Week 4b: December 24 & 25, 2020, Welcoming The Guest
Note to the Teacher
It’s Christmas Eve! Or Christmas Day! Maybe both, depending on how you can gather as a community on these high holy days. These days can feel overwhelming, busy, exhausting, and amazing. They really should also feel like a celebration! What a joy that all this anticipation has come to a fruition. True, there may always be questions about how the world changed because of this event and the faith that has followed. Transformation may often take longer than we think it should, sometimes a lifetime or several. Transformation usually begins with something small: a new vision, a choice, a revelation, a firmer hope, a baby in a manger – something little can change everything because of the process that is kicks off.
We welcome the Christ-child, we are called to welcome the stranger and guest, and also our families with the same enthusiasm. We welcome the sojourner (someone who makes himself/herself a home, but stays there only a temporary time) and the faithful, together with the one who comes with healing in his wings. Our celebrations could be loud and raucous or quiet and reflective; there needs to be a celebration that God is faithful and that the promised one is with us, Emmanuel. Some of the classic texts for these days—walking in darkness with Isaiah on Christmas Eve; singing a new song with the Psalms; grace appearing in the letter of Paul to Titus, even as he points to Easter; and Luke’s story of angels and shepherds and a babe at the center of it all. Read them all, if you create the time, or choose what speaks to your community. Include any passages that would help youth open their hearts and homes to the guests in your midst.
1. Ice Breaker: GLORY! (10 minutes)
Refer to the instructions for this “Music Video Icebreaker.” The icebreaker uses the music video for “Glory” by John Legend and Common that was written for the film “Selma.” Compare the lyrics from “Glory” with what we know about the Christmas story so far. How do we picture Christmas as being a time for Glory? Have students share other pop songs or lyrics that remind them of Christmas, or other celebrations that have to do with joy for a long-expected arrival.
Online Meeting Adaptation: The ice breaker works online or in-person. Doing it online you may want to screen share the video or the lyrics for the music video.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Invite students to help you read, if possible.
Today, our Scripture reading comes from both the Old Testament (Isaiah & Psalm) and the New Testament (Luke & John). We have been using multiple scripture passages over this six-session series. Ask the students to listen for what they see, hear, smell, and feel.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
What did you see in the scriptures that causes you joy? Anything that causes you distress or makes you ask questions?
What did you hear in the scriptures that causes you joy? Anything that causes you distress or makes you ask questions?
What did you smell in the scriptures that causes you joy? Anything that causes you distress or makes you ask questions?
What did you feel in the scriptures that causes you joy? Anything that causes you distress or makes you ask questions?
What specific scriptures still have to do with the anticipation of good things to come?
Where specifically to we hear about “Glory?”
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
This activity will probably take a good portion of your time together. Encourage students not to all pick the same scripture; having all four stories represented will tell the entire Christmas experience better.
Let the words of the scriptures speak. Go through each of the scriptures and identify the following:
The names, nicknames, or predictions for who Jesus would be.
- What does each of these names tell you about the burden of expectations for the expected Messiah?
- Which name do you like the best? Why?
The actions that people take to show excitement, gratitude, or glorify God.
- When was the last time you sang out of joy?
- What was the last news that you heard that you couldn’t wait to share with someone else?
Words that are unfamiliar.
- Can we look up or share definitions for words that we don’t understand?
Total Length of Week 4b (50 minutes)
- Computer with speakers or TV
- Bible to read scripture
- Parchment paper
- Yarn or leather rope
- Marker, crayons or colored pencils