I taught CCD tonight, and…It. Was. AWESOME!!!
The lesson tonight was about Advent– the season of Joyful Preparation. We discussed how the color purple shows up at both Lent AND Advent, in the vestments and candles, to symbolize repentence.
We talked about how the repentence is the “Preparation” part, and how the HOPE we experience through the coming of Christ, is the “Joyful” part. We discussed why the third candle in an Advent wreath is pink– because the “Preparation” part is almost over, and Jesus is coming!
We discussed the wreath symbolizing God’s eternity– that He has no beginning and no end, like a circle. We discussed that the wreaths are made of evergreen leaves because evergreen leaves are unchanging– they dont shed as other trees do.
Then we dissected the song “O Come Emmanuel”. They didnt know that Emmanuel meant “from God”. They hadn’t realized that the song was about longing for God to come and save His people, Israel–
“O come, O come Emmanuel!
And ransom captive Israel,
Who mourn in lonely exile here,
Until the son of God appear!”
They really got it– that the song is about longing for God to come and free His people from the slavery of their sins!
It was like…I was watching myself teach this lesson. The words coming out of my mouth flowed so smoothly they can’t POSSIBLY have been my own! I really feel like I got a little boost from God this week– it was a bit surreal.
So next I asked them to make a big list of their favorite parts about Christmas. They I dimmed the lights, gave them each a notebook, and played instrumental Christmas carols– their assignment was to begin a prayer journal– a book of writing between them and God. They could wrong song lyrics, copy prayers, compose their own prayers, write letters to Jesus like a pen pal, or anything else they wanted. If they were having a hard time starting out, they could use their list about Christmas for a jumping off point. They had fifteen minutes and…
all I heard from the batch of usually wild monkeys was the scritch scratching of pencils on paper! They were disappointed when the time was up and we had to turn the lights back up. Some of them wrote PAGES! The challenge for them is to write in their prayer journal every day from now until Epiphany. We spent a good amount of time discussing how habits are formed, and how the journals can really help them deepen their relationship with God.
honestly, I kid you not, they were so excited!
The last fifteen minutes we spent discussing the Saint Of The Week– my personal favorite, Thomas More. That sort of degenerated into a conversation about beheading, and why Henry the Eighth had so many wives….but hey, you cant have everything! :)