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: A beautifully wrapped Christmas gift.
Christmas is only a few days away. How much thought have we given to what we can do for others during the Christmas season? We have been given so much… shouldn’t we share what we have with others who may not have as much? What are some ways that we can do that? There are many wonderful organizations which help people who have special needs. (The Salvation Army, Angel Tree, and Operation Christmas Child, for example.) We can give to help them help others. We can give to mission offerings in our own church which help those in need. (There may be food or clothing drives going on in your own church or community that you might mention here to make the message more relevant to your own situation.)
Sharing with others — that’s the spirit — the spirit of Christmas. Let’s all show the true spirit of Christmas this year!
Objects suggested: Cones, especially fir, spruce or hemlock cones, if available.
Squirrels are active, energetic animals and they really know how to prepare for winter. They like to eat the seeds that are held inside cones. Squirrels climb up tall evergreen trees and bite the stems of cones so they fall to the ground. Then they gather the cones and hid them in a cache. A cache is like a squirrel’s treasure chest. Cones protect the seeds that are held inside so the seeds will last until the squirrels need food later.
Evergreen trees provide squirrels with food for winter, but the squirrels also help the trees. When cones are carried to different locations and then hidden in holes in the ground, some of the seeds inside are released and have a chance to grow. Squirrels also collect tree pollen on their fur and spread it to the seed cones. This encourages a new tree to grow. We can think of squirrels as being like little tree planters.
Objects suggested: A picture of John the Baptist; Google “ San Juan Bautista el Greco” for a picture of John
God sent a man named John to tell the people that a very, very special person—Jesus, God’s own Son, was coming to help those who needed help. John came to the people and started telling them to get ready and to get ready now!
If you have ever seen a picture of John you would see that he was sort of a scary looking person. (We call him John the Baptizer because he baptized so many people). [If you have a picture of John, show it to the children now]. Well, John lived out in the desert, so he probably didn’t take too many baths or get his hair and beard cut. He wore a short leather robe; he ate (weird stuff – did you ever eat something strange? He ate grasshoppers and wild honey!) a kind of grasshopper and wild honey. Did you ever eat a strange kind of food? [Accept all answers]. John really got people’s attention with the way he looked and with his loud, booming voice.
Objects suggested: None
Look at this beautiful Christmas gift — there are already a lot of gifts under the tree at our house. Are there a lot of gifts under your tree? Have you looked to see how many of the gifts have your name on them?
I heard about a little boy who checked the presents under the tree every day. As he checked to see if any new presents had been added, he grouped the presents together according to the names on the gifts. Then, after he had them arranged, he counted the gifts.
Feel free to copy and paste it into your parish publications.
The readings for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Year C (Gaudete Sunday) encourage us to rejoice at the new life being offered to us through Jesus Christ. In the first reading we hear that the Messiah is a mighty savior who will bring joy and love. In the second reading Paul tells us to rejoice for the Lord is near. And in the gospel, John the Baptist tells his followers that a great savior is coming.
Choose one of the following activities as a way to further reflect on the Sunday readings:
Ask the children to talk about how we know God is present in our world. Talk a little bit about how we can help God in establishing peace and changing people’s attitude toward the poor and underserved of the world. Share about how we might respond to John the Baptist’s challenge: What can we do?
Opening Question: Opening Question: Have you ever been at a party when you would have rather been at home? What happened?
In the story for the first reading, Steve dreaded a visit to his cousin Larry’s house. Larry usually ignored his younger cousin. But one night changed all that. Distance was turned into joyful friendship, the same relationship God wants with his people.
Bridging Question: Have you ever really wanted something, only to find it wasn’t really that special? What happened?
In the story for the gospel, Courtney wanted a doll for Christmas in such a bad way, her desire ruined her holiday spirit and that of her family. John asked people to focus on the needs of others, not themselves. Would they be like Courtney, or would they listen to the his words for respect?
Closing Question: Did Courtney treat people with respect? If she did, don’t you think she would have enjoyed Christmas more? How can you enjoy Christmas more with others?
John the Baptist preached fairness, even to those people considered sinners. Luke mentioned two groups that used legal bullying to extort money from the populace: tax collectors and soldiers. Any money a tax collector was paid over his quota was personal gain. Low paid soldiers stole, cheated, and extorted money from the local peoples to supplement their income. In both cases, John did not condemn their work, but forbad activities that abused others.
God calls all of us who sin to change and renew relationships, just as John preached to the sinners in his audience. We may have hurt others, or they may have hurt us. This special season of healing can be the time to rebuild bridges. Consider sending a holiday card and a personal note to those against whom we have built walls. Make card sending a family affair. Pray over the cards as a family. And send them out as a family.
ADVENT 3 FOR ALL GRADES (39:52) = This week is very special for all Marian Devotees. We are making a feast day card to celebrate Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Conception. So get out your craft materials and lets get creative.
RECOMMENDED: Resources for Catholic Educators
DEVOTIONS FOR KIDS (5:02)
THE RELIGION TEACHER (3:51) – 3 Things to Know about the 3rd Sunday of Advent
John the Baptist teaches the path of repentance and announces Christ.
Making the Connection (Grades 1,2, and 3):
Younger children may struggle to be patient when they have to wait. You can support them by teaching them about the joyful and active waiting we do as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
Materials Needed: Advent wreath, with battery-operated candles if possible
Suggested Emphasis: We should have soft and repentant hearts so that we can learn about God
In I Believe in Me, children learn to believe in themselves by developing a type of self-talk that can allow them to seek the joy that resides within them because of the Holy Spirit. Throughout this book, a silhouetted figure is present in each illustration to represent the Holy Spirit that lives within us. As a book of affirmations, this story gives children the opportunity to recognize, cultivate, and speak the truth that is within themselves.
Like other prophets, the prophet Zephaniah delivers a message of both warning and comfort. In today’s passage, Zephaniah tells the people to shout for joy and be glad because the Lord is removing all judgment against them. On this Third Sunday of Advent, joy is evident because the period of waiting and preparations is almost over and the great joy of welcoming and celebrating the Lord’s Incarnation is just days away.
Saint Paul continues to set the tone for this joyful Third Sunday of Advent. At the very beginning of this passage, Saint Paul calls the people to rejoice and repeats this emphasis on the joy that is ours in Jesus. The message from Saint Paul in this letter to the Philippians is this: Whatever our circumstances are, nothing can change the fact that we are loved by God and have reason to rejoice because we have been created in the love of God in Christ. This Third Sunday calls us to be aware of the fact that we are about to celebrate God becoming one of us to illustrate just how much God loves us.
John the Baptist, a stern figure, is about to deliver the message of great joy. Both John the Baptist and Jesus will call the people to be joyful—they are to continue seeking to improve their lives, but should also be joyful and grateful for what they have. Christians are called to live lives of gratitude. Oftentimes, people can get caught up in wants and can forget to be grateful for what they already have. We are certainly called to improve our lives, but by overemphasizing things that are external, we can forget the joy that lives within us.
Step One: Provide each student with a clear acrylic container and art supplies so that they can decorate the container as a representation of themselves. You should create a model so that they can see that the decorations should be done in a way that makes it possible to see inside the container.
Step Two: Give the students strips of paper and have them write different affirmations that they heard in the book I Believe in Me.
Step Three: Invite the students to look at each affirmation individually, and then have them read them out loud before placing them into the container. Store these containers in a place that is accessible for students to return to when they are having a difficult day.
Make a list of the affirmations that you heard in the story I Believe in Me and share them with your family at home. Ask your parents to help you rewrite the affirmations so that they are more personalized and specific to you! With your parent’s permission, ask if there is a way that you can put these affirmations on your bedroom wall or bathroom mirror so that you can be reminded of the wonderful things about yourself.