My Holiday Ice-Breaker

In previous posts I’ve written about the importance of asking questions and then pausing to listen, really listen for the answer. This season I’ve taken the opportunity on two ocassions to practice a form of “ice-breaker.” It’s not profound or for that matter, highly original. Yet, both times it has produced some great conversation and has been a spring-board for some wonderful reminiscing as people share their story.

This holiday season isn’t just about Christmas. For me, there is also Advent. Liturgical churches, like the one I grew up in, celebrate Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming”). It is observed to focus our thoughts on waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas; including the Advent wreath, candles, calendars, and specfic carols of this season.

My holiday ice-breaker goes something like this, “Share with us an Advent or Christmas carol or memory, from your child-hood or today, and what it means to you.” Some of the responses have been:

  • I’ve never heard of Advent until this year and I’m growing to appreciate it’s significance.
  • My family gathers around the Advent wreath and after dinner we light the specific candles of the week and share some spiritual conversation.
  • As a kid I remember that when another candle was lit on the Advent wreath it meant another week closer to Christmas presents. Therefore, more fire…presents are coming!
  • My grandparents were German and never spoke english. So, when I was a child and memorized a verse of “Silent Night” in German, I felt connected to them; remembering the German verse to this day.
  • I remember an entire worship gathering around the Advent carol of “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.”
  • I came from a large family and my favorite aunt handed Christmas presents to everyone in our family, except me. I cried!

These are just a few of the comments, all of which sparked some form of laughter, empathy, or even more questions to learn more. BTW…one of my favorite carols is, “Es is ein Rose entsprungen.”

Give yourself a gift this Advent season…ask an ice-breaker question.

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2 Responses to My Holiday Ice-Breaker

  1. Mark – Thanks for sharing these “ice breaker” holiday questions. Your right, Christmas is not all about gifts and shopping. For me, the Christmans holiday has become a search for the inner depth of what the Christmas holiday is all about: love, memories and forgiveness.

    BTW: There is no more beautiful rendition of “Silent Night” than that sung in German. It is so peaceful.

    Thanks as always for sharing on your very interesting blog.

    Jeff Schreiber
    Brighton, Michigan

    • Mark says:

      @Jeff – You are welcome! And…thank you for sharing your “inner depth” of Christmas. What a gift!

      Enjoy, “Stillle Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!”

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