Year C: December 20, 2015
First Reading: Micah 5:2-5a
Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: A little girl begins a search to find beauty in her world after learning of the world “beautiful” in school one day. Her teacher wrote it on the board and she wrote it in her notebook. Then she began actively seeking something beautiful in and around her home, school, and neighborhood. She seeks advice from members of the community about beauty, but still seems unsatisfied. Finally, she realizes that beauty in the world must start from her own eyes and actions. As she begins to remove trash and graffiti, she begins to feel powerful in effecting beauty in her world. Micah’s words point to a new leader of humble origins who will bring about change through peace, in opposition to rulers before this leader. YHWH will act on behalf of those exploited and demoralized through this new leader. The strength of this leader is in the Lord. This new ruler of Israel, as well as the little girl on the search for “beautiful”, exhibits strength that shows itself in service to others. The world is about to change because of both this girl and this new leader of God.
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:5-10
The Little Chapel That Stood by A.B. Curtiss
(Written for ages 9-12)
Comment: This section of Hebrews continues the theme of the previous several chapters: we need a Savior. Again we are reminded that we are sanctified only by God’s will. These words reiterate that we are a people in need of forgiveness; we need to be retrieved, saved, plucked from our circumstances, and only our God through Jesus Christ can offer a once-and-for-all sacrifice for our salvation. Curtiss’ story is of the Chapel of Old St. Paul built in 1776 that was less than 100 yards from the Twin Towers in New York City that collapsed all around the chapel on September 11, 2001. The chapel stood, unscathed, and became a refuge for rescue workers at Ground Zero. The chapel became a place of peace in the midst of chaos for first responders: “In the chapel they’d pause, then go on their way. A hot cup of coffee, something to eat, here the firemen, welders, policemen would meet. All would come to rest from their labor, volunteer, doctor, brother, neighbor.” Christ becomes the someone to come rescue us, to free us of ourselves, and to remind us that we are lost but can and will be found. The Chapel became a location of rescue, of peace, of “found” for those who were working to rescue and those who were lost.
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-45(46-55)
How Do you Know? by Deborah W. Trotter
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: When Polly wakes up one morning, she finds her home and the family farm covered in fog. The fog is so dense that she can’t see the things which remind her that she’s home. She fears they are gone forever. Mama says they’re all still there, but Polly isn’t so sure. She questions how her Mama knows they still exist. As Polly and Mama set off to find the familiar places on the farm, she comes to realize that she knows things too, despite not being able to see them. When Mary visits Elizabeth, the child in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy and the women become filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth offers a blessing to Mary in response to the kick from her child, and Mary in turn praises God for the promises of God in her (their) child(ren). The baby kick may be an opening to a new awareness for both Mary and Elizabeth. The women experience recognition of the Spirit in the kick and then offer responses of praise and thanksgiving. Polly experiences recognition of her home during her walk with Mama, and then in turn recognizes her awareness of knowledge, then offering the gift of love and assurance to Mama. These stories also align nicely into the Advent message of hope and understanding; the women of God’s purposes, Polly and Mama of certainty of home.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by alumna Katie Barrett Todd, Associate University Minster at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska.