Suggested Emphasis: We should have soft and repentant hearts so that we can learn about God
Curated children’s ministry resources and sermons (object lessons) for Sunday Readings from SermonWriter, Ministry-to-Children, Religion Teacher and other sources.
Objects suggested: Mop, pail, sponges, and other cleaning supplies
Christmas is coming. What an exciting time of year. It is often a time when company comes. Maybe it is grandparents who will come for Christmas, or perhaps a favorite aunt or uncle. I love it when company comes, don’t you? I love it, but it also means that there is a lot of work to do. We wouldn’t want company to come and find our house in a mess, would we? No way!, We have to mop the floors, vacuum the carpet, dust the furniture, clean the bathrooms, make sure the beds are all made, and there are no dirty clothes laying around.
In our Bible lesson today, we read about a man named John who went into the country around the Jordan River preaching and telling people to prepare for the coming of the Lord. When John told people to prepare for the coming of the Lord, he didn’t mean that they should go home and sweep the floor, pick up their toys, and make their beds. He meant that they should prepare their hearts. How? By repenting of their sins and turning toward God. When they did this, John would baptize them in the Jordan River. That is how he got the name, “John the Baptist.”
Objects suggested: A road map; Pictures of highways and tunnels
Sometimes, as we travel, we are stopped by road construction. Workers may be repairing the road or building a new road. It may feel inconvenient at the time and we may become impatient having to wait until we can go on, but providing safe roads is important work.
People who design roads want us to be able to get from one place to another as easily as possible. In the mountains roads must be designed so they are not too steep. Curves are removed to make the road as straight as possible and sometimes tunnels must be blasted through rocks to allow us to get from one side of the mountain to the other. Have you ever gone through a tunnel? It is a much easier way to get to where you are going than driving around the mountain. All of these things prepare the way for us to get to our destination.
Long ago there was a man named John who came to tell the people about Jesus. John was preparing the people’s hearts to recognize Jesus and know that he was coming to offer them love and forgiveness. It was as if he was building a road that would make it easier for people to get to Jesus.
Objects suggested: A picture book featuring earth movers or photos of earth movers
Do you find it exciting to watch large construction machines at work? A few of the familiar ones you might see are bulldozers, road graders, backhoes, cranes, tractors, and forklifts. (Show pictures.) Many of these large pieces of equipment are used to move earth. You will see that some have big buckets attached so rocks and dirt can be moved from one place to another. Others lift heavy objects, drill through concrete, and dig ditches.
Perhaps you have been on a road trip with your parents and were stopped by a construction worker holding a sign. If you looked around you probably saw some of these large machines building a new road or repairing an old one. What did you notice?
In the city you may have seen these machines preparing an area where a new building would be built. Did you see a tall crane lifting a large beam or a backhoe digging a ditch?
The preparation that goes on before new roads or buildings are built is exciting stuff. This is also an exciting time of year. We prepare to celebrate Christmas, the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
Objects suggested: A trumpet, a shofar, or a recording of a fanfare and the advent wreath.
(If possible, begin by having someone play a fanfare on the trumpet or a blast on the shofar. If that is not possible, just show the children a trumpet or shofar or play a fanfare on a recording and adapt the sermon to fit your situation.)
Wow! That was exciting, wasn’t it? That exciting piece played on the trumpet is called a fanfare. A fanfare is a loud, short piece of music that is usually played on a trumpet to announce the arrival of someone important. For example, a trumpet fanfare is often played to announce the arrival of a king, queen or president.
SOURCE: SERMONS 4 Kids – All Rights Reserved
Feel free to copy and paste it into your parish publications.
The readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C tell us to hopefully look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ. God has planned this since the beginning of time. In the first reading we hear that God will gather his family back together. In the second reading Paul reassures us that God will complete the great work he has begun. And in the gospel, we hear about John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus.
Choose one of the following activities as a way to further reflect on the Sunday readings:
PURSUE GOD KIDS (2:22) – Jesus had a cousin who was pretty famous. But that cousin was all about making Jesus famous.
Make a paper Advent wreath. Construction paper works best. Cut our four yellow flames, three purple and one pink rectangle (1”x 5 ½”), using half sheet of green (8 1/2”x11”) cut corners to make it and oval or cut strips of green paper to glue in front of candles, and one white sheet of (8 1/2”x11”) for background.
CATHOLIC SPROUTS (6:21)
Opening Question: Do you like to wear clothes with brand names or sayings on them? What is the brand name or saying? Why do you like it?
In the story for the first reading, Johnny always wore his “Power Connection” hat to remind others the source of his power: God.
Bridging Question: If you could change one thing in your lives to make it better, what would it be?
In the story for the gospel, Malorie woke in the middle of the night, troubled by anger. After twenty minutes of writing, she saw the hurt she felt through the eyes of others. That insight and what she did afterwards brought her joy. She changed in the way that would please John the Baptist.
Closing Question: Why is this a perfect time to share with others? What can we share with others? How can we share those things with others?
Every Advent, the Church introduces John the Baptist, the prophet figure who proclaimed the coming Kingdom. He told people to change their hearts and lives, so God could enter.
Spiritual preparation for the season requires self-reflection and personal change. This is a good time for a church visit. It can be some quiet time for the family or an Advent Penance Service. Just bringing the family to church on a day different than Sunday will make an impression. And the change family members experience will be subtle, but will be add up.
FOR ALL GRADES (21:44) = This week we are going to create a triptych, an altar piece to accompany our Advent Wreath. So get your pipe cleaners, glue, paints and glitter to get creative. Happy Advent season!
OCP MUSIC (2:13) – Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises Prepare the Way · Christopher Walker Rise up and Sing 3rd Edition, Vol. 3 ℗ 2009 OCP. All rights reserved. All selections BMI. Released on: 2009-11-05 Music Publisher: OCP
RECOMMENDED: Resources for Catholic Educators
THE RELIGION TEACHER (3:38) – Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” St. John the Baptist has a special significance in the New Testament, in the early Church, and especially during the season of Advent. What is important about John the Baptist? Why he is such a focal point during the season of Advent What lessons can we learn from him and meditate upon in the second and third weeks of Advent?
John preaches repentance and baptizes in the region of the Jordan.
Making the Connection (Grades 1,2, and 3):
As younger children become less self-focused, they learn to make good choices that are considerate of others. During the season of Advent, we hear the message of John the Baptist calling us to make good choices to prepare the way of the Lord.
Materials Needed: none
Suggested Emphasis: We should have soft and repentant hearts so that we can learn about God
Dramatizing with an adult dressed in hessian and carrying a stick might be an effective way to make John’s message more real to the children.
In Hope Springs, a great drought has settled around the orphanage where the main character, Boniface, lives. The people wait desperately in long lines to draw water from a tiny spring. Boniface and other orphans are waiting in line when they are suddenly pushed to the back of the line. Boniface is confused by this, because he has learned the importance of sharing. When he discusses this with his house parent, Henry, he is told how unkindness and selfishness come out of fear. Later, after a well has been built at the orphanage, Boniface has an idea that will help all the villagers who are in need of water. This story is full of hope that comes when a young boy realizes that when fear is countered with kindness, wonderful things can happen.
The nation of Israel has been held captive by the Babylonians and have begun to question their identity as a nation. They wonder whether God has abandoned them because they have taken being God’s chosen people for granted. The prophet Baruch addresses this feeling of hopelessness and abandonment and attempts to bring comfort by using the image of the cloak that can be wrapped around people to bring warmth. The people who are described as wrapped in garment of gloom are told by the prophet that they need to remove this garment and allow it to be replaced with a new garment of hope. Baruch assures the people of Israel that they have not been forgotten by God.
It is important to know that Saint Paul writes this letter that is full of hope while he is imprisoned. Even while he awaits his fate of release or execution, he remains hopeful, because his hope is rooted in his relationship with Jesus. As he writes, he does not focus on his own situation but acts as a minister of hope to the people. He demonstrates to the people of Philippi that hope is always something that can be held onto, especially in times of trials. This letter echoes the hope that prophet Baruch speaks to the people of Israel in the first reading.
Saint Luke begins by listing the people of power in his day, and by doing so, he makes a statement that these powers—royal, religious, and political—are not the source of hope for the people. The person who announces the advent of the Messiah, the hope of Israel, is a prophet living alone in the desert. Saint John the Baptist is clearly not one of the power holders, yet he is the one who announces and bears hope of the new world order. This new kingdom will be filled with hope, mercy, and love.
This project is directly connected to the first reading from the prophet Baruch, as he presents the image of a people being clothed in hope.
Step One: Do some research in your community and see if there is a project called One Warm Coat. If so, invite a representative from the program to come talk to the students. If this program does not exist where you live, find out if there is a shelter that is in need of warm clothing for the winter months.
Step Two: Invite the students to talk to their family, friends, and neighbors to see if they have any gently used coats, scarves, socks, mittens, gloves, sweatshirts, or other warm clothing to donate to this project.
Step Three: Ask the students if they can describe what it feels like to be cold. Let them know that by collecting and donating warm clothes, they are providing hope for people who might be suffering. What Could You Do Today?
As a family project, it might be fun to ask your family members to look in their closets and find things that they haven’t worn for a long time. If these items are in good shape, they could be donated in order to provide someone else with nice clothes to wear. Many years ago, a saint named Origen said the cloak that is hanging in your closet unused could be keeping someone else warm. By donating your unused clothes, you are giving someone in need the chance to have warmth and comfort and offering them a piece of hope that others care for their well-being.