3rd Sunday In Advent
Year B: December 17, 2017
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11
An Invisible Thread Christmas Story: A True Story Based on the #1 New York Times Bestseller by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Laura and Maurice are a pair of unlikely friends. In this story, however, we follow Laura as she and Maurice develop a deep friendship. Laura learns that Maurice has never celebrated Christmas and she invites him to join her and her family in their Christmas celebrations. He joins her and experiences joy, love, and celebration. As the story ends, Maurice and Laura reflect on their celebrations, and the best parts were the smallest gestures. This story shows children how, in the midst of the season, they can bring “good news to the oppressed,” “bind up the brokenhearted,” and “comfort all who mourn” as the words of Isaiah charge each and every one who hears these words. We don’t have to do a big gesture to show Christ to the world. These words from Isaiah are a challenging task for any age, but even more so to children. During Advent, we are to wait actively. We are to prepare the world to welcome Christ. We have all been anointed to do the work of the prophets, but it is not as hard as it sounds. Something as simple as inviting someone in or being a friend can prepare a person and the world to welcome Christ.
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Penguin’s Christmas Wish By Salina Yoon
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: These words reminds us to rejoice always. No matter what is happening in our lives, we should be filled with Joy. It is a state of being that is not affected by the events of our day. We can have joy and still be upset about things not going our way. We can have joy and still be angry with a friend. When we rejoice always, we are able to look beyond the moment, and remember who we belong to and who we are. Penguin is getting ready for Christmas with his family. As he does so he wishes for it to be a certain way, like having a Christmas tree. Penguin is able to be creative and with the help of his family, he decorates pine trees in the heart of the forest in hopes of sharing it with the whole forest. As the penguin family sleeps on Christmas eve, a blizzard comes through and blows away all the decorations, presents, and even the star. Despite the disappointment, Penguin is able to make the best of the situation and the family enjoys the day together.
Gospel Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Poco Loco By J. R. Krause and Maria Chua
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Every once in a while, someone comes along that seems to be a bit out of the ordinary. They dress differently than the culture around them. They say and do things that seem on the unusual side. The Gospel reading this morning is all about a person who stands out from the crowd. John the Baptist has been doing things that have religious leaders concerned. When they have a chance to ask him who he is, he tells them, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord.” (verse 23). The religious leaders and we have the choice to believe him or not. Can we look past his odd behaviors and the things we see unfolding in the world in order to believe what he is saying? Poco Loco is a story of a mouse who does unusual things. His friend even refer to him as a little crazy. One morning he receives a warning of bad weather coming, but outside the sun is out and it is beautiful. Despite his warning to his friends, they choose to have their breakfast picnic outside. It turns out his weather forecast was correct and the breakfast picnic is overcome by the weather. If his friends had chosen to believe him, they could still be enjoying their breakfast. Our future depends on our willingness to believe John the Baptist as he tells us to prepare for the coming Lord.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Elizabeth Boulware Landes, associate for children and youth ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aledo, TX.