Last week we finished delivering the Christmas Unwrapped workshop for Year 6.
The workshop is an opportunity to explore the story of the nativity, which is right at the centre of the Christmas celebrations. I know you’re thinking it should be fairly straightforward – but not always! This workshop is full of surprises!
One of the most fun parts of the workshop is a quiz which leaves a few shocked faces and a few outraged crys of “my whole life has been a lie”. If you want to have a go at the quiz yourself, there is a link here. Be warned - it’s not as simple as you might imagine.
There is always a bit of confusion and heated debate as we go through the answers, but it provides a great opportunity to discuss the way that the story has changed over the years, to become far more western. It gives an opportunity to strip back the story that we know so well that we never stop and think about it too much. It allows us to really imagine the scene as it may have been, and also recognise that there is so many details we don’t know.
This is my fourth year doing these workshops (including one year of virtual sessions), and I am always thankful for the reminder. To look beyond the happy, picturesque, neat and symmetrical image of the stable, and start to see how real people might have shared this chaotic and messy, but real and beautiful, moment.
Luckily by the end of the workshop, most students tell me we are still friends, and we have a chance to explore the story further. It's great to see children begin to understand that Israel is a very different part of the world, and Jesus probably wasn't born in a stable or a barn. I love sharing that the shepherds were the first people to be told about Jesus' birth - a reminder that Jesus had not come just for those seen as "important" but valued those disregarded by others. It's been funny to hear from local youth workers of childern informing them in their Sunday groups that there might not have been a donkey, or that there might have been more than 3 wise men!
You might be asking, just like the video we play to end the session – “what’s your point?”
Let me end with a quote from the video:
“Even when all the manmade traditions are stripped away, the eternal truths still remain. Whether they travelled by donkey or wagon, God brought them safely to the birth place that was prophesied. Whether born in a stable or a cave, God provided shelter in a strange new land. Whether three kings, three wisemen, or many, God called the elect to bear witness and testimony to the birth of Emmanuel. So however your nativity scene looks, the one thing that remains unchanged is this – a baby boy, born of a virgin, this day, in the city of David. A Saviour who is Christ the Lord.“
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