During Advent we have countless opportunities to recapture the sense of wonder in Christmas through worship, Bible Studies, and small group gatherings. As we come together and share the beloved stories and movies of the season, we have opportunities to discover how they can be understood in more than one way. Ultimately, through the literature, meaningful participation and using our God-given creativity, all ages present can grasp the deeper content of the scriptures. Therefore, when all generations create, play and learn together we can echo God’s creativity and we renew ourselves and prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ child. Parents and all adults within the church can play a unique role in the spiritual formation of children and youth as nurturers of their faith through Bible Studies.
Through the new and powerful Bible Study, The Heart That Grew Three Sizes, Finding Faith in The Story of the Grinch, created by Matt Rawle, we can learn and discover Advent in incredible ways! This is an absolutely fantastic Bible Study for all ages!! I agree with James Howell who commented on the book when he said, “…the Grinch doesn’t steal Christmas but reveals to us surprising and delightful truths about ourselves, God, and redemption down here in Whoville.”
Matt Rawle uses the book by Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas as a springboard for faith formation, and the author has provided wonderful resources for group studies. This is an awesome Bible adventure for all ages in the church to journey through the truths in the incredible town of Whoville.
This study, includes books for adults, older children and youth along with the excellent videos (may be found through Amplify, Cokesbury and other book sellers) that will enhance your Christmas experience this season. I’m so excited about using these resources for a home study during this Advent season and providing opportunities for intergenerational experiences.
Along with the excellent activities mentioned in the books and Leader Guide, I’ve developed Creator Maker Stations for multi-sensory experiences that will be used for our gatherings. Break-out sessions will be provided also for peer group interactions.
The Gathering Time and Opening will include older children and youth using the Video presentation. Each evening we will then provide a Break-Out Session with the peer groups to discuss the scripture and study as presented in the guide.
Most importantly, the group will come back together for Creator Maker Areas and discussions and exploring “wonder questions” as they learn how to rethink this well known story in new ways.
You may also read more about connecting literature to the Bible and the importance of intergenerational ministries on this website.
The following questions may be used with any Bible Study, scriptures and/or lessons during the Advent Season and beyond:
- I wonder what is relevant to you about this__________(scripture, story…)
- I wonder what question you could ask to understand this better
- I wonder what part of the story you can relate to? What does it remind you of?
- I wonder what we can learn from this?
- What do you want to remember from the story(scripture)?
- How does the picture/words from the book make you feel?
- What surprised you the most in the story (scripture)?
- What did you expect to happen?
- I wonder what the character wants and why can’t he/she have it?
- I wonder if he/she should have done that?
- I wonder what the character might be scared of?
- I wonder which character reminds you of yourself?
- What is something you don’t want to forget about the story?
- Why do you think the story is important?
- I wonder what the scripture has to do with my life?
- I wonder what you think about when you hear the word(s) hate, green with envy, light…
- I wonder what you think about when you hear the word (s)____________? (hate, green with envy, light, joy, peace, hope)
- I wonder if you could tell me what the title of this section of the Bible/book has you thinking about?
- I wonder how our “messy activities” are related to the Christmas story? I wonder what Mary and Joseph were feeling as they prepared a manger bed for their child?
Additional Bible Verse for Scripture
CREATOR MAKER IDEAS FOR ADVENT STUDIES
Here are some Creator Maker Ideas for any time during Advent that will get the groups creating, talking and playing together.
This felt-heart ornament is symbolizing love and growing in love within the church village, stitch by stitch. You could use heart shape cookie cutters to form different size hearts.
Easy/Safe Slime and the Messiness of the stable-1/2 Tbs. baking soda, 1 Tbs. contact solution, 1 fluid ounce Elmer’s White School Glue, Food coloring-symbolizing sticky faith we develop when we learn together https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1pCQIqi3D8
Music: “How Can I Keep from Singing” by Chris Tomlin was mentioned in Matt Rawle’s study. This is a beautiful contemporary song that you can play on Alexia, or sing with piano and/or guitar accompaniment. Give the younger children dance scarfs to express themselves in movement to music as participants sing and pray through the song. Another idea would be to use the song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.
Light & Love: Each person can “paint” their name or a picture of themselves on black construction paper with laundry detergent and a brush. Next, turn on the black light in a darkened room and the name will become more visible symbolizing God’s light shining in and through us in the darkness. Like the detergent’s brightening agent, God’s light is present within us. We need to accept the heavenly “ultraviolet light” of God’s love to shine deep within us, so we can shine out God’s love into the world.
(How It Works. Laundry detergents contain brightening agents that glow when exposed to light. They are intended to make whites appear whiter by adding a bit of blue light. When you shine a black light on detergent, you get a very bright glow)
Could also make a spiral for an ornament out of metallic card stock and decorate with shiny foil shapes, etc.
Maker Creation Station: Have various recyclables available such as different sizes of cardboard pieces cut from boxes, paper towel rolls, string, scrap material, craft sticks, crayons, colored pencils, paper, water colors, washable paint, tape, masking tape, scissors, glue, greenery, beads, cotton balls, plastic cookie cutter shapes (stars, trees, wreathe etc.), felt (to make simple shapes such as a stable, figures, and animals that you can stick on sandpaper, construction paper strips to make paper chains, felt for a bookmark, crochet thread, needles and safety plastic needles to embroidery simple stars etc. Allow the group to be creative and make their own symbol of Christmas including a manger. You could also have Wikki Stix or pipe cleaners available to create the people and animals in the Christmas story to place in the stable.
Enjoy exploring the wonder of who God is and what God has done through Jesus during this Advent Season. There are so many ways we can imagine and wonder in our day-to-day lives about the Bible through literature and our culture in the world in which we live. Let’s join together, talk, learn and encourage people from all generations to share their stories. God is present within us every step of every day. Let’s embrace His presence in our lives as we continue striving to understand these times in which we live.