Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Party!

Sorry, our class does not have a Christmas party. We have a regular class period, which consists mostly of suffering. We cover Christmas themes and consume a modest amount of candy.
This is the kids' favorite part of the Christmas class:
I remind the children that for a long time most people couldn't read, and that even if they could, there weren't many books available, including the Bible. So one way people learned their faith was through pictures. All the kids know what a Nativity scene looks like, but what they don't know is that the components of a Nativity relate to prophecies by Isaiah (they already know who Isaiah is).
So what we do is make our own nativity scene, with Isaiah as our guide. That is, we'll create a New Testament portrait by using the Old Testament. As the kids name each image that goes in the picture based on each bit of Scripture, I draw that bit on the board.
I read the following passages from Isaiah one at a time:
7:13-14 Hear ye now, O house of David...the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Mary (and Joseph) are drawn, but not the (baby) son, for reasons that will become apparent later....maybe you can guess.
40:9 ......O Jerusalem, you bring good tidings (evangelousious) not afraid, say...Behold your God!
This one isn't so obvious. First we recall from Luke 2 what the shepherds heard, "Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy," and compare that to the Isaiah passage to see how Luke borrows from Isaiah to show Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled. Then I write 'ev/angelousious' on the board, and explain how it means good/tidings, good/news, good/message in Greek (they've already been exposed to other Greek words such as bishop and euthanasia). Focusing on the good/message translation, I erase the front and back of evangelousious so we have angel, and the kids figure out that an angel is a....messenger! (and since the message comes from heaven, the messenger is shown with......wings!) On the board go a couple of winged messengers.
40:10-11 Behold, the Lord GOD.....shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom. 60:7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee.
This is an easy one, I draw shepherds and lambs.
60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
The star of course....

60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
The three kings...not that Scripture says anything about three of them, but there were three presents, and nobody brings more than one present, so.....
60:6 The multitude of camels shall come... ones, Isaiah says they're Dromedaries, not two-humped Bactrians.
....they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD.
Gold for a king, incense for worshiping God, (myrrh to bury the dead); I doodle a few pots.

1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: " I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; 3 The ox knows its owner And the ass its master’s manger But Israel does not know, My people do not consider."
An ox and an ass, naturally, with giggles about, you know, an ass. And let's look at the French word for "eat": manger (meɪnʤə). So what's a manger? Yes, it's what the animals eat out of, the name tells us so. And whose manger is it? The master's, yes, and who is the master? Yes, Jesus, so at last I draw the baby in the manger.
And let's notice that Isaiah says Israel doesn't know the master, but the dumb animals the ox and ass do (maybe they aren't so 'dumb'), and as we see from the picture we've drawn, the humble, uneducated shepherds know who Jesus is, and so do the Gentile Kings, who aren't even Jewish. So we see that Jesus came for the Jews, for non-Jews (that's us), the rich and the poor. Jesus came for everyone.