Pleasure in Little Things
Small gifts can bring great joy
by Helen Redfern (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider how we can use our possessions to help those who do not have as much.
Preparation and materials
You will need a leader and three readers.
Have available the YouTube video ‘Samaritan’s purse - boy celebrates Operation Christmas Child gift’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 0.26 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFZBcB1a3Dk
Leader: I’m sure many of you have watched I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! In this reality TV show, some rich and famous celebrities are encouraged to give up everything to survive in the jungle. They are far from home and given no control over their food supply or the tasks and trials that they are required to undertake. Each celebrity is allowed to choose one luxury item to take with them into the jungle. One may choose a photo of their children; another may choose a soft, fluffy pillow. For another, the luxury item may be a supply of hair gel or a miracle face cream. For each one, it is an item that they feel they could not live without.
If you had to choose just one luxury item to take with you into the jungle, what would it be? Turn to the person next to you and discuss your choice.
Allow time for discussion.
We all have special things that we feel we could not live without.
Reader 1: I could never survive without my iPod. Music is my life. I would be lost without it. How could I get to sleep without listening to music?
Reader 2: For me, it’s chocolate. I have to have chocolate every day or I become subhuman. I can’t imagine getting through a whole day without a bar of chocolate.
Reader 3: Life wouldn’t be worth living if I couldn’t have a shower every day. I stand there under the steaming hot jet of water for ten minutes and it’s pure heaven. There’s no way I would leave the house without having had a shower. Being clean is the most important thing in my life.
Leader: In this season of Lent, for the 40 days leading up to Easter, it is traditional for Christians to give up something that is special to them to help them focus on the suffering that Jesus went through on the cross.
We can get so caught up in the things that are special to us, and in wanting more and more, that we forget about what is really important. We forget about those people throughout the world who have less than us and are suffering.
Ask the students if any of them have taken part in Christmas Shoebox appeals. These appeals ask people to fill a shoebox with gifts to send to someone in a part of the world where there is a lot of suffering or where people have very little money. These gifts may not be expensive, but they can bring a lot of joy.
Show the YouTube video ‘Samaritan’s purse - boy celebrates Operation Christmas Child gift’.
During this season of Lent, how about giving up something that is important to you so that you can focus on those who don’t have as many possessions as we do?
Reader 1: I suppose I do spend an awful lot of time listening to music. I wonder what I would do instead if I stopped for a while.
Reader 2: I’ve got an idea. Rather than giving up chocolate completely for Lent, I could buy Fairtrade chocolate twice a week. All the supermarkets have it now. That way, I can still get my chocolate fix and I’m doing something to help others.
Reader 3: Well, there’s no way I’m not going to have a shower for 40 days. We’d all be suffering then! But I guess I could halve the time I spend in the shower and that would save water and energy. I’m going to find out about water projects across the world, too. If clean water matters for me, it matters for everyone in the world.
Time for reflection
We have so much to be thankful for. Let’s take a moment to think about all the good things that we have and give thanks for them.
Let’s think about our luxury item. Let’s take a moment to reflect on what we could do in this season of Lent to focus more on those who have less than we do.
Listen to the words of this prayer and make them your own if you would like to.
We are reminded in this season of Lent of the events in Jesus’ life leading up to Easter,
when he gave up so much for others.
Throughout history, men and women have given up many things to help other people.
Help us always to look for ways in which we could help others.