You’ll need for each youth: 1 quart sized Mason canning jar or other similar jar with a lid, a battery powered window candlestick (I found them at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby around Christmas time), and a small lampshade that fits over the christmas tree light bulbs of the candlesticks.
Additionally, you’ll need decorating materials such as ric-rac, buttons, stickers, fabric paints, glitter glue pens, leather laces, lace trim, yarn, fringe, “jewels”, whatever might trim a lamp shade.
Before the meeting time, use a drill press or punch to cut a hole in the top of the jar lid that is just big enough for the candlestick to fit through.
A week or two in advance, instruct the youth to bring small items that mean a lot to them or that bring back special memories. Examples are trinkets won for Sunday School attendance, keychains or other tokens from youth trips, ticket stubs from a favorite Christian concert, ring from a bubble gum machine when you were little, token from a grandparent or other relative. Any small items that will fit in a jar.
Have the youth glue the candlestick in the bottom of the jar. Next have them paint or decorate the lamp shade. Finally, fill the jar with their memories.
I used this as a Sunday School lesson for my Jr/Sr Highs with two topics of focus. The first was “Jesus is the light of the world.” Each youth’s lampshade was unique with varying amounts of light showing through which really helped bring home the idea that each of us shows God’s love through our lives in varying degrees. Are you a dark or light lampshade? The second topic of focus was on the special memories of the youth’s items. Many of mine, as a youth leader, were from past youth camps, trips, and meetings. Several students had small items from when they were babies. This is a very special way to store those small trinkets and occassionally reflect on the memories they hold. Makes a great nightlight that works during power outages, too!
Variation: A small strand of Christmas lights can be wound through the trinkets instead of a candlestick/lampshade. If you do this, do not cut a hole in the jar lid. Also, be sure to use the small twinkling lights that don’t get hot… helps avoid fires.