YEAR B: December 14, 2014
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11
Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: The Spirit of the Lord puts people to work – the soul-lifting work of bringing good news, binding up the brokenhearted, comforting the bereaved—but also the physical work of building up the ancient ruins, raising up former devastation, and repairing ruined cities. Both the people themselves, and the places where those people reside, need the Lord’s renewal. In Iggy Peck, Architect, Iggy is also interested in building and re-building. He makes buildings out of diapers, fruit, chalk, and more! But his teacher, Miss Greer, dislikes building and does not see the point of it, so she makes him stop. That is, until his class gets trapped on an island by a bridge collapse, and Iggy saves the day. Iggy rebuilds the bridge with their possessions! Like Iggy Peck, the Lord’s anointed will be called to build, to raise up ruins and repair things which are broken, not just in the people’s spirits, but in the places they dwell, too.
Second Reading: I Thessalonians 5:16-24
Bedtime is Canceled by Cece Meng
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: As this new Christian faith developed, the people of Thessalonica needed guidance on what it looked like to live everyday in a Christ-like way. The final section of this letter lays out a list of qualities which will aid living a holy and blameless life until the Lord returns. One of these exhortations is to “test everything, and hold onto what is good”. As new Christians in a culture different from themselves, there would have been many opportunities, products, and behaviors about which they would need to make choices. There was no one-size-fits-all answer; everything needed to be tested for its applicability to a Christian life, and once tested, only that which was good for leading blameless and holy lives was to be kept. In Bedtime is Canceled, two siblings manage to convince everyone—their parents, their neighbors, the news media, everyone!—that bedtime is canceled. At first, they all happily stay awake the entire night. But the next day, everyone is exhausted, even falling asleep at the dinner table. When night comes around again, everyone decides that bedtime is not canceled, and they all joyfully head off to sleep. While it was fun to test whether or not we need to go to bed, after testing, everyone quickly realized it was not good for their lives. That is part of what the Thessalonians are exhorted to do: among these many ways to live a Christian life, they are to test everything, and only hold on to what is good, so that they can continue living holy and blameless lives until the coming of the Lord.
Gospel Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Under Alaska’s Midnight Sun by Deb Vanasse
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: John is not the light coming into the world, but John testifies to, and celebrates, that light. The light, of course, is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and John points to him and his coming with eagerness and rejoicing. When the Messiah arrives, he will baptize in spirit, John will decrease in his presence, and yet John anticipates and celebrates this change. The light is coming into the world, and John is ready for it. In the same way, in Under Alaska’s Midnight Sun, the solstice brings a profound change to Alaska—from then on, the sun does not set, even at night! One little girl and her family spend the day enjoying this change, exploring the illumined world late into the night, reveling in the midnight sun. The light stays in their world, and they celebrate it. And John, too, while not the light himself, celebrates the light that is coming into the world in the form of Jesus Christ.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Rev. Sara Anne Berger, pastor of the Whitmire Presbyterian Church in Whitmire, SC.