For Christmas I wanted to do a group activity with all the kids at the hospital. We met in the chapel since the art therapy room would be a little tight, and because it is so cold outside! Really, it is (kind of). We gathered all the kids together, and told them the Christmas story, and explained that Christmas is the reason that we are going to have a big party at the hospital in a few days.
After that, the kids made little nativity scenes, with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and sheep. They had a lot of fun working on their crafts, using tongue depressors (we are at a hospital after all), pagnes (traditional fabric) scraps and yarn, cotton balls and toilet paper rolls for the sheep.
This was a fun activity because they had just heard the story and then all created the same thing together. I think it made the story more meaningful for them, since they heard that Jesus was born in less than ideal conditions. He was born in a manger among the animals because there was no room for him anywhere else. But he was born nonetheless, and he was born to become King. The kids all came over from the patient guesthouse, and it struck me that they are living in less than ideal conditions – some of them came bandaged up, others came limping or walking on crutches. They have all been affected somehow by disability, and have all felt the scorn of society because of it. But they all came, and were all able to create something together. They were able to learn about God’s love, and experience it as well. It was a good reminder that God often uses those who are on the margin, those who are in the manger, to accomplish his will. No matter what hardship we face, God will walk with us, and guide us through his love.