3rd Sunday in Advent
Year C: December 13, 2015
First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20
Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum
(Written for ages 2-5)
Comment: This nearly wordless story is one of two toddler friends playing on the beach. While on the beach, the two experience some small adventures that lead to them uttering “uh-oh!” as they play. When they stumble upon a crab hiding in their toys, they release the crab into the ocean. In the midst of their play and “uh-oh” eliciting explorations, the two enjoy laughter and fun. Zephaniah’s proclamation comes in the midst of the judgment of an irate God. This prophecy reminds us to lament and repent, but also rejoice in God’s promised salvation. Joy interrupts judgment, like laughter interrupts collapse. Through prophetic interruptions, like this one of Zephaniah’s, God offers us glimpse of a hopeful future. Similarly to the toddlers who released the trapped crab into the ocean, our future will be much different from the present according to the words of Zephaniah, for our Savior is on the way to bring salvation and release, and God is already in our midst.
Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
Dotty by Erica S. Perl
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: When Ida started school, Dotty followed along. Ida learned that Dotty was not the only “friend” who followed her person to school, but that all of her classmates had friends who attended with them, too. As the year wore on, classmates slowly began coming to school without their friends, but Ida doesn’t want to let go of Dotty. She worries over not having Dotty with her. When she tries to send Dotty away, she just can’t seem to let go. Dotty always seemed to be with Ida, or at least in her thoughts. The Philippians text reminds us that God wants us to be calm and rest in the knowledge that Christ is in our hearts and minds. Like Dotty comforts Ida, God’s peace encourages us to not be troubled, but rather rest in the assurance that God’s peace is better than anything we will ever understand. As Ida carried a piece of Dotty with her, we shall always carry a piece of Christ in our hearts and live thankfully.
Gospel Reading: Luke 3:7-18
The Lighthouse Children by Syd Hoff
(Written for ages 6-10)
Comment: Sam and Rose lived in a lighthouse by the sea all alone, but surrounded by the company of the seagulls whom they claimed to be their children. After a storm comes through which destroys the lighthouse, the couple moves to a city where they are surrounded by new friends and neighbors. Despite their new friends, they miss their seagull friends. Rose thinks of a way to call out to the birds by creating a lighthouse of their new home. The birds will always be able to find their way to Sam and Rose because the couple shines the light of love into the sky for their bird friends. John the Baptist’s exhortation points to the one to come. Our duty is to proclaim the good news and shine our light so that others may hear the message that will lead us “home” to the repentance to which we are called. Sam and Rose bore good fruit and shone their light for all and the birds to see, which is what John the Baptist exhorts for followers of Christ to do, also.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Katie Barrett Todd.