Sunday, December 13, 2020:
Meet John the Baptist!

WELCOME to
ST JAMES' ONLINE SUNDAY SCHOOL!

The Infant St John the Baptist in the Wilderness,
by Bartolome Esteban Murillo (ca. 1670)
(see the painting & read about its restoration, here)

Our church color is rose!
Here are the readings for this Sunday:
Here's who we're wondering about:
John the Baptist

The Bible says: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light." (John 1:6-8)

  • "Testify" means to make known, to prove.

  • Who is the light? The light is Jesus, whose birth we are awaiting during these special weeks of Advent. We'll celebrate Jesus' birthday on Christmas!

John was Jesus' second cousin, the son of Mary's cousin Elizabeth and a priest named Zechariah. Even though Elizabeth and her husband were very old, they had baby John - a blessing! - about six months ahead of Jesus' birth.

The angel Gabriel (the same angel who later visited Mary!) told Zechariah that he and Elizabeth would have a baby, and to name him John. Zechariah was so doubtful and astonished at becoming a father that Gabriel took away his voice! He got it back, though, when he told everyone the newborn baby's name. John means: God is gracious.

Elizabeth was visited by Mary when they were both expecting their babies. The Bible tells us that John (growing inside his mother, Elizabeth) jumped for joy and knew even then how special Jesus was!

As he grew up, John was outspoken about making good choices: feed and clothe anyone in need, be fair and generous, work for justice. Follow God's laws, and prepare for the One who was to come!

He spent his days in the desert (remember our class on "Desert Abbas, Desert Ammas"?). He lived simply, wore a camel-hair shirt and ate locusts (like grasshoppers) and honey. People came to him, and he baptized them: people had to want to give up evil, and to want forgiveness, and to promise to do good, all in preparation for the time when Jesus would come.

And Jesus did come, and he asked John to baptize him, even though Jesus was free from sin. John said, I'm not worthy! But Jesus insisted, and John the Baptist baptized Jesus. A dove hovered over Jesus while God spoke, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased!"

John's work was done: Jesus was here!


Godspell! Here's a clip from the 1973 movie, beginning with the sound of the shofar, moving to joyous baptisms in the Bethesda Fountain, and ending with John's words.

Okay, I know you didn't ask, but here you are: a recipe for locusts & honey.
´╗┐They say that locusts taste "like mild shellfish" - in case you were wondering.
This week, our Advent Candle symbolizes JOY! It is rose (pink).

Check out fun and thoughtful activities, prayers, and crafts for Advent
- the weeks of waiting and preparation for Christmas!
Listen to this lovely Advent resource: click here for "Hope & Joy Bedtime Advent Meditations for Children" from the (Episcopal) American Cathedral of Paris, France
Here are some thoughts on making Advent a fulfilling time of wonder and joy as we approach Christmas.
(See Tip #1:
"Savor Your Prayer Time")

Please write to me - how can we help you wait & be joyful, these days? Please send me photos of your Nativity sets & scenes!

Twice-a-month Zoom classes are here - thank you, Jenn & Kim! Current students & families, look for link in a separate email; next class is12/20! (We'll open up to new students later, thank you for your patience!) Email me for details.

Our Online Sunday School emails (like this one) continue, every weekend.

Here's a coloring page for you - click here or on the image.

This week, let's seek and celebrate JOY! - Linda