Children’s Worship: 2 Advent (C)

Wait and get ready: Make things right for all people

December 9, 2012

Revised Common Lectionary readings:
Malachi 3:1-4; Canticle 4 or 16; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6

“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me.” (Malachi 3:1)

Introduction

In Advent, we are asked to wait. Instead of jumping immediately into Christmas, we spend four weeks pacing along its shore. Longing. Preparing. Waiting. Our tradition says it’s important. Because some truths are so big that we must get ready to receive them.

Of course, waiting is not easy. Far from it. But scripture assures us that waiting is a holy feeling. And scripture gives us some tools for its work. One week at a time. One step at a time.

Your job through this season is to take these shore-line steps with your congregation. To let them experience the holy feeling of waiting. And to let your children lead you all to that really big Christmas truth.

These resources are not simply words designed to be spoken to children. So that they get it. They are also words designed to be spoken to us by children. So that we get it.

Advent is active. It carves off mountains and fills up valleys. It straightens things out. And makes them smooth. In the Kingdom of God kind of way. Where justice matters. And mercy provides the means. And not with a dreamy someday wistfulness. But right now. Right here. Right up to our ankles in dirt. Together. Ready?

This week you will help the children recall the feeling of getting ready for a wonderful party. With something good for everyone. Especially those who don’t usually get good things. Or get invited to parties. During Advent, our waiting isn’t just sitting still. Or dreading an overwhelming task. It’s preparing for the wonderful Kingdom of God! Partnered with God! We are getting ready for news that is good for every last one!

Children’s Worship Service

[The leader welcomes the children, focusing on them individually, making them feel as comfortable as possible.]

LEADER: [to congregation] Will you let your children lead you in worship?

[Pause for response.]

LEADER: [to children] Will you help our congregation, the “big kids,” remember the important stuff about Advent?

This is the second week of the special season called Advent. Advent helps us get ready for Christmas. And it’s full of waiting.

Let’s see if the big kids remember how waiting feels:

[Invite the congregation to remember their response from last week: “Waiting is hard!”]

Yes, waiting is hard. But I want to try to different kinds of waiting with you. To help us think about the Advent kind of waiting.

First, use your imaginations. Pretend with me. Show me what waiting feels like if you’re waiting to clean your room [pause] because you’d rather be playing outside.

[Add the following sentences, or something similar, one at a time. Slowly. Allowing them to react to each. Showing fully their dread.]

And it’s really messy. [pause] With an entire box of crayons spilled across the floor. [pause] And a bowl of ice cream that tipped over. [pause] Just before you walked through it. [pause] Onto your dirty underwear. Ugh!

Can you show me that kind of waiting?

Ugh. That kind of waiting does look hard.

But now, show me a different kind of waiting. Show me what waiting feels like if you’re about to have a big party. For all kinds of people. The biggest party ever. And you’re helping. You’re getting things ready before everyone arrives. Oh, let’s do it now! I can’t wait! Hooray!

Isn’t it exciting thinking about what will happen? Isn’t it fun to make things good for all the guests?

Yes! Because that’s what Advent waiting feels like, too. We don’t just wait and mope. We wait and get ready. We make things right for all people. We prepare the way of the Lord who invites everyone! And it should feel like preparing for the biggest party of all!

In Advent, something wonderful is coming. And we must get ready. Will you remind the big kids how to do this?

[Have the children face the congregation. Hold a microphone out to the children or encourage them to speak loudly so their voices carry. Say each line quietly to them, and ask them to repeat it aloud to the congregation.]

CHILDREN: [to congregation]

Waiting IS hard!
But we need to get ready!
God’s promise is coming.
Make things right for all people!
Not later.
Now, please.

— Teresa Stewart has worked with children and youth ministries in a wide variety of contexts for almost 30 years. Her passions include small congregations, deepening children’s participation in worship and training laity to continue this essential work. She lives in Kansas City, Kan., where she writes formation and worship resources for Paper Bag Cathedrals.

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