Just For Fun

We had a laughter-filled Christmas Fellowship in our home with our small group from church this week. What a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit! We are a group of eight couples who meet together on Tuesday evenings for Bible Study. The last several weeks we have been going through The Truth Project (Focus on the Family) video series. (If you want a great study, I HIGHLY recommend this one!)

This week, however, it was all about fun, with Christmas treats to eat, singing carols, and the infamous White Elephant Gift Exchange. (This year, the most “stolen” gift was a scented candle, and the most unusual gift was a Crystal Chandelier! Seriously!!)

I put together some Ice-Breaker games, although our group needs little prompting to get the fun started. I thought I’d post these games here; in case you are having a Christmas get-together with family and friends.

Enjoy!

How Well Do You Know the Christmas Story? Click on the link for a great Christmas Quiz. Spoiler Alert: It will probably wreck how you see your Nativity scene for ever after!

A Christmas Carol Quiz

Can you decipher the REAL Titles of these exaggerated titles of very familiar Christmas tunes?

  1.  From dark ‘til dawn, soundless and sanctimonious
  2. Celestial messengers from splendid empires
  3. In a distant bovine diner
  4. Universal elation
  5. Ornament the enclosure with large sprigs of berry-bearing evergreen
  6. O miniature Nazarene village
  7. May Jehovah grant unto you hilarious males retirement
  8. Those of you who are true, come here!
  9. Are you detecting the same aural sensations as I am?
  10. The diminutive young male who plays a percussion instrument
  11. Primary Yuletide
  12. Heavenly Cherubs announcing in song – listen!
  13. Reigning monarchs of the Far East
  14. Proclaim it to the Hills
  15. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis
  16. A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
  17. Wanted in December: top forward incisors
  18. Frozen precipitation commences repeatedly
  19. Cup-shaped instruments fashioned of a whitish metallic element
  20. I spied my maternal parent osculating a red-coated, unshaven, roly-poly man
  21. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals
  22. Of all the things longed for at Yuletide: my significant other
  23. 288 Yuletide hours
  24. The unfortunate accidental encounter between my mother’s mother and a cloven hooved animal
  25. Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your Yuletide season.

A Christmas Carol Quiz – Answers

  1. From dark ‘til dawn, soundless and sanctimonious  – Silent Night
  2. Celestial messengers from splendid empires – Angels we have Heard on High
  3. In a distant bovine diner – Away in a Manger
  4. Universal elation – Joy to the World
  5. Ornament the enclosure with large sprigs of berry-bearing evergreen – Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
  6. O miniature Nazarene village – O’ Little Town of Bethlehem
  7. May Jehovah grant unto you hilarious males retirement – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  8. Those of you who are true, come here! – O’ Come All Ye Faithful
  9. Are you detecting the same aural sensations as I am? – Do You Hear What I Hear?
  10. The diminutive young male who plays a percussion instrument – The Little Drummer Boy
  11. Primary Yuletide – The First Noel
  12. Heavenly Cherubs announcing in song – listen! – Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
  13. Reigning monarchs of the Far East – We Three Kings
  14. Proclaim it to the Hills – Go Tell it On the Mountain
  15. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis – Silent Night
  16. A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z – Noel
  17. Wanted in December: top forward incisors – All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth
  18. Frozen precipitation commences repeatedly – Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow!
  19. Cup-shaped instruments fashioned of a whitish metallic element- Silver Bells
  20. I spied my maternal parent osculating a red-coated, unshaven, roly-poly man – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  21. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals – Frosty the Snowman
  22. Of all the things longed for at Yuletide: my significant other – All I Want for Christmas Is You!
  23. 288 Yuletide hours – The 12 Days of Christmas
  24. The unfortunate accidental encounter between my mother’s mother and a cloven hooved animal – Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
  25. Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your Yuletide season – We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Lastly, the Famous or Infamous White Elephant Gift Exchange! Here are the “rules”:

A White Elephant Gift Exchange is a popular Christmas event where people vie to walk away with the best present.

 1. Each player brings one wrapped gift to contribute to a common pool  (Do not spend any money!  Bring something from home like a garage sale item…)

2. Players draw numbers to determine what order they will go in

Alternatively, someone can draw names from a hat, or the order can be set by the organizer prior to the event.

3. Players sit in a circle or line where they can see the gift pile

4. The first player selects a gift from the pool and opens it

Make sure everyone can see the gift!

5. The following players can choose to either pick an unwrapped gift from the pool or steal a previous player’s gift. Anyone who gets their gift stolen in this way can do the same – choose a new gift or steal from someone else.

To keep things moving along, there are a couple of limits on gift swapping:

  • A present can only be stolen once per turn, which means players who have a gift stolen from them have to wait to get it back.
  • After three swaps, the turn automatically comes to an end (otherwise things could drag on for a long time).

6. After all players have had a turn, the first player gets a chance to swap the gift he or she is holding for any other opened gift. Anyone whose gift is stolen may steal from someone else (as long as that person hasn’t been stolen from yet). When someone declines to steal a gift, the game comes to an end.

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Is It Too Much to Ask?

I’ve thought about what to write about
On this cold and wintery day.
But no words seem to do them justice
Who paid such a gallant price,
So that I may sit here in contemplative peace
And warm myself by a quiet hearth.

I wear my Poppy, have memorized the poem
“In Flander’s Field”,
but still it seems not enough,
To honour the Fallen who sacrificed their lives
On those battlefields and in the trenches on foreign soil.

O’Canada, they stood on guard for thee!
Many still are standing, dressed in fatigues,
Keeping the peace today.
Many have returned as wounded warriors,
Battle weary and battle scarred.
O’Canada, how do we honour them?

We have no sooner put away the Halloween chocolate,
Than the Christmas decorations go up.
The jingle bells and holiday music drowns out
The calls to remember our Veterans
The first eleven days of November.

Is it too much to ask?

To hold off on celebrating before we have
Laid our wreaths of tribute
To those who have served our country.
The ones who did not come home for Christmas,
And to those who eat their dinners in soup kitchens now, fighting a different war at home.

Is it too much to ask?

To buy a Poppy, fill up their store rooms with food,
Stop, and stand in solemn silence for two minutes
When the bell tower chimes on the 11th hour,
Of the 11th day of the 11th month
To remember them…

Lest we forget.
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Prodigal Prayer

It’s been a busy several weeks. To those who follow my blog, my CT scan was clear! Praise God! Now we just need to figure out why I still struggle with overwhelming fatigue.

I’m half-way through teaching my creative writing class to eleven very enthusiastic Junior High school students. My Friday afternoons with them have become the highlight of my week! We have played a variety of word games to try to build up their vocabulary, and we have focused on writing a good opening sentence, show don’t tell, characterization, and plot structure. It’s a crash course for sure, and when I get home from teaching, I do crash…literally. I am able to build up my stamina to teach but then have nothing in the tank when I get home. Thankfully, my husband understands, and generally has a plan for dinner worked out on Fridays so I can rest and recover.

I’ve been tasked with organizing files, pictures, and more in preparation for our church’s 35th Anniversary in March next year. My husband and I have attended there since 1990. I guess that makes us the “old timers”, but more importantly we have been blessed to be a part of a church for so many years, and be involved in ministry there. As our community has grown, so has our church. As I look back on its history, it brings back memories of people, events, outreach activities, youth and children who are now adults. Many of the kids I worked with when I was the Children’s Minister there, I still have connection with on social media. It warms my heart to see many in full time ministry, on the mission field or in pastoral ministry. Many are married and raising their own children, and serving in their churches.

There are also those who are the prodigals. Young adults now who were so actively involved in church as children and youth and have walked away from the faith for a variety of different reasons. I pray for them. I know God has a plan and a purpose for each of them. They are precious to Him and to me, so I do what I can to stay connected and I pray.

An ongoing prayer burden for the empty nesters who make up our weekly small group gathering is for our prodigals. Each family has children, extended family, or grandchildren who are not walking with the Lord. With tears in our eyes, we hear the stories, and feel the heart sickness in the telling. Our group shares health concerns regularly, but it is praying for our prodigals that can illicit the most emotion and heartfelt concern. It prompts me to devote more prayer time in lifting all those young people I know and have known before the Throne of Jesus.

Here are a few scripture verses I am praying over my prodigals:

Ezekiel 34:16 “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

Ezekiel 18:32 “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”

2 Timothy 2:19-26 “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

Jude 1:22-23 Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”

Matthew 18:12-13 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.”

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Luke 5:29-32 “Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Luke 19:9-10 “Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 15:31-32 ““‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

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