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.
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.
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.
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 black-line coloring sheet (Offertory gift) and the banner symbol. For the banner symbol, use different colors and decorate to look like a house!|
First Sunday in Advent A
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
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!