Friday Five: Snow, Codenames, ESV podcasts, and more

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Faithful Follow-through

It’s been a snow week! Outside play, tea, hot chocolate, LEGOs, and lots of books have made up this week – a good week.

Favorite Instagram of the week:

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FAQ: Codenames Game Review

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we played the board game Codenames over Thanksgiving and several people asked for a review.

We loved it!

The game works by laying out a “board” of 25 cards that each have a random word printed. One person from each team sees a secret card that makes some cards points for red team, some for blue team, and one “assassin” game over card. The caller with this secret knowledge is then supposed to give a one-word clue so that his team members correctly identify which are their team’s point cards.

We played it first with a group of four – two teams of two – and it was interesting but a brain-burner as we tried to make associations (we played boys against girls with two couples, and that helped make it more fun – men and women come up with totally different types of connections).

Then we played it with a large group at Thanksgiving – teams anywhere from 4-6 players each. Suddenly, this game was hilariously fun.

Why? Because the guessing teammates had to agree on their choice – so all that thinking about what words the caller was trying to connect had to happen out loud. How different people connect ideas and things, why they would make a certain choice, was very entertaining for everyone to listen to.

It also worked well for a family holiday setting because the number on each team, though it should be roughly equal, could also be fluid. So when I had to get up and check on the turkey, the game continued on just fine in my absence. Plus, the middle school kids could play along and make suggestions and contribute. Even though they lacked the experience to make many connections and play well on their own, they could still participate and be part of the fun.

It’s easy to learn, easy to get started, easy to clean up, with quick plays and a cooperative spirit.

If you’re looking for a family game for Christmas and New Year gatherings, Codenames fits the bill.

My suggestion: Get at least one dynamic extrovert on each team if you can manage it for optimum play experience.

Feed for reads

My podcasts will return with season 3 in January.

Ok, all year I’ve neglected my poor Goodreads account.

I’ve updated it, added my 2016 reads, and am set to make keeping it updated a 2017 goal.

And another feed – In my Weekly Review email Saturday I mentioned that one 2017 goal I’ve already chosen is to make it through the M’Cheyne ESV reading plan podcast. Several people asked where to find this podcast, so here it is:

I also enjoyed this article by Justin Taylor about why listening to the Bible is something we should all do.


Christmas articles to help us gear up!

Jesus Isn’t Threatened by Your Christmas Gifts

by Tim Challies

At the same time, I think we all feel a little bit of tension between the dual purposes of Christmas—the giving of gifts and the birth of the Savior. It is this time of year when we encounter all kinds of articles about the real gift of Christmas and when we are warned about spending too much money or buying gifts that are too lavish. We need to keep Christ in Christmas and not succumb to materialism, right?

Or wrong? Good words from Challies about not worrying that your kids are looking forward to presents on Christmas morning.

The kids are experiencing anticipation, surprise, magic, love, excitement – and those will be memories and metaphors they will be able to draw on when they learn about even more startling and amazing things than presents. It’s good.

10 Ways to Be a Christian this Christmas

by Kevin DeYoung

But whether you love every nook and cranny about the holidays—or consider most of it “noise, noise, noise!”—there is no excuse to be grinchy and scroogeish. Here are ten ways we can remember to be Christians this Christmas.

Pastor DeYoung also admonishes us not to be the white witch! His number 9 boils down to organizing your attitude. ;)

What Time Is It? A Defense of the Church Calendar

by Gregg Strawbridge

The Protestant heritage is mixed on the question of the Church Calendar. Lutherans and Anglicans never abandoned the Christian timing of time in the calendar and neither did many in the Reformed Church, though it was less robust. I recently received a book on the history of the German Reformed Church in our area (Lancaster, Penn.) and noted that in keeping with the Continental Reformed churches, they celebrated the “five evangelical feast days.” These were Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. The Reformed churches of Berne, Strasbourg, and Zurich also celebrated these.

If you’re in a tradition that does not do Advent or Lent, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have no tradition to draw on. Here’s a historic run-down on the reformed traditions surrounding extra-biblical holidays like Christmas.

Free-Reading Fans

The kids were caught reading this week:

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