Third Sunday of Advent – The Lord’s Highway
December 11, 2022; Psalm 146:3-6, New International Reader's Version
3 Don’t put your trust in human leaders.
Don’t trust in people who can’t save you.
4When they die, they return to the ground.
On that day their plans come to nothing.
5Blessed are those who depend on the God of Jacob for help.
Blessed are those who put their hope in the Lord their God.
6He is the Maker of heaven and earth and the ocean.
He made everything in them.
He remains faithful forever.
Box of Lies. (Other board game options could include Balderdash, again better for older children, or the simple group activity of Two Truths and a Lie).
Did you have a chance to play Qwirkle this past week with your family? More important, did you discuss John the Baptist and his call to prepare a way for the Lord? What did you do to help your family prepare this Advent season? (Allow children to respond.)
Have you ever had someone tell a lie to you? (Allow children to answer.) When someone tells a lie, or perhaps even if you tell a lie, it isn’t fun is it? Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t put your trust in people?” Today’s scripture passage from Psalms gives advice to not trust people. That’s hard advice to follow. All of us live life by depending on and trusting other people. We must trust others. None of us can live all by ourselves. We must rely on others to provide the things we need. We cannot keep ourselves safe and happy without trusting other people.
However, we can’t trust other people completely. Sometimes someone may lie to us. Sometimes we may feel let down by others. Sometimes others may have so many needs and cares of their own that we can’t depend on them. If we put our complete trust in others, we may be disappointed.
All this talk of lies and disappointment makes me feel kind of sad. Each week, we are finding a board game that teaches us the same lessons found in the scriptures. Today, I have a board game that makes truth-telling and even lying fun! The game is called Box of Lies. Have you ever played it? (Allow children to answer.) This is a game of bluffing. That sounds a little better than lying, doesn’t it? (Box of Lies is a bluffing game of hilarious objects, based on the Box of Lies game played on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon).
On a player’s turn, the player secretly opens one of the mystery boxes and looks at the card inside. The player then describes the strange object on the card to an opponent—and the player can either lie about the object or tell the truth, depending on whether the player flipped the Truth or Lie tile.
The challenge for the player is to convince the other player that he/she is lying when that person is actually telling the truth, or truth-telling when that person is really lying. Players who trick their opponents will win the round. If you don’t trick the other player, that means that the opponent wins.
This is a silly game, based on keeping a straight face while either lying or telling the truth. It should be hard to tell a lie without laughing or letting the way you act give the secret away. Do you think you would be good at this game? (Allow children to respond.)
The game wouldn’t be fun if we told the truth every time. But if we lied all the time, that wouldn’t make the game any more fun. Just when we put trust in the other player to tell us the truth, we may discover that the player has tricked us and was lying to us, and we could become disappointed when we lose the game.
That is why the psalmist tells us to put our final trust in God. God will never let us down. God watches over people —even those people others may have forgotten, including prisoners who are away from their families, the poor and lonely during this Christmas season, and people with disabilities. Our lesson learned from the psalmist today is that we can absolutely trust God in all things. We can trust God for the future as well. Advent is about looking forward, toward the future, and we can trust God will make all things right. God will be faithful to the very end.
This week, I invite you to play a game of Box of Lies with someone else in your family. As you do, and even while you laugh and become silly with the rules of the game, remember the words of the psalmist – “Trust God in all things!”
We praise you God because you are faithful forever. We rejoice in the ways you show your love to each and every one of us. Let us trust in you in all things. Amen.