Year C: December 2, 2012
First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16
Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams
(Written for ages 8-12)
Comment: Jennifer Ryan Ayres speaks of the despair that was surely felt by the exiled people. “Humans meet despair when they cannot imagine God’s promised alternative future… It is [at the edge of despair] that God speaks the promise, and it is in precisely this context that despair opens the door to…hope.” (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 1, p 4) In the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, we discover another context of despair. Their story is filled with grief, and yet an undercurrent of hope lives within them. In the midst of great despair, these boys live and work for the hope of an alternative future.We see this hope affirmed in the afterword of their story: “The Lost Boys hold on tightly to their faith and their belief that through education and determination they will one day help bring peace and renewal to their war-torn homeland.” The days are surely coming, says the Lord…
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Does it ever seem to you that love does not abound in the month of December? Traffic is heavy, tension is high, greed is encouraged, people are in a hurry, and every year fights break out in stores over sales and limited items. That’s not the Christmas I wait for expectantly. Advent is an invitation to remove ourselves from the chaos of the cultural interpretation of Christmas, and prepare our hearts for the coming of Immanuel. It is a time of hopeful expectation, that even as we wait, we glimpse and experience the joy of God with us when we increase and abound in love for one another and for all. Though the movie has probably been aired every day since Thanksgiving, don’t let that deter you from sharing the great image of increasing and abounding in love found in the classic book How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch is a character changed by love, both in the size of his heart and in the purpose of his living. Even as we wait, may we be changed as well.
Who Would Like a Christmas Tree? A Tree for all Seasons by Ellen Bryan Obed
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Whether we are little ones waiting for Christmas day, or those waiting to see God’s righteousness at work in the world,waiting is hard. Lost in the monotony, we may lose sight of what it is we are waiting for.Through this eschatological Advent reading, we are called to pay attention as we wait:“Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.” Jesus compares the signs of his coming kingdom to the signs of the changing season. How do we notice and take in the signs around us? Ellen Bryan Obed invites us to notice the changes that occur on a Christmas tree farm throughout the year. If readers pay attention to the life happening in and around the trees, we are likely to recognize the month and season. This Advent let us pay attention as we wait, and seek to recognize the signs of God at work in the world around us.
Links this week were written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.