An imaginary blizzard whirled in the auditorium at Bright Lights last night, forcing each small group to huddle together inside their little Israeli towns (i.e. their circle of chairs) . Because of the blizzard, the only means of communication was to write letters and mail them via “the Christmas train”. Each town’s goal was to collect clues from the other teams (er-towns) and figure out seven key reasons why Jesus was born.
“Hurry–the train is coming, the train is coming!” the girls would shout to their teams as they finished writing more notes to send to the other towns….it was a lot of fun.
Light Shop (Stephen’s discipleship group) did the same activity, and, from what I hear, the young men weren’t quite as successful at collecting clues, but they were definitely more successful at keeping their train operating properly.
We are grateful to our innovative dad who had the idea (though he claims it was a group effort) and made the trains out of cardboard boxes yesterday afternoon.
For the lesson time, Sarah taught the girls downstairs while the older girls studied the Scriptural accounts of a few of the Christmas characters (plus John the Baptist) upstairs.
Here’s a short synopsis of our discussion:
Elisabeth: Elisabeth’s barrenness must have been a huge trial in her life–especially in that culture and time. But God was obviously using it as a tool to prepare her for the exciting task he was going to give her. The trials in our life that we don’t understand may actually be God’s hand of preparation for a special work He has called us to do.
John the Baptist: John was an amazing combination of great humility and great boldness. We think there is a connection there. He was able to be so bold because he was so humble and didn’t care about his personal reputation or status among men.
Anna: Looking closely at the life of Anna in the temple, we see how she went through some very tough times in her earlier years! Even though she lost her husband after only 7 years of marriage, she didn’t become bitter but instead used the trial as a springboard to grow nearer to God and minister to His people. She didn’t have the security of a husband and children, but she had the security of the blessing of God on her life!
Mary: Though Mary certainly didn’t have an easy path, she set her eyes on the bigger picture–not on her own personal comfort or reputation. It is encouraging to see the Lord’s faithfulness to her at each step of the way! He gently communicated His plan to her through the angel, provided a godly man to walk along side her and care for her, and blessed and strengthened her through numerous people (Elisabeth, the shepherds, Anna and Simeon, the wise men, etc.), and protected her family from Herod’s sword.