6 ways to use "JESUS: TRUTH or FAIRYTALE?"

Posted on December 06, 2016 by Lahna Pottle
Categories: Primary, Secondary, 16-19s,

Brand new from SchoolsworkUK, “Jesus: Truth or Fairytale?” is a Christmas video resource aimed at 16-19 year olds. For many young people Christmas is a fairytale, a nice story we repeat each year. This video asks the question, what if God really came to town? The video features Meg Cannon reciting a spoken word piece that brings back the grit, humanity and truth into the nativity story, and then poses the question "if this is true, what does that change?".  If Jesus’ birth was a real event, what does that mean for me and what does that mean for you?

This video is flexible enough to be used in a variety of Sixth Form, College and School settings. It is appropriate for use with all students, regardless of faith and has an engaging and inclusive tone. 

You can view the video on our Youthscape YouTube Channel or you can download the original or subtitled version from the Youthscape Store for free here.

Below are 6 different ways to use this video:

1. Assembly

Depending on the context of the assembly, taking time restraints and your school's culture into consideration, you could use the video as part of a Christmas themed assembly.

An assembly works best when framed around one big central idea or question, which could be "Jesus: Truth or Fairytale?" As well as including the video, we recommend having an introduction that gets the students interested, such as a personal story or a game.

This is when you could then show the video.

To unpack the video, a time of feedback or reflection is helpful in getting students to think deeper. Here are some examples of questions you could use to help students process:

  1. How does the video make you feel? 
  2. If the baby Jesus really was God, then what might it mean that he came to earth in such poverty, and in such a normal way? 
  3. Why didn’t he come as a King or a celebrity?

If appropriate in your setting you could share what it means to Christians that God came as a human, in humility, so that the world might know that He loves and cares for them, and that no one is too small or insignificant for him. 

Finish your assembly by coming back to the key question, "Jesus: Truth or Fairytale?", and give the students some time to reflect. You could have music playing in the background to help them stay focused.

2. Christian Union

You can start the Christian Union by asking the students about what Advent and Christmas means to them, or what the nativity reveals about God? 

Follow up this discussion by showing the video to the group.

Ask the students for their thoughts about the video then follow up with some questions, for example…

  1. Has this changed your understanding of the nativity?
  2. Why is it important for Christians to remember the truth and reality of the nativity, rather than just the “children’s nativity play” version?
  3. If this was the reality of Christ’s birth, what might that mean for his life and death?

3. Detached work

For those of you doing detached youth work around school, having a good conversation opener is important. 

You can either use the video as the hook, “Have you seen this video?”, or use Advent as a hook, “Are you excited for Christmas? What does this time of the year mean for you?” 

Then they can watch it on their own phones (if allowed) or on your own phone. 

You can follow up the video with, “what does Christmas mean to you? Is it a happy time, stressful, or something else?”. “Do you know of the nativity story?”. “Do you believe it, or is it a fairytale to you?”.

4. Small group

For discussing advent with a small group of students, you could kickstart conversation either sharing your own experience of advent, or asking the students to share what comes to mind when they think of advent or Christmas.

You could then follow up this conversation by showing the video to the group.

To unpack the video, follow up with some questions, for example…

  1. Where are you on the scale of Jesus: Truth or Fairytale?
  2. If this was true, should anything change about the way we celebrate this time of year?
  3. If this was true, would that change anything about the way you look at the world?

5. Lesson

The video can be used as part of a lesson themed around the Christian understanding of Advent, Christmas or the Nativity story. It counts as a primary source, as it shows a Christian speaking about their own faith. Students can dissect what the video means. The following questions could be asked:

  1. What does the Bible say about the Advent story and birth of Jesus Christ?
  2. What are the differences between the Biblical account and the story often told in society?
  3. Watch the video together as a class.
  4. Has the video revealed any additional facts not learnt from the Bible or from other popular tellings of the Nativity story.
  5. Does it matter that the story of Jesus' birth gets told differently?
  6. Why might it matter to Christians that God came to earth as a baby born in poverty, as a normal person rather than a king in a palace?

6. School screens

Many Sixth Forms and Colleges have screens around reception or the main atrium. 

You could use the subtitled video, available to download [at youthscape.co.uk/store/swvideo] and have it playing around the school building as a way of engaging students and making them think about this time of year.

If you have any other ideas of how this video could be used in your schools, please comment them down below! It may just give someone else the inspiration they need!