Year A: January 2
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7–14
December by Eve Bunting (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: Eve Bunting tells the story of a boy and his mother who share a cardboard box for a home. After an unexpected visit from a Christmas angel, their luck changes, but the boy believes it is more than luck. Our experience of God does not necessarily change our luck, but it can change our perception. The reality of this boy’s life can be shocking in the midst of a time where we’ve been shopping, decorating, and spending money in attempts to create a merry Christmas. What does it look like to find joy and satisfaction in what we’ve been given? The story reminds us of the joy and blessings that can be found in sharing what we have and opening our lives to one another. When we experience the gathering of community in God, mourning is turned to joy and gladness exchanged for sorrow.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3–14
The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: Through Christ we have been adopted. Members of the family of God, we have been chosen to follow Christ’s ways. When Thomas is given the Christmas candle, he doesn’t understand that it contains the light of Christ. As he travels home, the candle’s illuminations turn strangers into family, and lead him to act in new ways. “If we will see things as they truly are, we will find that all, from great to small, belong to one family.”
Third Reading: John 1:(1–9), 10–18
Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.” In Wood’s story, the truth exists in the world, but the people do not know its fullness. They grasp instead to a broken, beautiful, but not incomplete truth. Old Turtle says that the broken truth will only be mended when we see ourselves in one another. As followers of Christ, we see how this truth is mended when we see the light of Christ in one another. Jesus Christ is the truth, the Light of the World that makes God known to us.
“When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” –Matthew 2: 10-11
Small Camel Follows the Star by Rachel W. N. Brown
Comment: The story, told from Small Camel’s perspective, is an imaginative telling of the travels of the wise men. As Small Camel carries the gifts for Jesus on his back through the desert all he can think about is that he tired and wants to go home. When he meets Jesus, he forgets how tired he is. He is filled with happiness and knows that he is truly in the presence of a king.
This is the last Lectionary Links post by our regular writer, Noell Rathbun, until April, 2011. The posts for the first three months of the new year will be contributed by students in Dr. Pamela Mitchell-Legg’s Using Children’s andAdolescents’ Literature in the Church class at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte campus.