This is a busy time of year, full of hustle and bustle. We just celebrated Christmas, and New Year’s is just around the corner.
Every year, Christmas gets more confusing: what is it that we celebrate? Is it Christmas or Xmas? Is it Jesus’ birthday or just some happy elf-ish holiday? Are the trees we decorate Christmas trees or holiday trees? Do we say “Season’s Greeting” or do we remind people of the reason for the season? When did baby Jesus become politically incorrect and the focus of Christmas become all about the shopping, parties, food, and presents?
- What limits, if any, have been placed on you by your school or community when it comes to talking about or celebrating Christmas? (Answers will vary but may include: cards and clothing or jewelry that represent the birth of Jesus may be banned from school; Christmas songs that use the name Jesus may not be allowed; teachers may not be allowed to place manger scenes on their desks; schools may stress the use of the greeting “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas,” etc.)
- Why might some people find the true meaning of Christmas offensive? (Accept all reasonable answers.)
- How does it make you feel when people criticize or try to silence Christians? (Answers will vary; be prepared to share about your own experience.)
- At what other times besides Christmas is it challenging to live your life as a Christian at school, in the community, or elsewhere? (Answers will vary; when they are pressured to participate in events during church times, called names or made fun of for being a Christian or living a certain way, etc.)
- When or where is it the hardest for you to stand firm for your Christian beliefs? (Answers will vary; students may affirm difficulty when anti-Christian theories are taught in school; when non-Christian friends make fun of standards, beliefs, or practices, etc.)
Paul and Barnabas found it challenging to live for Jesus, too. Let’s find out about their circumstances and how they were able to stand firm.