Tag Archives: Christmas

Three Kings Day Mediation for Religion Teachers

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Over the past week I have seen people taking down Christmas decorations or I have been asked when is it okay to take down your Christmas tree. It would appear that people are so eager to celebrate Christmas that when the day itself has come and gone they then pounce to take all their decorations down. Have we forgotten the Twelve Days of Christmas? Three Kings Day or the Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th of January. The 6th of January is the last time we turn on the Christmas lights and the tree before we take them down. In some countries around the world Three Kings Day is still a school holiday.

Why is the Epiphany so important?

The gospel of Matthew tries to explain to us that Jesus was recognized and worshipped as a King by wise and powerful men. The wise men were foreigners, they were not Jews. The story helped people to see that the coming of Jesus was a special event for the whole world. The three wise men also brought gifts of Gold Frankincense and Myrrh

As you return to school tomorrow keep Little Christmas/Three Kings Day alive and in the hearts of your students by trying out a short simple meditation. This meditation was inspired by one of my lecturers in college.

Speaker:

(Ask students to get comfortable in chairs or go to the school oratory)

I invite you to close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing. Begin to listen to all the noises around you. The ticking of the clock, cars in the distance etc. Now focus on your own breathing. Has it slowed down? Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. On my count I would like you to breathe in throughout your nose and out through your mouth.

7/11 technique applied here (Breathe in counting to 7 and breath out counting to 11) this relaxes and helps focus the students.

Bring students into the manger ask them what they see around them and invite them to sit down in the manger. They look up and see a bright star and three wise men following the star they bring three gifts to the baby Jesus. Name the gifts. Ask each student to think of three people in their own lives that brought gifts into their lives. However, get them to think of different kind of gifts like love, friendship, trust, happiness, (perhaps the gifts we see on the Advent Wreath). Ask them to imagine themselves looking into a mirror and to look at themselves. What do they see? Are the happy with what they see? Tell them that they are all beautiful in the eyes of God. Tell them to pick one important person in their own lives who have given them certain gifts that has helped them become the person they are today. This person is now standing beside them in the mirror. Tell each student that they are beautiful in the eyes of this person. Ask God to bless this person.

Slowly invite the students to quietly open their eyes.

Class activity can follow this short mediation. Discussing each students ‘special’ person. Worksheets etc.

The Christmas Story told using Social Networking

Here are two videos that tell the Christmas Story using social networking and social media! Helps bring the nativity into the 21st century.

How social media, web and mobile tell the story of the Nativity.
Christmas story told through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon…

Times change, the feeling remains the same.

This video is an artistic take on how the story of the nativity might have read had a social network existed at the time of Jesus’s birth. Follow this historical period as it unfolds as a digital narrative. This vignette is great for highlighting the truths and circumstances of our Savior’s birth in a fresh, unique way.

Christingle! An activity based learning tool for religion class during Advent and Christmas

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Christmas and Advent are my favorite time in the liturgical calendar. As a religion teacher I love finding new creative ideas to engage my class and advent is the best time to do this! There are vast amounts of resources available to teachers during this christmas season.

This week is the last week of school before the Christmas Holidays begin and I always try to make the last lesson with my class fun, memorable but also intellectually engaging. In previous years my class have made advent wreaths, angles for the top of their christmas trees and even their own manger and this year was proving pretty tough to think of more creative lesson plans. So, I began to think back to my own school days and remembered the Christingle! 

There are many different stories about the origin of the Christingle. However, we do know that it originated in Germany. Each church celebrate Christingle in their own unique way but the meaning of Christingle always remains the same.

One story I found which I immediately grew quite found of was this:

“there were three children, who were very poor, but wanted to give a gift to Jesus, like the other families at church were doing. The only nice thing they had was an orange, so they decided to give him that. The top was going slightly green, so the eldest cut it out and put a candle in the hole. They thought it looked dull, so the youngest girl took her best red ribbon from her hair and attached it round the middle with toothpicks. The middle child had the idea to put a few pieces of dried fruit on the ends of the sticks. They took it to the church for the Christmas mass, and whereas the other children sneered at their meagre gift, the priest took their gift and showed it as an example of true understanding of the meaning of Christmas.”

Christingle means ‘Christ’s Light” and is a symbol of Christian faith. It is made up of different parts:

Orange– this represents the world

Four Cocktail Sticks– the four seasons or the four corners of the world.

Dried Fruit (or sweets)– remind Christians of God’s gifts to the world including kindness and love. Also are a symbol of God’s creations.

Red Ribbon– goes all round the ‘world’ and being the colour of love to remind us the Jesus loves us and reminds us to show us how much we love him especially at Christmas. (one other meaning is that red symbolizes blood to remind us that Jesus died for us but for younger children I personally prefer the symbol of love, especially at Christmas)

Candle– it is nice to use a birthday candle because it reminds the children that Christmas Day is after all, Jesus’ birthday. The light of the candle also reminds us the Jesus is the light of our world.

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The Finished Product:

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