• 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.


                 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

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