Posted on December 02, 2011 by Amy Tolmie

Moment of do you really feel when you hear Christmas tunes start up in the shops and on your local radio station? What first goes through your head when you drive past inflatable santa's on people's roofs? What do you do with those promotional Christmas cards you get through the post from your suppliers wishing you 'season's greetings'?
It can be all a bit too familiar, and actually, some of those things that come around year after year after year can start to grate on us. Does this leave you feeling a bit like you can't wait until Christmas is over, or do you long for a fresh experience of Christmas each year seeing it in a new and relational way?

Coming up with a fresh take on the Christmas story each year can be challenging for those of us working with young people. So let's wrestle with this dilemma together: How about starting off by thinking about how Christmas is different for us personally this year? I think the way we feel about each holiday season can be affected by two things: what else is going on in our lives, and secondly how we can interpret the Christmas story as having meaning, relevant to our lives in 2011.

Taking those things in turn, first let me ask you some questions about what else is going on in your life: Who is important to you at the moment? What are you spending most of your time doing? Who is the biggest influence on your life at the moment? What are you sad about? What are you excited about?...the list goes on, but I think you get the idea. Secondly, let me ask you some questions about how the Christmas story could have meaning in your life in 2011: Taking the idea of Advent and preparing or waiting, what are you waiting for at the moment or preparing for? The birth of Christ is talked about in Scripture as light entering the world…where do you see new light or hope entering your life at the moment? The shepherds and wise men were following a star to guide them through the darkness: where are you feeling like you're trusting something or someone else to guide you at the moment?

I think when we are able to relate to an event or season we've experienced time and time again, in a more personal way, we can then help relate this event to the students we are working with. Ask some questions of your students, through assemblies, lunch clubs, lessons and more, about how themes from the story of Christ's birth could have an impact for them in a new way this year.