The Christmas Search
Posted on November 26, 2010 by Amy Tolmie
In the December 2010 Youthwork Magazine we featured a game to use in informal settings with students. The game uses image cards that could be linked to different aspects of Christmas to help unpack some different themes: LIGHT / HEALING / FAMILY / LIFE / PEACE / KING.
Here is the PDF of the images to download.
You can use the images (and create some of your own) in a variety of ways to open up these themes, including a classic treasure hunt, or a game of pairs.
Here is the PDF of the whole resource to download: click here
See December's magazine for session starters and tips. Here is the rest of the session:
Once you have all the pieces of card collected, sit in a circle and lay them out in the middle. Facilitate a conversation about what each one reminds the students of and what they could represent. Write down thoughts and ideas about this on large sheets of paper in the middle of the circle. (At this stage you don't need to connect these things to the Advent season or to Christmas, it's simply a case of recording on paper the objects and what they might symbolise). Here is a list of examples you can use as a reference: the bandaged man could represent pain or being fixed; water could represent life or refreshment; the crown could represent authority or importance; the family picture could show love or reconciliation; the peace fingers show peace and the torch shows light.
Once the items are written down with their meanings, hand out slips of paper with the following Bible verses on and challenge them to match the words with the right image. It is not a hard task but will get them connecting ideas in their minds!
Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in." [John 8:12]
All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah [1 Corinthians 5:17]
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. [Isaiah 61:1]
I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full [John 10:10]
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you [John 14:27]
He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace [Isaiah 9:6]
Questions to consider as a group
Once all the verses have been placed correctly with the images, explain that each of these images has been carefully chosen to show something different about Christmas and about what thousands of Christians all around the world will be celebrating in a few week's time.
Think about these questions together:
1. What might these pictures tell you about what Jesus came to do and be on Earth?
2. a) Ask everyone in the room to think about when they have ever looked for the following:
- light in a dark situation
- peace when they were worried
- healing when they weren't well
- fun and fulfilment in life
- someone to turn to when life was spinning out of control
- a deep connection with someone else
b) Do they find it easy or difficult to look to God for those things?
3.Finally think as a group how can the message of Christmas help us to look to
our faith in God for these things? Where else might God help us find them?
Play the song 'Show Me What I'm Looking For' by Carolina Liar.
As the song plays, lay out strips of paper in the middle of the circle with different words typed or written on them:
Light / Hope / Family / Friendship / Faith / Someone to listen / Fun / Health / Peace / Purpose
Also have some blank strips of paper available. During the song ask them to pick up one of the slips that stands out to them, or to write their own one, and take this away as a reminder of something to look to God for over the Christmas break. It can be a prayer to ask God to provide someone or something in their lives, or to look to God to play that role.
End by encouraging them to remember how Christmas is a fun time and that as we look for these things that perhaps we feel are missing, that it is just one part of a much bigger whole that makes us who we are. End the session with a short game to send them out.
Suggestion for outreach or follow up
The week after this group why not have a Christmas party and invite lots of people who haven't been to the group before â€“ perhaps challenge the students to look for others around school who need encouraging or who might never have been invited to a party before. Ask God what He is looking for in their school.