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“Just one more string of lights,” said Sam as he strained to attach the fairy lights to the guttering that ran across his house.
He climbed down the ladder and stepped back to admire his handiwork. The whole front of the house was festooned with Christmas lights, decorations and giant inflatables.
“Beautiful,” he said to himself.
His eyes strayed to his neighbour Sian’s house, which was aso groaning under the weight of decorations. For years now the two families – Sam’s and Sian’s – had been competing in the Manchesterford Seasonal Extravaganza: an annual competition designed to pinpoint the best-decorated house in the town. The title had passed between the two each year to the exclusion of all other competitors.
This year, Sam and Sian had been allowed by their families to take the lead in designing and putting up the decorations. Sam had been planning what he was going to do for months. Early on, he had decided to convert last year’s ‘Chief Elf’ into a life-sized representation of Ed Sheeran playing the guitar and pretending to sing ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’. His plans were finally complete, all the lights were up and it was almost time to switch everything on.
But before he did so, he looked again at Sian’s house. He examined it for the weak link, the Achilles heel that meant Sam was bound to take the title. Then he saw it. A reindeer was straining against the sticky tape Sian had used to fix it to the side of her house.
“Surely she can’t have just used tape,” he thought to himself. “A small puff of wind and that reindeer will be venison burgers.”
He couldn’t wait for the judges to arrive. They were bound to mark her down for that terrible mistake.
It wasn’t long before a small crowd arrived, with the three judges squashed in the middle. They stood outside Sian’s house first.
“Here we go,” thought Sam.
He sidled up to one of the judges: “That reindeer looks a bit precarious, don’t you think?” he murmured.
Sian flicked the switch and her house lit up. The reindeer immediately fell off the wall and crashed onto the ground. The crowd gasped and Sian looked crestfallen.
Next it was Sam’s turn. He walked up to the switch, but before he could touch it one of the judges rushed up to him.
“Stop! You can’t turn that on! Look how many plugs you’ve got plugged into one socket! And those aren’t even suitable for outdoors. You’re disqualified!”
- What do you think about Sam’s attitude towards Sian?
- Should he have told Sian about the reindeer? Why? Why not?
- What do you think happened next?
This story is based on Luke 6:37-42. Read this passage to the group and compare Jesus’ story and words with this one. Discuss what Jesus might have been saying through his parable, encouraging the group to think about it in a new way.
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