Sunday, December 8, 2019

Dec 15, 2019 3rd Sunday of Advent A



3rd 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 3rd Sunday in Advent.  Did anyone notice the color of the candle in the wreath today?  <pink>  Why do you think that we have a pink candle? <discuss>  Pink symbolizes joy. It means that although we are serious about our preparation (purple), we are awaiting a joyous event and the waiting is almost over! 
Ask:  Does anyone remember the symbol for last week?  <a shell> 
Ask:  What did it symbolize?  <specifically John the Baptist but also how we know that Jesus is coming>

Introduce symbol
Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is a balloon.  What do you think of when you see a balloon?  A party?  Happiness?  Balloons remind us of happy times.  When Jesus comes, we will be happier than we can even imagine.

Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say? <Lord come and save us>  This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.  Psalms were originally songs, so make sure you pray the response clearly and loudly.
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 book of the prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 38:1-2, 5-6ab, 10).  Isaiah tells us what it will be like when the Lord returns.  Listen for descriptions (or word pictures) and how they make you feel.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask: Can you tell me a word picture that Isaiah gave us and how it made you feel? <deserts will bloom, sing joyful songs, blind will see, etc.>  “Happiness will be a crown we always wear”.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
Lord come and save us.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew.  (Matt 11:2-11)  In the Gospel today, we hear again about John the Baptist.  He was in jail and heard about Jesus teaching the people. He wanted to know if Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.  He sent some of his friends to ask Jesus. Listen to the message Jesus sent to John and to what he said about John to the other people who were there.

Say:  Now we will stand to get ready to hear the Gospel
Alleluia, Alleluia.

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

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask: Can you tell me what happened?  <let the children retell the story>  What message did Jesus send to John? <he told them to tell John about all that they had seen and heard when they were listening to Jesus>  Why do you think he didn’t simply say “YES, I am the Messiah” ?  Wouldn’t that be easier?   

Say: God wants us to think, to use our minds to make decisions.  He wants us to make up our own minds to believe and follow him, not just do what He tells us.

Ask:  Jesus spoke about what his cousin John looked like.  Why do you think he did that?  <to show the people that they had to think for themselves, that things did not always look like what they expected>  The Jews had been waiting many years for their Messiah, their king to come and rescue them from the people who treated them badly.  Do you think that Jesus looked like what they were expecting?  <No, they, like us, had to decide for themselves that Jesus was finally here> 

Hand out the poster cut-outs for the children to put their names on.  Collect them when they are completed and glue them to the poster.

Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is a balloon).  Have the older children write one thing that they can do this week to help the world be the joyful place God wants it to be.
 
Explain: Color this symbol of the balloon and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned that Jesus did come to us!                          

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 oval for the small symbol on the communal poster

Use this balloon graphic for the banner symbol and the Offertory gift.  *For the banner symbol, you can attach a curling ribbon!




Parent Letter

Third Sunday Advent A


Dear Parents,

           Today is the Third Sunday in Advent.  The children listened to the same readings you did: Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-6ab, 10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11.

Symbol: Balloon

To reinforce at home:
There is joy in our celebration today, symbolized beautifully in the pink candle used in the Advent wreath. Isaiah uses beautiful imagery to describe the time when the Messiah would arrive, blooming deserts and people who were healed.  In the Gospel reading, Jesus himself sends a message about his ministry to John in prison. He cautions the people (and us) not to place too much emphasis on outward appearances, to use our own minds and hearts to determine that He is the long-awaited Messiah.   

Activities to do at home:

*Have a family celebration!  Eat dinner together and have a special dessert to mark the third week of Advent.  

*In Isaiah, we hear that “happiness is a crown that they (the people the Lord has rescued) will always wear”.  Talk to your child about the joy that you feel because you are one of God’s people. Think of something you can do together to show that happiness.



Thank you for sharing your children




Sunday, December 1, 2019

Dec 8, 2019 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