There are a lot of spiritual truths we can relate to snowflakes. Use this Christmas themed object lesson with your youth or children.
Thin paper like tissue paper works best, but you can do this activity with newsprint, Christmas wrapping paper, origami paper, a napkin, or even an ordinary sheet of paper.
Give each youth an identical sheet of paper.
What to do
Explain to the youth that you’re going to play a game and explain the the rules of the game:
- “You must follow instructions as they are given. Can I have your commitment to follow instructions?”
- “Hold the sheet of paper in your hand.”
- “Close your eyes and keep them closed until you are told to open them.”
- “No talking at all is allowed.”
- “Fold the paper exactly in half.”
- “Tear off the bottom right hand corner.”
- “Fold the paper in half again.”
- “Tear off the top right hand corner.”
- “Tear off a piece of paper along the middle of the left side of the paper.”
- “Fold the paper in half again.”
- “Tear off a piece along the middle of the right side.”
- “Tear of the lower left hand corner.”
- “Open your eyes”
- “Unfold your paper.”
- “Compare your paper to the paper of the other youth next to you.”
Take it to the Next Level
- “Did everyone receive the same instructions?
- “Did everyone follow the instructions?”
- “Why did you get different results?”
- “Who did it the correct way?”
- “Did everyone understand the instructions?”
- “What does it mean to “Fold the paper in half?”
- “How many of you had the same understanding of this instruction?”
- “What made the snowflakes different?”
Possible reasons things turned out different
- Youth could fold from corner to corner or side to side – There is more that one way to do it.
- Youth do not fold the paper exactly in half – They are not perfect.
- Youth tore off different amounts – The instructions are not clear.
- Youth tore off the paper at different places along the side – Made different choices.
- Sometimes in life there is more than one way to do something. Different doesn’t always mean wrong. Of course if I said tear the right corner and you tore the left corner you would have done it wrong. Sometimes we need to evaluate whether something is Wrong or merely just different.
- Each snowflake was different. No two are alike. The same is true with us.
- Each snowflake has six sides. We are all the same in some ways, but we are also all different in other ways.
- Sometimes we are unclear when communication with others.
- We are not perfect, but we can all pursue excellence. Don’t worry about mistakes, but simply do your best.
Interesting truths and facts about snowflakes and related lessons. You may wish to get some photos of real life snowflakes to show the youth group as you discuss truths about snowflakes: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/
Each Snowflake is shaped by its journey
Snowflakes are not perfectly symmetrical since pollution, temperature, the humidity, the speed they fall, and even encounters with other snowflakes along the journey affect the way they grow. In our life journey, there are times for all of us when we are blown around, out of control, at the mercy of the conditions around us – obstacles, deaths, unpleasant circumstances, troubles, and pain. God uses all the things we encounter in life to mould us and shape us into something beautiful – even the seemingly bad things. “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” [Romans 8:28] Even with the Christmas story, Mary finds out she is pregnant. Joseph is just as shocked to discover the news. They have to pay taxes. There is no room in the inn. Herod is intent on killing all newborns. But God used all these things to give us a Savior. In Jeremiah 1:5 and 29:11 we are told that God has plans for people before they are even born. God hasn’t forgotten you when bad things happen, he’s there right alongside you, and will use everything to make your life beautiful, even the dark specks of dirt. You are a combination of all of your life experiences. Remember this Christmas that everything that has happened to you along the way – Your education, your work, your skills, your talents, your choices, and even your mistakes – have all combined together to make you who you are today.
Each snowflake is Temporary
Though each snowflake is beautiful, they will all one day melt away, and will be gone, without leaving a trace of what they were behind. One cup of water can make 10 million snowflakes and combined together with others they can blanket the countryside in a beautiful white blanket of pristine white. But the very next day things could be a muddy mess. Yet, even from the muddy mess they may provide the water of life to others. This Christmas remember that life is short. Make the most of the opportunities to bring life to others.
Each snowflake is unique
No two snowflakes are alike. They all have six sides, but those six sides create something of unique beauty. They float up and drop down in the air currents until they become too heavy and finally fall to the ground. In the same way, there’s no one else in the world like you. There has never been anyone just like you. There will never be anyone else like you. God created you and formed you according to his perfect plan and purpose for your life. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:14) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) God has chosen to lovingly make you exactly the way you are for a purpose that only you can fulfill. Then journey might seem unplanned and even chaotic, ups and downs, but when you finally reaches God chosen destination you will reflect God’s design for your life. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by God, for his purpose!
Each snowflake begins with Dirt
Every snowflake begins with a dirty speck of dust. As it collects moisture from the air, the speck of dust is covered and concealed. At it’s core it is still dirty but it has become something beautiful. With a little snow they whole landscape changes. Everything is white and pristine. All the dirt is covered and the world is transformed into something delightful. But under that snow, all the trash, and imperfections are still there and in a few hours of harsh sunlight, they will be revealed again. Scripture tells us that man was also formed from the dust. But God has made us into something beautiful. This Christmas season remember that, regardless of what lies in your past, through Christ you were made beautiful by God. When God cleanses us, he washes us whiter than snow. He doesn’t just cover up our dirty heart – he gives us a new heart. Our “dirty heart” of stone is replaced with a heart of new life in him, pure and blameless. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” (Isaiah 1:18) This Christmas, let us pray like David prayed in Psalm 51:7, “…wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
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