First Sunday in Advent
Stay awake waiting
Points to note
This is the season of Advent, the season of waiting for the coming of Jesus. All readings for this season would revolve around the same theme.
As the first Sunday of Advent, you would need to explain the significance of Advent before the reading and as such, the discussions will be a little shortened.
Today’s reading is easy for the children to follow – how many of us have seen children dozing off when trying to stay awake for an event they really wanted to be present for? This is rich material for discussion but we will need to link it up with waiting for Jesus.
I once asked some children how long does Advent last and a little girl replied without hesitation “Forever”. There is a lesson there for all of us. Whatever we learn and do in Advent is meant for all of us throughout out lives.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.
Discuss with the children about the new season of the Christian calendar that we are entering. This is available in the end panel of this leaflet & for a more complete explanation, at http://childrenlivingthesundayword.blogspot.com/2013/09/soundbites-about-advent-christmas.html.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
All: Glory to you O Lord
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
This is the Good News of the Lord
Have you ever had to stay up for something? Maybe, it was to greet someone “Happy Birthday” at the stroke of midnight. Maybe, it was to watch the World Cup or Olympics in a different time zone in a faraway country. What did you do to stay awake so that you will not be sleeping at that actual time? Maybe they had hot chocolate to drink, games to play or things to do. Maybe they had to sleep earlier in the day so that they will not be sleepy.
What would have happened if instead to staying awake, you were asleep at that actual time? Talk about the disappointment that they feel, and also the disappointment that others will feel. What about all the effort at staying awake – wouldn’t all that be wasted if we do not stay awake at all despite having tried our best to stay awake? Discuss if any of the children tried to do anything to undo the fact that they failed to stay awake? Did any of those efforts work?
Discuss that the season of Advent teaches us about waiting for Jesus. Discuss how in the same way we stay awake for an event, we also have to be awake spiritually (not necessarily physically) for when Jesus will come. Discuss what we do to be ready – pray, doing all the good things that Jesus wants us to do.
Discuss also how we would feel if we missed Jesus’ coming. Would we be able to turn back the clock if we missed it? No, if we missed it, it is gone and all our efforts will be wasted. So, we have to stay awake until the very end and let’s not end up with a disappointment.