Year C: December 2, 2018
First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16
Maple by Lori Nichols
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Jeremiah tells us that the days are coming when God will keep a promise to God’s people. God is going to cause something good and righteous to spring up, just like a branch springs up from a seed. God will make so much good for God’s people from this branch-like person, and they will see God’s righteousness as a result. In Maple, even before Maple was born, there was a tree growing up alongside of her with which she plays after she grows up. One day Maple notices a new tiny tree sapling growing next to her tree and learns that not only is a tree growing, but a new baby is growing who will be a sibling to her. Watching both the tree and her mother’s growth tells Maple that, like Jeremiah says, the days are surely coming, and that something new is springing up which will be so good. In this Advent season, we know that just as God kept God’s promises once before and brought forth Jesus, that God will keep promises to us once again, and that the days are coming when something new will spring up like a branch, and Jesus will return.
Second Reading: I Thessalonians 3:9-13
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, a man spends his days rescuing and opening bottles with messages in them. His job is to give the messages to their recipients. One day he gets a bottle with a message inviting the recipient to a party, but there is no name on it. He cannot figure out who should get the message, though he asks everyone. He decides to go to the party himself, and when he does he discovers all his friends and neighbors there, waiting for him, and they have a wonderful time with each other. This part of I Thessalonians is a beautiful section of a letter, a message to its recipients. It is a message of thanksgiving and love and praise. It is a message meant to strengthen connections and community. That is the kind of message the uncorker of ocean bottles receives—a message which strengthens his connections and community, and brings him love and thanksgiving. This time of year is the perfect time to make sure the people in our lives, in our communities of faith, our friends and neighbors, hear our gratitude and love for them, and that we strengthen our connections and communities.
Gospel Reading: Luke 21:25-36
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: In Luke, Jesus tells the disciples to be alert and be on their guard. Scary things, strange things, and amazing things are coming, but in order to endure, they will have to be watching and paying attention. In Owl Moon, a little girl and her father go out late at night into the snowy woods under a giant moon in order to find owls. They have to be quiet and careful, and always keeping watch and paying attention. They have to look and listen hard in order to see an owl. Eventually they do see an owl, just as Jesus tells the disciples that the things they need to watch for and be on the alert for will come. We are also Jesus’ disciples, and so we have to be alert and on our guard, we have to look and listen hard for the things which he has told us to watch for.
Thanks to Sara Anne Berger, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Nachitoches, LA, for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.