A very Minecraft-y Christmas

23 Nov

Mention ‘Minecraft’ to a primary school child and you just may find yourself in the most animated conversation you’ve ever had with a person of that age. You should definitely try it! As we came to choose a theme for KidsPlus @ Bexley North this term it seemed like a good idea to have a Minecraft-y Christmas.

What is Minecraft? It is a computer game which seems to have had unexpected success. The graphics are barely better than my 1984 Commodore 64 had and on first look there doesn’t seem much to it. But then I asked my daughters to explain it to me and it all became clear.

The premise of the game is that you get to build your own world. You are in total control. You can build your dream house. You can build a city or go and capture someone else’s. You can enslave local villagers and force them to breed more villagers.  You are the creator and your creation is only bounded by your own imagination.

It struck me straight away why all the primary school kids I know love this game: it’s because of sin. I don’t mean that playing the game is sinful or evil. What I mean is that all of us, at our core, want to be in control. We all want to shape the world according to our own imagination. In the bible this is exactly what sin is. Sin is saying no to God’s way of ruling and instead putting yourself into the top job.

Last term our theme for KidsPlus was ‘Lego Creator’. We investigated what the true Creator God is like – the loving, creating and saving God of the Bible. We used the Lego Bible and other Lego challenges to help explain who the Lord God is and what he created us for.

This term, instead of starting with God being in control, we started by questioning what happens when mankind is in control. Just ask a 10 year old what their first Minecraft creation was and you will see what happens. For most kids, the first thing they build in the world of Minecraft is a big tower into the sky. What does that remind you of in the bible? The Tower of Babel of course. When mankind got together what did they do? Genesis 11:4 tells us that they decided to build a great tower so as to ‘make a name for ourselves’.  That attitude of pushing God out of the picture continues to this day and it explains why the world is in such a mess.

Likewise, the world of Minecraft is fundamentally flawed. Not because the game has been poorly conceived but because the game depends on people. And people are flawed.

As we teach the KidsPlus kids about Christmas it is good to remember that Christmas is also about a creator entering his Creation. John 1:10 says Jesus was ‘in the world and the world was created through Him’.  The difference though, was that Jesus came to his creation with ‘grace and truth’ (John 1:17).  Jesus came not to dominate creation and make a name for himself but instead to invite all of us to be children of God, to turn from sin and to trust in him alone (John 1:12).

Who would have thought that knowing about a popular computer game could lead to opportunities to explain the gospel! Please pray for the kids at Bexley North KidsPlus – that they may see Jesus for who he is – the light of life for all mankind. 

Perhaps Minecraft is a good place to start a gospel conversation amongst your own family and friends as well.

 Jason Veitch  

 

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