Children's Homily for December 19, 2021: What's in the Box?

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Who knows what happens this week? (Give them a chance to answer). Christmas? Did someone say Christmas? Are you excited about that? (Give them a chance to answer). I think a lot of people are excited about Christmas – but tell me – why are you excited about Christmas? (Give them a chance to answer). Now, I know a lot of you are very excited about getting some presents for Christmas, right? Here at church, we get excited about Christmas because it is the day we celebrate the first and best Christmas present - Jesus coming into the world to live with us. Who knows that story? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. We tell a story about Jesus being born at Christmas. Now, when I see you again on Friday, we are going to tell that story together, but today we heard the first part of that story – the part where Jesus’s mother finds out that he’s coming.

Who was Jesus’s mother? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right – Mary was Jesus’s mother. Now Mary was very surprised when God told her she was going to be a mother. She was not ready at all! Talk about Christmas presents! Mary got a Christmas present that she didn’t ask for and wasn’t sure what to do with. Did that ever happen to you? (Give them a chance to answer). And what did you do when that happened? (Give them a chance to answer). Yes. Sometimes we are not very polite when we are surprised. Sometimes we can be very cranky when we don’t get the presents we ask for and get something else instead – I know I can. But Mary was not cranky. Even though she was a little scared and a lot surprised, once she found out that God wanted her to be Jesus’s mother, she decided that it was Good News - so what do you think she did? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. She said, “Thank you.”

Then she did something else that we should always do with good things. Do you know? (Give them a chance to answer). She shared her good news. You see, Mary had a cousin. Her name was Elizabeth, and she had her own story about receiving a surprise present from God. You see, some people wait a very, very long time to see if God will give us the gift of children. Has it ever happened to you that when you are waiting for something special that it seems like it takes twice as long to happen? (Give them a chance to answer). And if you are waiting to see if you might get a present you really, really want it seems like it will never be time to find out? (Give them a chance to answer). That happens to grown-ups too - and Elizabeth had waited a very long time to see if she might end up being somebody’s mom. She had just about given up! So, when she found out she was also going to have a baby, she was just as surprised as Mary – but for a different reason!

So you see, God is full of surprises! We need to remember that when we open a present it might not be what we expect. For example, sometimes people who want to don’t end up being “parents,” - but they end up being just as loving and just as loved by taking care of many, many children in other ways. Like, who takes care of you in addition to your parents? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. Your teachers, your babysitters. Ms. Marj (ETCETERA…) – and I bet that getting to be part of your lives was a surprise present for them and is a wonderful surprise present for you.

The thing that Mary and Elizabeth found out is that God does not always give us the gift we each think we want but God always gives us the gift that we all need as a community – and every gift that God gives us is made with love. Does that make sense to you? (Give them a chance to answer). Good. So, on Christmas I want you to remember that no matter what other presents you get, you have already gotten the most important gift already. What is that gift? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. It’s the gift of God’s love -and remember that it’s your job to share it - just like Mary and Elizabeth did. Will you do that? (Give them a chance to answer). Do you agree? (Give them a chance to answer). And what do we say in church when we agree? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right: AMEN!



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