Have Yourself a Merry Little Winter Festival

Christmas is fast approaching and along with it, all the various carol services, nativities and assemblies that this season is chock -a-block with.  But trying to slip a Christian message into this  “Christ-time” is not quite as easy as it used to be.

I had a secondary assembly this morning. If I’m honest I’m not a massive fan of doing assemblies. They’re quite impersonal and sporadic so it’s hard to build any real relationships through them and it quite often feels like I’m going in cold. On top of that, the theme was Christmas, which you would think is a gift of a topic. And in many ways it is, but it’s hard not to just do the same thing you do every year and end up being unoriginal. Anyway I had a crack.  Ignitermedia have some really great videos and resources knocking about and so I decided to use their “Retooning the Nativity” video, the idea being that whilst we all might think we know the Christmas story, most of the stuff that we see in our standard nativity play isn’t biblical at all.

So anyway I tried to show how we don’t really know the Christmas story and then linked it back to Luke 2:11:

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord

and used that to show that Christmas is about the birth of our Saviour, Messiah and Lord.

What really topped off the assembly for me though was the very end.

Me: So when you think about Christmas, remember that it’s really about someone who came to save you and can still save you now.

Teacher: Brilliant, thanks for that. And let’s just remember that Christmas is a time for coming together and enjoying yourself.

DOH! I’m not sure the message quite went in there.

Anyway I decided to lick my wounds by grabbing my free coffee and watching the nursery schools nativity in the church. Seriously, it made my day! Having just done an assembly about how we don’t really know the nativity story, I was shocked to discover that my own knowledge of the event was hugely incomplete. I particularly enjoyed the part when Santa and his reindeers came to visit the baby, closely followed by some Christmas puddings and mince pies (all to the accompaniment of “The Wheels on the Bus”). Not that I know who they came to visit. The mentions of Jesus were conspicuous by their absence.

It seems Jesus isn’t welcome at Christmas anymore.

On a separate note, how would people go about giving feedback to someone when you’re not sure you can say much that is positive? I was always told to say something positive before you said something negative and on the whole I agree, even though it occasionally smacks of insincerity. But what do you do if you aren’t sure there was much that was positive? Any ideas?

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3 comments on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Winter Festival

  1. you could try the “so how did you think that went” – the person may already be aware of their failings? with a few well placed and admittedly carefully phrased questions – you might get them to realise their failings or weaknesses without having to go in heavy.

    If you have a think about what they could do differently to improve the bits you didn’t think worked – either you can then encourage them with them if they note the bits they got wrong – or it gives you something to go in to if they don’t pick them up – eg when i did x i found this approach really useful …. and see if they get the hint …

    of course if you go with the softly approach and they come out with – IT WAS AWESOME … nowt wrong … couldn’t improve it … then you may just have to go with the big guns of “that’s great – but i think that next time you could do even better if you ……”

    tricky situation – i have found letting people evaluate themselves 1st the best approach – people are usually self critical anyway – and as long as you have positives to give to them – even if they are “well next time ….”

    if someone cant evaluate their work and be critical – probably the blunt approach will not work… but go with it 1st – only pull out the “well that was shit” card if they being a complete numpty – but have the tissues / weeks of rebuilding / encouragement on standby ….

    have fun 😉

  2. I like to use Ephesians 4.29. No matter how you package it though, there just are times when it’s difficult to find something nice to say. Soooo…Paul says in this passage…”don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up, that it may benefit those who listen.”

    I’m game for asking questions that might help the person in question make their own realizations. Of course, that rarely happens. 😦 So, we learn how to craft our words and statements so that what we say (although may not be warm and fuzzy), really has the potential to help the person grow and mature.

    When all else fails, just take em to a pub, kick back a few and then let em have it! In Jesus name, of course. lol jk about that last part……well, kind of….

  3. At a time like Christmas, I find the wise words of the reality t.v judges helpful. I mean those judges who look for the positive and complement without saying much. Something like “You gave that 110%” or the Len Goodman classic “well you came out here and gave it a go.” I don’t recommend the Lord Sugar “You’re Fired” or the Cowell brutal honesty or should I say totally negative.

    Favourite depiction of a Nativity. Got to be Love Actually with the kids dressed as lobsters etc. I’m sure it’s in the original greek somewhere!

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