Each year, it seems that particular themes are honed in on by the children - even across two geographical locations and educational lifestyles. I wonder how much is affected by our readings in the Liturgy perhaps - and in the world at-large.
This year our focus has been on emphasizing the First Coming of Christ and the Second Coming of Christ.
Some points the children hone in on:
- Periods of light and darkness in the history of Israel
- Moments of light in the deepest darkness - bring us HOPE
- Ancient Church's historical practice of fasting and penance during ALL of Advent and Lent.
Interesting tidbits learned:
- Which season has Gaudete Sunday - which has Laudete Sunday (or Laetare - we're doing some research on that one --- either way the 4th Sunday of Lent starts with an L to match Lent - and that's how we remember which one goes with which season ;) )
- Why THAT Sunday of each season? 1 Sunday past the half-way mark - to give us hope that the penitential time is coming to an end soon. Don't give up now!
- Who knew Ms Jessica could connect prophecy studies to the sacraments. Wait - does that mean our faith is INTER-connected? Just like the VINE? Oh. Oops. Guess we need to keep paying attention (yeah, some stories there - the children are so intuitive this way)
- We can't really prepare for a Baby to be born in the PAST - but we do prepare our individual hearts and lives to receive the gifts He gave us with His first coming: His Life (Eucharist) and His Light (received at Baptism, spreading throughout the world)
- The prophecies prepared the Hebrews for the First Coming - but also prepared the world for His Second Coming. Not all prophecy has been fulfilled.
- Some of the Jews at the time of Christ thought that all Messianic prophecies would be fulfilled at one time. But now we look and see that with TWO comings, He will come once as a Child - and once a Glorious King.
- As we prepare ourselves to receive more and more fully the Gifts of the first coming - we are also preparing ourselves to spread the light of Christ - and therefore be ready for the Parousia, at whatever moment it begins.
- As we prepare, we know there are still going to be times of darkness and difficulty - but God always wants us to come back to Him.
Thus not only are we seeing songs of preparation and of Advent (Light One Candle, Light the Advent Candle (I can't recall the name of that tune precisely at the moment), Come Lord Jesus, O Come Emanuel, etc.) --- we are also seeing songs of Reconciliation, tying in perfectly with the children in one of my sacramental preparation groups who are receiving this sacrament for the first time in the month of December.
Create in me a clean heart -
Help me start over again.
Please Lord don't leave me,
I need your Spirit,
I cannot make it alone.
Restore to me the Joy of Salvation -
Oh my God.
~Based on Psalm 51 (also our source for the Lavabo prayer!)~
I have one young man, 3rd grade, who insists on always mentioning "judgment" before mentioning "Parousia". Perhaps it is time to pull out the level 3 work on "Holy Bible and Parousia" for him. Seriously. This child canNOT get off the judgment portion of Parousia - and there is SO MUCH MORE to it.