Year A: December 12
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-10
The Return of the Buffaloes by Paul Goble (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: “For waters shall break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert…” This text is a promise of renewal and restoration in the midst of desolation and despair. People of all times have experienced the effects of depression, war, famine, or grief. At Advent we wait for the birth of Jesus and the return of joy to the world. There is hope in the promise of Immanuel’s return. Hope for restoration of our homes, our bodies, our relationships. In Goble’s book, a mysterious woman promises a return of the buffaloes to a people who are starving and barely strong enough to survive. When the buffaloes return, it is both frightening and wonderful. People laugh, give thanks, and once again there is enough for everyone.
Second Reading: James 5:7-10
Comment: In James we are told to be patient as we wait for Christ’s coming. This patience is compared to that of a farmer who waits for the crop. Christmas Farm gives an excellent snapshot of patience to children and adults alike. Wilma and Parker care for Balsam trees for five years before they are ready to be sold as Christmas trees.It seems like the trees will never be ready, but in the end, they are and with much joy and accomplishment. After most of the trees have been harvested, Wilma and Parker sit down to plan another five year venture growing Christmas trees!
Third Reading: Matthew 11:2-11
Messenger, Messenger by Robert Burleigh (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: Jesus refers to John as the messenger sent to prepare the way for his coming. In a world of emails and text messages, the concept of a messenger becomes trickier to grasp. Electronically, braving the wilderness or even a couple of blocks seems easy. Of course in the past messages weren’t so easily shared. Even today postal workers and other messengers work hard to deliver goods and information—not everything can be done with the click of a mouse! John did not have an easy life, wearing soft robes, but went wherever the message needed to be shared. Messenger, Messenger shares a day in the life of a bicycle messenger. Calvin’s job takes him to scary parts of the city, “but messenger man’s gotta answer each call.” Like John, Calvin goes wherever his messages need to be shared.