On Saturday I led the Girl Guides District Carol Service, and used my favourite Christmas illustration – Chocolate Sprouts.
- Boil the Brussels Sprouts (make sure they’re not too soft) and stick them in the fridge overnight.
- Next morning, melt the chocolate and dip the sprouts in so that they look like truffles. Let them set on a baking tray, then put them in small cake cases and sprinkle them with cocoa powder.
At the start of the talk, announce that you love Christmas so much, that you want to share it with everybody, and that what you have with you is something that will always remind them of Christmas day – delicious truffles!
Ask for a couple of volunteers to see if they can emulate Christmas day, by eating as many truffles as they can in 1 minute. Build up the expectation and emphasise the need for speed in the challenge.
Once the young people start eating the ‘truffles’, they’ll realise that there’s something not quite right and their facial expressions will change from ones of sheer delight, to ones of outright disgust a they discover the sprouts. (You may want to have a plastic bag handy at this point!)
OK, so it’s a bit revolting, but here’s the point.
Ask the young people who loves chocolate, and also, who loves sprouts.
Say that Christmas, for most of us is a time of celebration, indulgence and happiness. We love the ‘niceness’ of the Christmas season. It’s a bit like chocolate!
Go on to say that for many people, Christmas is not an easy time. For some it’s a time of loneliness, homelessness and struggle. For many people, Christmas is like our experience of sprouts – something to struggle through.
You could mention the first Christmas as an example. Mary was blessed with the news that she was to be the mother of God’s son, but probably struggled with knowing that her life could be in danger because of her pregnancy. A classic Eastenders storyline!
Challenge the young people to consider how they spend Christmas – to be grateful for the Christmas they have, and to be mindful of those who will struggle through Christmas.
May our lives and our prayers be like lights shining in dark places. And may the blessing of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – fill our hearts and homes with light this Christmas and in the new year to come. Amen.