A Christmas Revelation

I had a revelation of my own during last Sunday’s service.

The First RCL reading (1 Samuel 2:18-20,26) and the Gospel reading (Luke 2:41-52) were very child centred narratives. And I had missed it, caught up in all the silliness of the season as well as the business of the season I managed to not see what should have been obvious to me. That these 2 narratives contained very strong stories of the “child in the centre”. Both Samuel and Jesus as children, were the centre of the narratives. Both had very strong faith experiences as well as leadership opportunities as a child. In fact, from the 25/12 till the 6/1 we were reading very child centric texts. Not only was Christ born to fulfil God’s plan but his existence was God’s plan. He was not waiting for it to come to a spectacular end but he was living his faith confident of who he was from the beginning.

Contrasting the older story of Samuel with Jesus shines a reminder that children’s participation in faith is not new, it has always been at the heart of God’s purpose. Looking back, we see that like a child, these stories connect past with present with future, even as we hear them in our own time. And that while we also hear at this time of the year the usual themes and stories, that there is still much to explore in the narratives today. For example, the “Jesus was a refugee” theme has been picked up loudly this year, even in Children’s literature (https://www.lostsheep.com.au/stories/jesus-was-a-refugee/). But have we also forgotten that these stories are child centric, and that we need to hear that message too.

The Child Theology Movement, in raising the awareness of the child in our literature and the significance of placing the “child in the middle” (as per Matthew 18:3), asks not just that we read the scripture through this lens but that we apply this understanding in a practical manner. In Matthew, we have a child leading the discussion, in Samuel a little later on (1 Samuel 3:1), he is setting the initiative. Both children are confident in themselves and their faith. We are being given practical examples of how to be inclusive in both narratives, If we do not pause in this busy Christmas time, to not just adore the thought of a baby, to consider the gift of a child, but to render practical application as the Innkeeper did by finding room, then there is plenty of inspiration in these stories to remind us to be that “innkeeper” for a child, from making space in our hearts to making space in our congregations so that all may witness and use their gifts as Samuel and Jesus did as a child.

This week, such a special Sunday, as the Epiphany is celebrated on a Sunday; a child is still the centre of the story, and this time we are shown the practical response of wise men bringing their gifts, gifts that suit what is to go ahead in his life. The practical aspect of this narrative is to discover and use what “gifts” we can bring to the children of our congregations, and all that we encounter, to guide and enhance their life experiences.

God placed a child in our midst


Wendy L.




Christmas 1C: Ideas to help you and your 3’s and under enjoy church and relate to the RCL readings

 Prepare a special church bag in advance each week so that you are ready for the rush on Sunday Morning.

Read during the Bible readings,

Pray during the prayers,

Colour, Draw or Craft during the sermon.

Craft or drawing or play are for spiritual responses not for a perfectionist piece that can be shown off.

Remember that little ones will need their own space to move and wiggle,

Sit towards the front so they can see what is going on.

Remember that you have bought your child to worship. Enjoy engaging them in it.

Older children might enjoy https://store.illustratedchildrensministry.com/products/illustrated-worship-resources-winter-2018-2019

FIRST READING: 1 Samual 2:18-20, 26

READ:  The Beginner’s Bible Timeless Children’s stories Hannah’s Prayer pp.156-159

OR  My first read -aloud Bible by Batchelor and Boshoff  God Answers a Prayer pp.72-73

Make: a Prayer Jar Draw or write something to pray about and put it in a box ( a decorated chocolate box or a tissue box work well)

PRAY: from your new preyer Jar.



Hey, you! Give praise to God! (Flap hand as if calling someone over)
You angels in heaven, sing out glory. (point to the sky)
You stars, sun and moon, shine bright with praise! (twinkle your fingers)
God dreamed you and called you and here you are! (put both hands together like a pillow to put your head on, clasp hands around your mouth like a megaphone, point down at yourself)
You fish and whales and squid, sing praise in the deep. (make a fish with your hands willing in the water)
You elements of nature, fire, rain, wind, (burst your hands apart, wiggle your fingers down, blow)
cold and heat, stone and mountain – praise! (shiver and fan your face with your hand)
God dreamed you and called you and here you are! (put both hands together like a pillow to put your head on, clasp hands around your mouth like a megaphone, point down at yourself)
You plants and forests, praise God as you flower and fruit. (form 2 fists then unfurl your fingers, and the reach up as if picking a piece of fruit from a tree)
You mammals, insects, reptiles and birds – praise! (Wiggle your hand like a snake, then entwine your hands and flutter your fingers)
God dreamed you and called you and here you are! (put both hands together like a pillow to put your head on, clasp hands around your mouth like a megaphone, point down at yourself)
You people, Presidents and nobodies, rich and poor, (waggle your pointer finger)
women and men and girls and boys,
in every corner of planet Earth,
God dreamed you and called you and here you are! (put both hands together like a pillow to put your head on, clasp hands around your mouth like a megaphone, point down at yourself)
So listen out for the Name that is above every Name,
sing out with all the love and joy you can find
for all you are is made by God,
all you have is gift from God.
Calling all creation – come and be found in praise! (flap hand as if calling someone over)

http://www.conversations.net.nz/psalm-148-calling-all-creation.html by Rev. Purdie actions by me.

Make a face to show how this psalm makes you feel? Maybe Excited, or bored?

A lovely book to read in conjunction with this Psalm is When God made you by Matthew Paul Turner

SECOND READING: Colossians 3:12-17

READ/LISTEN https://his-israel.com/2014/09/28/the-hardest-word-read-by-keren/ The Hardest Word by Jacqueline Jules (This is a long read so don’t expect them to sit through it in one sitting, break it into small section and let them play for a while, or do something else.)

AS Suggested BY http://storypath.upsem.edu/lectionary-links-rcl-december-30-2018/

SING/LISTEN https://www.seedsfamilyworship.com/product/seeds-of-character-vol-6/# NO. 9

PLAY: with paper or timber dress up dolls, or dolls or teddy’s with different outfits or https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/make-and-decorate/crafts/how-to-make-paper-dolls-with-downloadable-patterns.

GOSPEL READING: Luke 2:41-52

READ: The Beginner’s Bible Timeless Children’s stories Jesus is Lost pp.296-302

OR My first read -aloud Bible by Batchelor and Boshoff pp. 148-149

COLOURING IN: https://store.illustratedchildrensministry.com/products/bible-story-coloring-pages-winter-2018-2019?variant=13700704632930 IF purchased this week (about $15 Aus ) it will supply you with colouring in sheets for the next 10 weeks)

OR https://ministry-to-children.com/boy-jesus-coloring-page/

PRAY: Help me God

to know like Jesus did

that I belong to you



You might need to bring with you

The Beginner’s Bible Timeless Children’s stories

OR My first read -aloud Bible by Batchelor and Boshoff

When God made you by Matthew Paul Turner

chocolate or tissue box

stickers or paper to decorate

paper dress up dolls or dolls or teddy with changes of clothes

To print off


OR https://ministry-to-children.com/boy-jesus-coloring-page/


Day of the Child

Yesterday (Wednesday the 24th) was International Day of the Child. This week from the 20-28 of October is Australia’s National Week of the Child.

This year the theme is“based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 12 – children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.” https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/events/Pages/childrensweek.aspx

You can find the full Convention here



We have had the Prime Ministers apology to the victims of Abuse on Monday https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/About_the_House_News/National_Apology_to_Victims_and_Survivors_of_Institutional_Child_Sexual_Abuse, with many Denominations issuing statements and prayers in response.


A Christian Radio station https://www.lightfm.com.au

had a beautiful responsive Day of the Child yesterday with children and parents phoning in during the drive time programme. But they did seem confused if it was a “day” or not.


I know of one church (Melbourne Welsh Church)http://www.melbournewelshchurch.com.au

that had  a children lead service on Sunday.  If you marked the week in this way, please let us know.

Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia announced a new resource on Communicating with Children this week https://assembly.uca.org.au/tools-for-listening?fbclid=IwAR05tDc0WJIaOq08HCV8E1Cv15gZEVuNKxdMTcpVVj8PuezPmoqNPT5z2Zo

As Christian’s we look to the Bible for stories to connect our heritage with the UN Article, and we find both Old and New Testament examples, from the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samual 17, and Eli listened to Samual in 1 Samual 3, to that of the young Jesus in the Temple, in Luke 2:41-52.

Yes, children have asked and been listened to as part of our tradition. This may not sit well with those who follow the idea that children should be “seen and not heard”, a social rather than biblical precedent; though Proverbs 1:8, might be misconstrued in this way. The Seder tradition of questions being asked by the youngest child points to a tradition that should not be discarded.

The issue for many congregations is how to satisfy this UN article that has been turned into legal requirements in many places including Victoria.

What stops us from hearing the voice of the child in our congregations? Is it as simple as not understanding that there is Biblical precedent, or does it lie in the social construct and traditions including the legal ones of management?

Perhaps it’s an educational understanding that children are empty vessels to be filled, rather than an understanding that they come formed in the image of God with developing skills?

Our congregations could do a better job at inviting the questions of children, and of hearing what they are saying. We may need precedents and processes, but essentially, we need the understanding that Christ placed the child in the midst (Matthew 18: 1-14), our midst.

For those who have successfully satisfied this Article, what advice can you pass on to us.