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The X-Mas Factor

To consider the true ‘celebrity’ behind the Christmas celebrations.

by Tim and Vicky Scott

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the true ‘celebrity’ behind the Christmas celebrations.

Preparation and materials

  • You could download the two singles alluded to in section 1 and play them as the students enter and leave. These are: ‘Cannonball’, sung by Little Mix, and ‘Wherever you are’, sung by Military Wives with Gareth Malone.


  1. Play last year’s single by X Factor winners Little Mix and ask students if it won the Christmas number 1 spot. Answer: No, it was beaten by ‘Wherever you are’, sung by the Military Wives choir with Gareth Malone.

    It’s X Factor season again. Hopefuls from all around the UK are dreaming of making it to London to launch their careers and change their lives for ever. And, rather like Marmite, we either love it, or hate it!
  2. As well as The X Factor live finals, for many of us December is the beginning of the end of a new term and the beginning of looking forward to the next holiday season. For some people, perhaps in your family, today is another day of unemployment or another day of the same old unfulfilling job.

    Christians believe that it is into your situation, whatever that may be, that Jesus comes again, with his life-giving presence, to call you afresh.
  3. At some point today, perhaps when you are doing your homework, or washing the dishes, or shopping for Christmas presents, why not stop, and take a minute out, to wonder about him?

    –  At Christmas, Christians celebrate not only the birth of Jesus, but also the fact that he grew up and launched a life-changing ministry that has left an indelible mark on billions of lives throughout the history of the last two thousand years. Have you ever thought why Jesus is such an enduring global celebrity?

    –  Do you know where Jesus went to launch his three-year ministry? Not quite Jerusalem, the bustling capital city, not the Temple, where the religious equivalents of Simon Cowell resided, but to the north of the country, where life was seen as less ‘important’. He came to ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs, such as fishing, to people living a very ordinary existence. He came into their everyday lives and work, and worked with them and spent time alongside them.

    John’s Gospel in the Bible refers to Jesus as God’s ultimate communication or ‘Word’ to humanity and says ‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes’ (John 1.14, The Message).

Time for reflection

‘In the land of Galilee, where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. (Matthew 4.15–16a).


Our society is obsessed with fame and celebrity. Magazines, websites and TV shows are intent on giving us glimpses into the lives of the rich and famous. Imagine what it would be like if a ‘famous’ person moved into your area – TV cameras everywhere, the paparazzi camped on the doorsteps and everyone anxious to get a sighting of the celebrity.

Christians believe an amazing fact: that the Son of God himself, the king of the universe, became a human being, and came to live among us – he ‘moved into the neighbourhood’ to show us how much God cares for each of us, even if we are not rich or famous in the eyes of the world.


Play one of The X Factor hits,or sing your favourite Christmas carol.

Publication date: December 2012   (Vol.14 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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