter.
This idyllic account of the Christmas story relies on its at times obscured, gloomy context in order for the profound hopefulness of its impact to be appreciated. In a 1971 Advent sermon called "The Leap in the Dark," in Northrop Frye on Religion, the Canadian writer and scholar points out:

"When Luke begins his account of the Nativity with a decree by Augustus that all the world should be taxed, we should realize that such a decree fell with a crushing weight on the poor that we can hardly conceive of today... Blood, terror, misery, humiliation were just as much an inseparable part of that first Christmas as Bangladesh and Cambodia are an inseparable part of this one...

"Once we accept the identity of God with man, the principle that God works in man only under the limitations of the human situation and that diversity in man is to be associated with suffering and endurance rather than prosperity -- once we accept this, it is all over with the benevolent Providence who showers goodies on his beloved middle class and will get around to the less fortunate parts of mankind somewhat later... That God is dead, except, of course, that he never was alive."

[The closing paragraphs of this piece are awesome. Try to find a copy and read to the end yourself!]

Hear a clip of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter.’
Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Sibbery includes this song (lyrics by Christina Rossetti, music by Gustav Holst) on Jane’s strange and wonderful collection of ‘hymns of earth’ on her 2003 release, Shushan the Palace.

Click here for lyrics.


Awesome art.
As you might well imagine, scores of artists have produced phenomenal pieces based on the Nativity story. Here are just a few links to some terrific pictures.

Click here for William Blake.

Here for Chagall.

And here for Goya (‘The Holy Family’).

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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. Can you think of some reasons why shepherds would be the perfect audience for angels announcing the birth of the Christ child?

2. Why would the shepherds have been greatly afraid of these angels?

3. What was so special about the things the shepherds later said that Mary pondered them in her heart?

4. Explain this phrase in your own words: “the principle that God works in man only under the limitations of the human situation.” How absolute is the word “only” in this phrase?

5. What in your mind represents the dark context that the Christmas story might cast a ray of hope over this year?

6. Can you think of some way you personally can help with or lighten this dark context?

*******WORKSHOPS*******

IN REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN IN YOUR WORKSHOPS COVER THESE TWO POINTS:

1. REVIEW THE STORY WITH THE CHILDREN. HAVE THEM SUMMARIZE TO DEMONSTRATE TO ALL HOW MUCH MORE THEY REMEMBER FROM PAST WEEKS.

2. EXPLAIN HOW YOUR ACTIVITY CONNECTS TO THE STORY.


Arts -- snow globe

In this snow domw, glitter falls on the reason for the season.

Activity: make your own snow dome.

Materials: small jar (any size), sandpaper, glue gun, tin foil star to fit in jar, distilled water, pinch of glitter, dash of glycerin.

Make small stars from foil or pie pan. (You can use small toy ones as well). Scuff inside of lid with sand paper to make glue stick better. Glue down star. When dry, fill jar almost to top with water. Add pinch of glitter and dash of glycerin. Screw on lid tightly.



Kitchen -- cake in a tin

Share these gifts in a tin as Christmas presents.

Activity: bake small cakes in lidded tins.

Materials/Ingredients: small lidded tins from dollar store. Favourite carrot cake recipe.

Instructions: Mix enough batter for all children. Divide batter evenly into tins, to about 2/3 full.

** These can also be baked in clean tin cans. Fill to 2/3 with batter. Cover with wax paper and elastic band or ribbon and give to a friend.

*****For pictures of cakes in tins or jars, go to the Photo page of this site and follow links.*****



Fluffy the Christmas Sheep (Sunday Software)

To keep it fresh for the kids, consider focussing on the Prophets to convey a sense of the hopefulness that the Messiah was supposed to bring.

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Review of Activities from Christmas 1

Arts -- folk art angels

Kitchen -- cookie mix in a jar

Computer -- Fluffy.

Christmas IV Rotation © December 2006, LD McKenzie

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All original text 2004 - 2014, LD McKenzie

For a brief site ed's bio, click here:

BIO

Components of these lesson sets may be used for non-profit educational purposes, citing this author and site.

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