Christmas video 8: Are you ready for Christmas?

Roger Carswell warmly narrates this graphic and asks the question, “are you ready for what God wants to give you this Christmas?” You pick up an accompanying book and free downloads of posters, invites and the high definition version of this video here.

Christmas video 7: Four Kinds of Christmas

Three years ago Glen Scrivener produced a brilliant one-shot video.  It appeals to the human nature to want to label ourselves and one another as it helps us to consider which of the ‘four kinds’ we are, after all everyone loves working out their ‘type’.  There’s an interactive website and book, which could be a great conversation starter.

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Christmas video 4: CRAZY thing happens to guy at party!

ITN and the Jerusalem Productions have created two powerful videos reminding people about the Christian meaning of Christmas as an antidote to all the commercialisation, tinsel and drunken partying!

The first one of those is this one – Is he drunk? Is he in a parallel universe? Or is this divine intervention?

Christmas video 3: Jesus: Truth or Fairytale

“Jesus: Truth or Fairytale?” a Christmas video resource aimed at 16-19 year olds. For many young people Christmas is a fairytale, a nice story we repeat each year. This video asks the question, what if God really came to town?

The video features Meg Cannon reciting a spoken word piece that brings back the grit, humanity and truth into the nativity story, and then questions what that might change. If Jesus’ birth was a real event, what does that mean for me and what does that mean for you?

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

  • Care Leaver Covenant: Children’s and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced a scheme to raise the career aspirations and improve the life skills of care leavers. The Care Leaver Covenant has been signed by more than 50 businesses, charities and government departments in England who have committed to provide work based opportunities to young people leaving the care system. The scheme aims to create 10,000 work opportunities for care leavers over the next 10 years.  For further information check out the Care Leaver Covenant website and see the pledges from government departments.
  • Online Safety: Childnet International has produced guidance for parents and carers on looking after the digital wellbeing of children and young people. This includes having an awareness of how being online can make children and young people feel, and how they can look after themselves and others when online. The guidance includes: age specific information about how children and young people are interacting with the internet; top tips to support young people at this age; and ideas to help start a conversation about digital wellbeing.
  • Loneliness Strategy: The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a strategy setting out the government’s approach to tackling loneliness in England – A connected society: a strategy for tackling loneliness – laying the foundations for change. The strategy refers to loneliness experienced by children and young people and states that the new subjects of relationships education for primary schools and relationships and sex education (RSE) for secondary schools, due to become compulsory in all schools in England in September 2020, will emphasise the value of social relationships. The guidance content for teachers will highlight the impact of loneliness, particularly on mental health.
  • Child trafficking: Europol has published a report on child trafficking in the European Union. Findings from a study of almost 600 intelligence contributions reported to Europol by member states between 2015 and 2017 include: traffickers active in the EU target underage victims mainly for sexual exploitation; the majority of non- EU networks reported to Europol involved Nigerian organised crime groups which traffic female children and women to be sexually exploited; trafficking and exploitation of male children, especially for sexual exploitation, remains an under-reported phenomenon at EU level.
  • Modern slavery: The Home Office has published an annual report on modern slavery in the UK giving an overview of modern slavery and how the UK has responded to it over the last 12 months. The report finds that 2,121 potential child victims of modern slavery were referred to the national referral mechanism (NRM) in 2017. The NRM is a victim identification and support process that is designed to make it easier for agencies involved in a trafficking case to cooperate, share information about potential victims and facilitate their access to advice, accommodation and support.
  • Knife Crime: The Guardian reports that figures obtained from nine of the NHS’s 11 regional major trauma centres in England that treat adults and children show that they dealt with 2,278 victims of serious knife crime in 2017-18, with cases involving under-18s increasing by 24.4% since 2015-16.
  • Kinship Care: Grandparents Plus has published a report looking at the challenges faced by kinship carers – grandparents and other family members – who have taken on the care of children who aren’t able to live with their parents. Findings from responses to a survey from 1,139 kinship carers across the UK show that the most common reasons for children living with respondents include: parental drug or alcohol misuse (51%), abuse and/or neglect (54%), a parent being unable to cope (39%), and domestic violence (31%). Carers also report that 54% of the children in their care have special needs, of which 85% have emotional or behavioural problems.

Christmas video 1: Mess

Kicking off this year’s Christmas videos, is a new one from the Bible Society and Dai Woolridge:

This year’s spoken truth is on the theme of Mess.  Mess. It’s just one word. One syllable that brings to mind a whole load of images….messy ones! And at Christmas time, this one messy syllable word seems to shift into top gear! I think of the post-Christmas dinner-plate pile-up in the kitchen and the décor of celebration wrappers between the sofas (the Malteaser ones!)

It’s fair to say there was a fair bit of mess at the very first Christmas too. As Mary and Joseph trekked down to Bethlehem for a census, there was no room for them to stay. So the young couple welcomed Jesus into the world, with a bunch of animals as his roommates (some scholars claim it was almost as bad as living with students).

But Jesus didn’t just enter the mess of a downstairs room with a feeding trough, he entered the mess of our world too. It was a message that has been posted in versus throughout scripture, one will come to fix up the mess. And if we invite him, he even enters the mess of our lives and offers to fix us.

The Christmas story involves Mess, but it’s about the one who was born in the Mess. You see ‘Mess’ is only central to the Christmas story when it’s an abbreviation. When it’s followed up with 3 letters i.a.h. – it changes everything.