I find it interesting to look at the Christmas story and see what messages from God to the people back then are also relevant for us.
It’s a little risky, as it’s possible to take Bible verses out of context when applying them to ourselves, but there are definitely some messages in the Christmas story which are repeated to many of God’s people, such that it would be reasonable to assume they are for us too. For example, “I am with you” is what the angel says to Mary in Luke 1:28, and what God says to Joshua in Joshua 1:9 and what Jesus says to his followers in Matthew 28:20.
I have picked out six verses which I think could can be regarded in this way. You can download them here.
Here are some ways of exploring those messages. You could do these all in one session, or do one or two each time, spreading the activity out over a number of weeks. You know your family best, so you can choose a way which is most likely to work for them.
- Print out the download and cut along the dotted lines so that you have six sheets.
- Play Who and who to? for each verse, have a guess at who spoke these words and who they spoke them to. Then look up each verse, and see if you were right. (NB Some of them are spoken more than once!)
- Invite everyone to pick one verse to look up in three different Bible versions and write the different versions next to the first one on the sheet (which is from the NIrV). (If your family each has their own Bible, you could get everyone to look up each verse in their Bible, and write it on the sheet.
- Play a game of Same or different? What words are the same or very similar? Which are different? These differences can reflect the different nuances found in the original language which are hard to capture with one English word, as well as the theological differences (different ways of thinking about God) in the translations themselves.
- Give everyone a opportunity to say which verse they like most and why. Is there one which stands out to you? Is there one which might be especially for you today or in this season?
- Invite everyone to get creative and make something to explore and/or remind them of a verse of their choice. This could be drawing or painting, building with Lego or bricks, sculpting play dough or air dry clay, designing on a computer or tablet, writing in a journal or walking in nature.
- Allow time for everyone to feedback if they want to. Some may like to show what they have made, while others will prefer to keep it private.
- Make some items to give away with the messages on. You could write them on rocks with Sharpies, or stamp them into air-dry clay stars with holes in for decorations. Plan a way to give them away, perhaps to people who deliver things to your home or send them in the post to friends and family. How might you explain the message? Can you work out a way of telling each person that this is a Christmas message from the Bible, spoken to [insert Bible story character name] but also relevant to us today?