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Sunday School @ Home-Third Sunday of Advent, December 12, 2021

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Bible Passage
Third Sunday in Advent (Zephaniah 3:14-20)
Today is the third Sunday in Advent. It is a time when we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus. We prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus born as a baby in Bethlehem. We prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus among us here and now. We prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus in glory at the end of time. There are four Sundays in Advent and that means that after today there is just one Sunday left before Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, born as a baby in Bethlehem. Advent is a time of waiting, but it isn’t a boring, sitting around kind of waiting. We are waiting in an active way. We are looking and preparing for Jesus to come.

Today we hear from the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah. Prophets are messengers from God. Prophets speak on behalf of God. When they speak, they are speaking God’s words. Zephaniah had an important message for God’s people.

Watch the video to find out what he said:

The people of God had turned their backs on God. They weren’t following God they way they should anymore. They were doing things that they knew God didn’t want them to do.

Zephaniah told God’s people that the day of the Lord was coming. Zephaniah told them that God would be reunited with the people and that it would be a day of rejoicing for the people and for God. God would forgive them.

Even when they had turned their backs on God, God was with them. God was always with them and always ready to give them a second chance. In fact, God was ready to give them a third chance, or a fourth chance, or however many chances they needed to be with God, because God was always with them.

That’s important for us to remember. When we face tough times, God is with us. When we do things that we should, God is ready to forgive us and give us another chance. God sees us through difficult and challenging times. We can rejoice because God is always giving us another chance.

Advent is a joyful celebration because Jesus is coming soon!

Discuss

How do you express concern for a friend when they feel bad?
When was a time someone gave you a second chance?
When was a time you have someone else a second chance?

Song

Emmanuel. GraceChildMusic. (We are using this song throughout Advent)

The words to the song are:

Hey-oh, hey-oh – have you heard the news? The Savior, the Savior is coming just for you! Don’t know when He’ll arrive, or what He will look like But He’s coming very, very, very soon Emmanuel! Emmanuel! He will come in peace to wash us clean I just can’t wait to meet Emmanuel

Hey-oh, hey-oh – bet you’ll never guess The Savior, the Savior will come in righteousness He will take our sin upon Himself and then He will offer us eternal life with Him Emmanuel! Emmanuel! He will come in peace to wash us clean I just can’t wait to meet Emmanuel

The Lord will live among us; Our Shepherd and our King So let’s make our hearts ready; To love and follow Him! Emmanuel! Emmanuel! He will come in peace to wash us clean I just can’t wait to meet Emmanuel! Emmanuel! He will come in peace to wash us clean I just can’t wait to meet Emmanuel

Activity

If your family uses an Advent wreath, light the first and second candles as well as the third (3 blue candles or 2 purple and a pink) today and use this litany as you do so:

One: When the world seems scary or uncertain,

Others: Our joy comes from the Lord.

One: When things aren’t as they should be,

Others: Our joy comes from the Lord.

One: When we feel sad,

Others: Our joy comes from the Lord.

One: When something makes us happy,

Others: Our joy comes from the Lord.

One: You, Lord, are our source of joy.

Others: Our joy comes from the Lord.

One: Today, we light the candle of joy.

Others: Our joy comes from the Lord.

Pray: Thank you, God, that you are with us. Thank you for your faithfulness. May the candle of joy be a reminder today and throughout Advent that our joy is in you. Amen.

If you don’t have an Advent wreath, download this page and color the first two candles (those labeled hope and peace) either blue or purple. If you used blue, color the candle labeled joy blue. If you used purple, color the candle labeled joy pink:

Advent Wreath

Activity

Today we are going to choose a craft to make using an item that we will give a second chance. Watch the video and select a craft to try. Many of these use an item that that is ready to be thrown away and we will give it a second chance to be used again, such as the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper.

Closing Prayer

God of second chances, we thank you that you are always with and see us through difficult times. We thank you that you forgive when we do those things that you wish we wouldn’t do. Help us to live with peace, love, and joy. Help us prepare for the coming of Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Dan Fugate, Assistant to the Bishop for Discipleship in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA, put this lesson together for Sunday School @ Home. There will be a new one for each Sunday as we continue through this COVID wilderness. Contact him at dfugate@iksynod.org.

The candlelighting litany adapted from Let Earth Receive Her King by The Foundry Publishing. Used with permission.