Friday Fives: Five Helps for Christmas

Beginning with this post, each Friday Fives leading up to Christmas will have the holiday as its focus.

To kick things off, I’m updating one of the more popular Christmas posts from last season – five helps for church lay leaders, pastors, ministers, Sunday School teachers and small group leaders for the Christmas season.

And this Friday Fives is truly a pot pourri. A Christmas smile, an in-car travel game you likely haven’t played before,  a Christmas recipe (yes, a recipe on leaderhelps.com), scriptures that aren’t always associated with Christmas and a Christmas message outline. If just one thing helps you, mission accomplished!


#5 - A Christmas Smile

I can’t find the correct original source citation or author for this story. However, I accessed it here.

A Letter to Santa From Mom

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned and cuddled my two children on demand, visited the doctor’s office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter’s girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache after a day of chasing kids (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t flap in the breeze but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy. If you’re hauling big ticket items this year I’d like a car with fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with one potty-trained toddler, two kids who don’t fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, “Don’t eat in the living room” and ‘Take your hands off your brother,’ because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog. And please don’t forget the Playdoh Travel Pack, the hottest stocking stuffer this year for mothers of preschoolers. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet making the in-laws’ house seem just like mine. If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don’t mind I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family; or if my toddler didn’t look so cute sneaking downstairs to eat contraband ice cream in his pajamas at midnight.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don’t catch a cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always…Mom.

P.S. – One more thing…you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.


#4 - An In-Car Travel Game

So you might be traveling over these next couple of weeks and you may need a travel game you haven’t played before and one that challenges young and old alike.

Try Fruit, Fish, and Flyer.

A person chooses three consecutive letters in the alphabet – although the game is played without Q and X. Then, the person must name a fruit, fish, and flyer (something that flies) with those letters in no particular order. For example:

E – F – G
Eagle, Flounder, Grape

A – B – C
Apple, Boeing, Cod

T – U – V
Trout,  Umbrella in the wind, Valencia Orange

The first person chooses his or her three letters and completes the challenge. The next person up must take the next three letters and do the same (again, omitting Q and X). If the second person fails, they are out and the next person must take those same three letters. Last person standing wins the round.

Notes

  • You can bluff – try to make up something and fool the others. However, if you are caught in your bluff, you are out. The burden of proof is on you if you are challenged.
  • In any given round, no item may be repeated.
  • You can change the game to provide variety. For instance, instead of Fruit, Fish and Flyer, try Movie, Mammal and Musical Instrument
  • Smartphone help is legal for one item in the trio and for one time in a round.
  • Be creative, a kite is a flyer, for instance. A tomato is, technically, a fruit.

#3 - Good Recipe for Mostly Sugar-Free Egg Nog

Before you gag, there are many of us who love eggnog at Christmas but who want to avoid all that sugar. If you’ve searched for store bought sugar-free eggnog, you know that, first, it’s hard to find and, second, it’s not very tasty.

So, for all you semi-sweet noggers, I have found this excellent recipe. It’s probably the only recipe you will ever get on leaderhelps.com. I’m sure it’s available elsewhere. This is one I’ve had for a while and tweaked. (Those of you who hate eggnog, simply move on to #2 without being all snobby about it.)

1 cup – 1% milk
1/2 cup –  Liquid egg subsitute
2 tbs – Sugar free instant vanilla pudding mix (generic is fine)
3/4 tsp – Imitation rum extract
1/4 tsp – Pumpkin pie spice
Pinch – Cinnamon
1 tbs – Truvia (or to taste)

Stir everything together, but don’t beat it (after all, what did it ever do to you?). Let it sit in the refrigerator for a while before drinking.

You’re welcome.


#2 Biblical Texts That May Not Always Be Associated with Christmas

John 15:13
The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.

Acts 5:31
God used his power to give Jesus the highest position as leader and savior. He did this to lead the people of Israel to him, to change the way they think and act, and to forgive their sins.

2 Cor 8:9
You know about the kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor in order to make you rich through his poverty.

2 Corinthians 9:15
I thank God for his gift that words cannot describe.

Philippians 2: 5-7
Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Although he was in the form of God and equal with God,
he did not take advantage of this equality. Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance.

James 1:17
Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars.

1 Peter 4:10
Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others.


#1 - A Message Outline

Christmas – The Beauty of Surrender

Emmanuel…God – with men

How is that possible.

What God would stoop so low?

Video Illustration: Michael Card & Steve Green – Emmanuel

 Luke 2:1-7

  • The first thing we learn about our Lord after He was born was nothing about his majesty or his kingship, or the fact that he would save his people
  • The first thing we learn is that he was born a naked infant…whose mother had to wrap in cloths…

But there’s more to learn about what Jesus experienced as he entered the world of flesh and dirt and pride and sin…

Matthew 2:13-23
The account of Jesus birth is the story of a family on the run…not a boy king.

II Cor 8:9

II Cor 5:21

  • Jesus gave up his right to be rich…and became poor…
  • He gave up the right to what he deserved…to be raised to a high place of honor for his obedience, and instead was raised to a place of shame on the cross.
  • Before He gave up His life, He gave up his rights

What rights do I demand? The irony is…I don’t deserve any but I demand many. He deserved all but demanded none.

What is a life of wanting and wanting and wanting?

We see it every Christmas, actually. Charles Dickens gives us a clear picture of such a person.

Video Illustration: Christmas Carol

Philippians 2:3-7
Before he gave up His life, he gave up his rights. That’s the message of the Manger.

The manger cries out for SURRENDER.

CONCLUSION

The best thing the Lord can do for you is to bring you to a point of surrender. Maybe Christmas is the perfect time for it.

CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:
A Small Gift of Love – Mary Ellen Holmes
From Christmas in My Heart Vol 3

Comments

  1. Thanks Lauren! Merry Merry Christmas to you and your precious family.

  2. Brian,
    Thanks for a few laughs leading up to a great Christmas reality check. Amen!