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Worth Waiting For (Isaiah 2)

June 25, 2010

This lesson is designed to be the second of two lessons on Isaiah 65:17-25.  You are getting it first because it came to me first.  As always, however, it can be used on its own or in a different order.

Although these lessons are actually scheduled for the two weeks before Advent, they deal with the Advent theme of waiting for the promised reign/kingdom of God and coming of Jesus.  They are before Advent in recognition of the need to use Advent itself for Christmas (my apologies to any calendar purists out there).

Things to know about this lesson:

  • Making the Advent Calendar as offered here is more involved than most Stories on the Way activities but it is not actually very complicated.  I think it’s worth it as it will hopefully be something the students will enjoy all through Advent.
  • You will need to print out and photocopy templates in advance.


Worth Waiting For

Materials

  • large sheets of drawing paper, cut in half (one half/student)
  • copies of the advent calendar template (two/student)
  • blank sheets of 8.5×11 paper (cardstock would be a nice touch) or copies of colouring sheets
    • one template/student would, ideally, be printed on the back of these sheets of paper
  • envelopes
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • Advent prayer (optional)

Open with prayer. (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Have you ever had to wait for something you were really excited about? (e.g. Christmas, birthday, a vacation, a visitor)

How does it feel when you are waiting for something like that? Is it fun? Exciting? Frustrating? Hard?

If this is your first lesson on Isaiah, you may with to consult the introduction to the oracles of the prophet Isaiah in New Heavens and a New Earth.

We are waiting for the perfectly happy world that Isaiah tells us God has promised. Sometimes it is frustrating and hard to wait. Sometimes it is exciting and fun. Sometimes we forget we are waiting for anything and we think about other things. But this new world is worth waiting for.

Let’s read the message that Isaiah gave us about the perfect world God has planned.

Read the Story

The Lord told Isaiah to tell the people about the future

I am going to to create new heavens and a new earth.
The old things will not be remembered – people will not even think about them any more.


Be glad and rejoice for ever in what I am creating;
I am going to create Jerusalem as a joy and its people will be a pleasure.


I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be happy with my people;
No one will hear the sound of crying; there will be no more cries of distress.


There will be no more babies dying after just a few days of life.
Everyone will live very long lives,

One hundred year olds will be called young.
Anyone who dies before they’re a hundred will be called unlucky.


People will build their own houses and enjoy living in them;
they shall plant their own crops and eat the food they grow.


No one will build a house only to have someone else live in it;

no one will plant crops only for someone else to eat;

My people will live for as long as the trees
they will be happy in their work and enjoy what they make.


Good things will come from their work, and their children will never get sick or hurt or lost.
They will be blessed by God and their children and their children’s children will be blessed by God.


Before they even call me I will answer them,
before they stop speaking, I will have heard them.


The wolf and the lamb shall eat together.

The lion shall eat straw like the ox but the serpent – the serpent will have to eat dust.


No one will hurt or kill anyone or anything on my holy mountain,

says the Lord.

(Isaiah 65:17-25)

Discussion

What are the good things that God promised in this oracle?

When is it going to happen? (we don’t know)

This is not the only place in the Bible where we can hear about God’s promises for a world where there is no sadness or unfairness or sickness or violence. Sometimes, people think that these promises are about the way our world will be in the future. Sometimes, people think that they are about another world that we will be given – kind of like heaven. No one really knows exactly what these promises mean or how they will be fulfilled. We do know that Jesus is part of these promises, though, and that when God creates new heavens and a new earth, Jesus will be there.

We read some of these stories in the church season of Advent. Advent comes before Christmas and is a time for us to think about Jesus coming and bringing this new world with him. It is a time to remember that we are waiting.  Advent begins next Sunday (November, 28, 2010).

What things do we do while we wait in Advent? (wreath, calendar, prayer, Christmas prep)

Introduce the Activity

Today we are going to make special Advent calendars that will help us to count down to Christmas AND remind us that we are not only waiting for Christmas morning but also for the new world that God has promised.

Our calendars are going to be sort of like puzzles. Each day, you will add another piece until you have the whole picture of the peace and happiness we are waiting for.


Make the Advent Calendars

Yo u can either invite students to draw their own pictures of a peaceful, happy world or hand out colouring sheets (such as these from the Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA). When the pictures are drawn/coloured, cut the pictures up, following the template lines on the back.  (If necessary, have the students glue their picture onto the bac k of a puzzle template before cutting them up and then double check to make sure each piece is firmly glued to its backing.) Put the pieces in an envelope.

Glue a second template sheet onto a half-sheet of large drawing paper and attach the envelope below it (so that you can still open it). Tape may work best for this.

Distribute the Advent prayers and ask students to glue them onto their calendars or help students copy the prayer out.

Regrouping

Consider sending kids home with small glue sticks to facilitate their use of their calendars. Make sure everyone understands how the calendar works:

On every day of Advent, take one picture piece out of the envelope. Check the letter on the back and glue it into the calendar space with the matching letter.

Encourage everyone to say the prayer every day when they add another piece to their calendar. Remind everyone that Advent doesn’t actually start until next Sunday (November 28, 2010)

Closing Prayer

Come, Jesus, Come. We are waiting for the new world that God has promised, full of joy and life and peace and love. Come, Jesus, Come.

Have you ever had to wait for something you were really excited about? (e.g. Christmas, birthday, a vacation, a visitor)

How does it feel when you are waiting for something like that? Is it fun? Exciting? Frustrating? Hard?

If this is yo

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