Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Son of David is Coming!

Advent 1C
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Props: A small bag containing pieces of yellow or tan yarn, cut in 2" segments--about 30 for each child
Peanut wrapped in gauze, as shown in photo

Good morning, everybody!  When you walked into the sanctuary this morning, you probably noticed a few changes.  This pretty wreath with purple and pink candles around the outside and a big white candle in the center has been set up.  Green garlands have been strung around the room, and there is a candle in each window that wasn't there last week.  (Of course, you point out the Advent preparations that have been made in your own sanctuary, or ask the children to find and point them out.)  We even have a special worship bulletin this morning.  (Briefly describe the bulletin, if you use Advent bulletins, and what the picture represents.)

Today is the First Sunday in Advent--a very special day in the life of the Church.  Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas.  The season is a time when we prepare our church, our homes, and our hearts to receive the Christ Child on his birthday, which is Christmas.  So we put up decorations to welcome Jesus.  We sing songs that speak of his coming into the world--songs like O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and Watchman, Tell Us of the Night, and O Little Town of Bethlehem.  (Mention songs familiar to your children.)  We cook special foods and sometimes buy or make gifts, all to prepare for the celebration that is Christmas.

One of the best ways to prepare ourselves and our world to receive Jesus is to be kind to others.  Kindness and generosity make the world a more friendly place; a warmer, more welcoming place for the baby Jesus.  I have something for each of you, to help you prepare for Jesus' arrival.  When you go home, I want you to find a small bowl, or a little box to use as a manger, or a bed for the baby Jesus.  Each time you do something kind for someone else, I want you to put one of these little pieces of yarn in the bed.  If you take cookies to your neighbor, or if you help your grandmother find her glasses, or if you put away the groceries with your dad, or if you let your brother go first in a game, or if you tell your teacher that you enjoyed the art lesson, or if you donate toys or coats or money to a charity organization, or if you go Christmas caroling--you get the idea.  Every time you do a kind or generous or loving act, put one piece of yarn, or straw, in the manger bed.  Then on Christmas morning, you will have a nice, soft bed for your baby Jesus.  (Hand out the yarn and the Jesus to each child.)

Prayer is another good way to prepare for Christmas.  Let's pray together now.

Loving and Generous God, You sent us your only Son, to show us how very much you love us and want us to be your children.  Help us during this season of Advent to prepare for Jesus' arrival at Christmas.  Help us to be kind, generous and loving in the coming weeks and all year long.  In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

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