Sunday, November 27, 2022

Dec 4 2022 2nd Sunday of Advent A



2nd Sunday Advent Cycle A

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

Introduce
             Ask:  Does anyone remember what season this is? <Advent>  On the wreath today, we lit two purple candles.  Purple means seriousness and sorrow.  We are spending this time of Advent seriously thinking about getting ready for the coming of Jesus.  Does anyone remember what our symbol was last Sunday?  <show the symbol of the House>
Explain:  We learned that we need to get our own houses (our own hearts) ready for Jesus.

Introduce symbol
Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is a scallop shell.  We use the shell to symbolize certain things.  Does anyone have any ideas?  <let the children think about it and offer ideas>
Explain:  We use the shell to symbolize Baptism, the sacrament where we are received into the church.  We also use the shell to symbolize a person, John the Baptist.
Ask:  Who was John the Baptist?  <a prophet, Jesus’ cousin>  What did he do?  <told about the coming of the Messiah—who was Jesus>
Say:  One of the basic beliefs of the Jewish faith is that the Messiah will come to save us all.  The people who listened to John the Baptist believed the Messiah was coming.  John came to believe that Jesus was in fact the Messiah—and Christians believe that too.  All of our readings today will help us learn how we know that Jesus is coming– so the shell represents the clues that God gives us.

Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say? <Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. 
Ask:  Whose time are we talking about in this psalm?  <God’s time>  The psalm is talking about a king and how a king should act.  The psalm also talks about how we need to help the king be just like God.  We all have a responsibility to help make the world a better place, a place for Jesus to come to.

Introduce readings
We have two readings today.

Say:  Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

Say: Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament book of the prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 11:1-4a, 5-6, 9b) One of the big questions is: how do we know that Jesus is coming? One clue is in Scripture.  God left us Scripture to help us know the truth.  Isaiah is an Old Testament prophet who told us all about Jesus many years before he was actually born.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  What were some of the things that struck you about this reading?  <let the children discuss>  One of the most striking images is the one of wolves and lambs lying down together. What do you think that might mean?  <that enemies will make peace with one another>

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace.



Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of St. Matthew.  (Matt 3:1-9, 11)  This reading tells us about John the Baptist.  Think about the Jews at that time: they had a lot of rules and different classes of people.  There were Pharisees and Sadducees, who did their best to follow all the practices of their religion and worship God.  Many of the religious practices had to do with cleanliness or what to eat or how to conduct business.
There were many other Jews, including the Samaritans and tax collectors for the Romans, that also did their best to live their lives—but that were not always able to follow some of the strict religious practices of the time.  Choosing what to eat or how to earn money is not always possible unless you already HAVE money.  Listen for two things in this gospel reading: the description of what John the Baptist looked like and who it was that came to him to be baptized.

Say:  Let’s stand and get ready to hear the Gospel
Alleluia, Alleluia.

Have the reader begin: “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask: What were some characteristics of John the Baptist?  < he was a wild man who lived in the desert, animal clothes, ate grasshoppers, probably dirty, etc.>  Do you think this was someone who would probably be invited to speak in the Temple?  

Ask: Who came to John the Baptist to be baptized?  <Pharisees and Sadducees>  What did John tell them?  <to go do something to show that they were sorry for their sins>  Do you think that the Pharisees and Sadducees understood what John meant?  <it would be hard for them to understand—they felt like they were a special group who were already pretty close to what God wanted them to be>  They needed to learn that their actions toward others would determine their worthiness, their goodness.  When John told them that someone was coming who was more powerful than he was, who did he mean?  <Jesus>

Hand out the cut-outs and ask the children to put their names on them for the poster. Collect them as the children finish.
Hand out the symbols to color  (The symbol is a shell).
 
Explain: Color this symbol of the shell and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show what we have learned about how to know that Jesus is coming.

Ask the older children to write one thing that they will do this week to show others that Jesus is coming.

If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.

Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.


Use this scallop shell graphic for all three symbols



Parent Letter

2nd Sunday Advent A


Dear Parents,

             Today is the Second Sunday in Advent.  The children listened to the same readings you did:
           Isaiah 11:1-4a, 5-6, 9b, Romans 15:4-6; Matthew 3:1-9,11

Symbol: Shell

To reinforce at home:
The shell represents John the Baptist, one of the most vivid characters who told us about the coming of Christ.  Our central theme was the question “how do we know that Jesus is coming?”  (besides the fact that everyone says so)  Scripture of course tells us, both in the Old Testament and in the New-and is one of the clues God left for us. But we also know in our hearts when we truly believe and listen to God.  We compared the love God has for us to the love we feel for others.  When we love someone, we always want to be with them.  When we are physically apart, we still think about them all the time, just as if they were with us.  And we get back to them as soon as we possibly can.  Since we know that God loves us more than anyone else can, which is more than we can even imagine, we have to know that God will return to be with us. 

Activities to do at home:

*Talk about what it feels like to love someone and be apart from that person.  Compare that to how much God loves each of us.

* The appearance of John the Baptist was in direct contrast to the appearance of Jews who followed all the practices of the Jewish faith—living in the desert, eating grasshoppers, wearing very little, etc.  Yet the Pharisees and Sadducees still came to listen to him and to be baptized.  Talk with your child about the outward appearances of others, that what people look like has very little bearing on who they are inside.  Find some specific examples in your community.


Thank you for sharing your children

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Nov 27, 2022 First Sunday of Advent A



1st Sunday Advent Cycle A

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

Introduce
             Explain: Today is the 1st Sunday in Advent.  Did anyone notice anything new when they entered church today?  <lead the children to mention the Advent wreath, the color purple, any decorations that your church uses to mark the season of Advent> 
Ask:  The season of Advent is a time when we prepare for what feast?  <Christmas—the birth of Christ>
Explain:  We take this time to prepare for the coming of Christ.  We celebrate  his arrival here on earth.  BUT there is another time when Christ will come to us.  Does anyone remember when that is?  <the end of the world>  We also take this season to prepare ourselves for that coming. Jesus is our king—like we talked about last week.  We need to get our own hearts ready for him.

Introduce symbol

Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is a house.  
Explain: There are lots of references in scripture to “the house of the Lord”.  Today’s readings mention houses.  What is a house for?  <for us to live in>  Is anyone here going to have company for the holidays? <let the children answer>.  What do you do to get ready?  <clean straighten, buy food, etc.>  We need to do the same kinds of things for “the house of the Lord”.

Ask:  Can you tell me where the “house of the Lord” is?  <affirm the children’s answers—church, heaven, in our hearts, etc.>  . 

Explain. The “house of the Lord” can mean many things. Usually the first answer we think of is Heaven or maybe Church.  But the “house of the Lord” is where God lives.
 
Ask:  Can anyone tell me where else God lives?  <lead the children to answer “in their hearts”>  God is in your heart.  He lives inside of all of us.  Our readings today will tell us about these houses.

Say:  Let’s look at the poster we will make today.  What does it say? <Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today, a psalm of praise.
Say:  The psalm refers to the “house of the Lord” as all the people in the world.  Can anyone tell me the best way to make changes in the world?  <by changing ourselves!>  If we make sure that we have peace and love inside our own hearts, we have the ability to make great changes in the world.

Introduce readings
We have two readings today. 

Say:  Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

Say: Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 2:1-5)  Lots of times in scripture, the prophets used a literal image, that is a physical example, to refer to a higher idea.  An example of this is when a HEART is mentioned, yet the real meaning is LOVE.   Isaiah had a vision and he mentioned the “house of the Lord”.  Let’s listen closely to see if we can figure out which “house” he SAID and which “house” he MEANT.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask: What did you hear?  <discuss>  The house that Isaiah mentioned first was the temple.  Which house is that?  What is a temple?  <like our church>  Then he goes on to talk about what it will be like when God is here on earth.  So that is when God lives in all of us—or when he comes back to earth.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to pray the words of praise nice and loud:
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew.  (Matt 24:37-44) Matthew tells us about a time that Jesus spoke with his disciples about the time when he would return to us.  He talks about the way people will act at that time—and he refers to an Old Testament story that you all probably know.  Listen closely for two things: the Old Testament story and the reference to a house.  After we hear the Gospel, we will see if we can decide what it means in our own lives.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
(hold up card)  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Have the reader begin: “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

Read:  Read the Gospel

Say:  Did you hear the two things?  <let the children respond—the story is Noah and the “house” reference has to do with keeping your house prepared against a thief> 

Ask:  Why Noah?  Why did this story get mentioned?  <because Jesus was describing how people would be acting when he returned to earth.>  And what did Jesus mean when he talked about  people guarding their house against thieves?  <he meant that one never knew when a robber would come.>  You have to be ready.  We have to make our hearts ready for when Jesus comes because we don’t know when that will be.

Hand out the poster cut-outs and Offertory symbols.

Ask children to add their names to the cutouts (houses) so that they can be glued onto the poster.
.   
Explain: Color this symbol of the House and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about getting your hearts ready for the coming of Jesus.        .

Ask the older children to write down one thing they can do this week to make their hearts ready for Jesus.

If there is time, review the lesson.

Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.

 
use this graphic for the small symbol used on the communal poster

Use this graphic for the black-line coloring sheet (Offertory gift) and the banner symbol.  For the banner symbol, use different colors and decorate to look like a house!




Parent Letter

First Sunday in Advent  A


Dear Parents,

           Today is the First Sunday in Advent.  The children listened to the same readings you did: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-13a; Matthew 24:37-44  

Symbol:  House

To reinforce at home:
Our focus today was preparing our “houses” (our hearts) for the coming of Jesus. We talked about Advent and its meaning and about some of the things we do during Advent to prepare for Christ’s coming.

Activities to do at home:

*If you haven’t done it yet, get out your Advent wreath (or make one with 4 candles) and say a prayer together at each meal when you light the candle.  If you need more information about celebrating Advent in your home, contact your pastor or religious education leader.

*Read the story of Noah together to help your child understand the reference Jesus made in Matthew’s gospel.. 

*Choose a specific time during the week to talk about your holiday celebrations and how to make them more meaningful.

 

Thank you for sharing your children!