Thursday, 3 December 2009

Advent, John the Baptist, Forgiveness, Getting ready for Christmas KS 1 & 2

  • This morning, when your mum or dad or whoever brings you to school said to you – it’s time to go to school – were you ready to go?
  • Did any of your mums or dads have to say “come on, hurry up… we’ll be late!”?
  • What did you have to do to get ready to come to school? (waking up, dressing, eating breakfast, finding book bag, lunch etc.)

Going to school isn’t just a matter of going out of the house – otherwise you’d all be here in your pyjamas. There are things you have to do to get ready to come to school, things you have to do to get ready for all sorts of things.

  • What might you need to do to get ready to play football/ go swimming/ do some cooking/ put on a school play?

There’s someone in the Bible who told people to get ready – not for school or cooking or football, though.
His name was John and he lived at the time of Jesus. He lived at a time when the people in his land were very unhappy. Roman soldiers were occupying the land and telling them what to do. They wanted to be free. Even if they could get the Romans out, though, life would be very hard for some of them. If you were rich it was all right, but if you were poor then no one seemed to care about you, no one wanted to listen to you. People longed for God to help them, for something to happen that would make their lives better, for the world to change, but they didn’t know how that could happen..

John was a prophet – someone who listened to God and told people what God wanted to say to them. One day, John started to say to them, “God is sending someone to you to help you – it’s a new start for you if you want it, but you’ve got to get ready for him.”
“How can we get ready?” they asked.
“You want him to make the world a fairer place –you need to learn to live fairly yourselves, so you can help him, because it takes practice to do the right things. If you’ve got more than you need and someone else has less, you need to share. If you have been a bully, you need to learn to treat people with respect instead. God’s giving us a new start, but we’ve got to be ready for it.”

Some of the people he talked to thought that sounded much too difficult. They were used to their lives the way they were. They wanted things to be different, but they didn’t really want to change.
Others though, decided that they did want to be ready. So to show that, John took them out to the River Jordan and dipped them under the water – he baptised them – as a sign that their old lives and their old ways of doing things were washed away. And when Jesus came along, telling people about God’s love for them and how they should love one another, they were ready to follow him.

During Advent we are looking forward to Christmas time – counting down. Show Advent calendars, candles, Jesse tree). We are excited about Christmas presents and Christmas trees and decorations, so we are getting ready for all that.
But Christians are also thinking about being ready to do the things Jesus tells us to, trying to make the world fair, loving other people.
Advent for Christians is a special thinking time. In church the stole I wear is the thinking colour – purple – and that’s the colour we have on the altar. You’ll see it when you come for your school service in church. In Advent, as we count down towards Christmas, we pray for and we think about the ways we need to change, to become better people. We think about things we have done that we are sorry about and ask for God’s help so we will be ready to follow Jesus and do the kind of things he did.

Pray – think quietly about something we’ve done that we are sorry about. Think about people in the world who are unhappy. Ask God to help us to be ready to do things to make the world fair.