Luke 2: 22-40

Illustrated New Resources

  • Wait and See (Anna and Simeon)

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
    Richard Bauckham, FRSE, FBA, is a renowned English biblical scholar and theologian, whose many published works include The Theology of the Book of Revelation (1993) and Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2006). He’s also a hobbyist poet! I’ve published this poem with his permission. It’s inspired by Luke 2:22–38, which describes two aged Jews, “righteous and devout,” who had been “waiting for the consolation of Israel,” the Messiah, for many years and finally encountered him at the temple one day in the infant Jesus of Nazareth. This “Presentation at the Temple,” as the episode is called, is commemorated yearly by Christians on February 2, Candlemas. Bauckham’s definition of prayer—“waiting with desire”—is the most succinct, and probably the best, I’ve ever heard. His poem enjoins us to assume the same “waiting with desire” posture as Simeon and Anna as we look fervently toward the Christ’s second coming, when God will dwell with humanity face to face once again, this time everlastingly.

Recommended Resources

  • A Child of the Law

    by D. Mark Davis
    includes lots of Greek exegesis!
  • Holy Family

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    Many years ago, a missionary was sent to the West Indies to work among the slaves. He was a good man, dedicated, sincere in his preaching about the love of God. But he was largely ignored. The slaves were driven so hard by their owners that they had time for nothing else...
  • Recognizing the Sacred Among Us

    by Sil Galvan
    I lay on the floor, furiously kicking my legs and screaming until my throat felt raw--all because my foster mother had asked me to put my toys away. "I hate you," I shrieked. I was six years old and didn't understand why I felt so angry all the time. I'd been living in foster care since I was two. My real mom couldn't give my five sisters and me the care we needed. Since we didn't have a dad or anyone else to care for us, we were put in different foster homes. I felt lonely and confused. I didn't know how to tell people that I hurt inside. Throwing a tantrum was the only way I knew to express my feelings. Because I acted up, eventually my current foster mom sent me back to the adoption agency, just as the mom before had. I thought I was the most unlovable girl in the world. Then I met Kate McCann. I was seven by that time and living with my third foster family when she came to visit. That day, Kate took me to a pumpkin farm. We had fun, but I didn't think I'd see her again. A few days later, a social worker came to the house to say that Kate wanted to adopt me. Then she asked me if I'd mind living with one parent instead of two. "All I want is someone who loves me," I said.
  • We Are the Light of the World

    by Sil Galvan
    Robert Fulghum tells about a seminar he once attended in Greece. On the last day of the conference, the discussion leader walked over to the bright light of an open window and looked out. Then he asked if there were any questions. Fulghum laughingly asked him what was the meaning of life. Everyone in attendance laughed and stirred to leave. However, the leader held up his hand to ask for silence and then responded "I will answer your question." He took his wallet out of his pocket and removed a small round mirror about the size of a quarter. Then he explained "When I was a small child during World War II, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place. I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept the largest piece.
  • Christmas 1B

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!

Narrative Sermons

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2020

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  • Not Perfect, Holy Family

    by Jim Chern
    A few years ago, I was at a Mass where a priest-friend of mine was being installed as the new pastor of a parish. Before we began, a middle-aged woman came into the sacristy and asked the bishop who was officiating that ceremony if he would be able to offer a blessing for her parents who were celebrating their anniversary that night. He said “even better, how would they like to renew their vows?” Which they were very excited to do. After communion, the bishop invited the couple to come up. These two older people started walking slowly, carefully up the aisle. The entire way up the aisle, they never stopped holding each others hands, and as they passed pew upon pew of people, you could see how their eyes were filling with tears. When they arrived at the foot of the altar, the bishop asked them how many years they had been married – the wife responded “60 years ago today.” The bishop then followed up asking “where did you get married?” and the wife proudly responded “Right here,” as she pointed her finger to the floor marking the very spot in front of the altar where they had stood all those decades earlier. The bishop was surprised as he said “You’ve been here in this parish for 60 years?” and they simply nodded their heads as the wife said “we’ve been here together every week since we were married.”...
  • A Crown of Beauty

    by Jim Eaton
    But there is a way to reconnect with a sense of community and you can do it as part of your prayer life. We are good at giving thanks for things; we need to pay more attention to giving thanks for people. A. J. Jacobs is a writer who set out to do this by giving thanks for everyone involved in his morning cup of coffee. He started to consciously thank people for some of his food. Jacobs made a point of getting the names of people. He thanked Chung, the barista, and Ed, the coffee taster who selects the coffee, and named and contacted many, many others, all to say thank you. He went on to thank the trucker who brought the coffee to the store. But then there was also the people who built the truck and carved the highway out on which the truck drove. There were the people who bought large sacks of coffee beans and roasted them, there were the people who packaged it. There were the people who grew the coffee of course. He called his project, “Thanks a thousand,’ because he ended up thanking over a thousand people...
  • It Takes a Village

    by Ernest Brooks
    Marian Wright Edelman, the noted attorney, civil rights champion, child advocate and founder of the Children's Defense Fund, paints a vivid picture of her childhood "village experience" in her book Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors. Edelman writes reflectively: My parents did not have to raise me and my sister and brothers alone. The whole community helped them and me just as they helped other people raise their children. Every place I went, there were eyes watching me and people reporting on me when I strayed into places or company or engaged in behavior they knew or thought my parents would not approve...
  • Sermon Starters (Christmas 1B)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Jesus was still in diapers when his parents brought him to the Temple in Jerusalem as the custom was, and that’s when old Simeon spotted him. Years before, he’d been told he wouldn’t die till he’d seen the Messiah with his own two eyes, and time was running out. When the moment finally came, one look through his cataract lenses was all it took. He asked if it would be all right to hold the baby in his arms, and they told him to go ahead but be careful not to drop it. ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation’ he said, the baby playing with the fringes of his beard. The parents were pleased as punch, so he blessed them too for good measure. Then something about the mother stopped him, and his expression changed. What he saw in her face was a long way off, but it was there so plainly he couldn’t pretend. ‘A sword will pierce through your soul,’ he said. He would rather have bitten off his own tongue than said it, but in that holy place he felt he had no choice. Then he handed her back the baby and departed in something less than the perfect peace he’d dreamed of all the long years of his waiting.”
  • Holy Families: Not Perfect, But Faithful

    by Jim Chern
    A few years ago, I was at a Mass where a priest-friend of mine was being installed as the new pastor of a parish. Before we began, a middle-aged woman came into the sacristy and asked the bishop who was officiating that ceremony if he would be able to offer a blessing for her parents who were celebrating their anniversary that night. He said “even better, how would they like to renew their vows?” Which they were very excited to do. After communion, the bishop invited the couple to come up. These two older people started walking slowly, carefully up the aisle. The entire way up the aisle, they never stopped holding each others hands, and as they passed pew upon pew of people, you could see how their eyes were filling with tears. When they arrived at the foot of the altar, the bishop asked them how many years they had been married – the wife responded “60 years ago today.” The bishop then followed up asking “where did you get married?” and the wife proudly responded “Right here,” as she pointed her finger to the floor marking the very spot in front of the altar where they had stood all those decades earlier...
  • Life: Being at Home

    from Claretians
    On Christmas morning, the preacher spoke about reverence for all children. He referred to the many awful cases of child abuse reported in the media and said that all children should be reverenced like the Christ Child. As he spoke a little three-year-old girl detached herself from her parents and stood in the center isle of the church sending flying kisses in all directions. "I do not understand" said the preacher, "how anyone could treat with violence something so charming and beautiful and delicate as this little girl." Her father sitting on the nearby seat was as good and gentle and loving as any father could be. But he said under his breath, "often, I can!"...
  • The Witness of the Vulnerable

    by Todd Edmondson
    In a 2016 interview, Peter Mommsen, the editor of Plough, posed a question to Stanley Hauerwas about the campaign for the acceptance of euthanasia and its connection to a desire for control. In response, Hauerwas said, “I say that in a hundred years, if Christians are identified as people who do not kill their children or the elderly, we will have done well. Because that’s clearly coming.” Hauerwas’ words, which have been oft-quoted in the two years since, have been on my mind in the past couple of weeks, as the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. and policy discussions in New York and Virginia have thrust the issue of abortion, always a prevalent topic, into the spotlight of social media and other contexts of debate. In the midst of a discussion that can be so inescapably polarizing, Hauerwas’ words remind us, as followers of Jesus, that so much of our witness and so much of our identity hinges on how we value—not just in word, but in deed—the most vulnerable among us. This was, of course, an important concern and a calling card of the early church, one that remains as salient as ever in our current climate...
  • Being Busy

    by Tim Jacobsen
    Life is busy, there is no denying that, but do we as a society choose to make ourselves busier? In the movie, The Sandlot, a group of kids gets together to just play baseball, hangout, eat smores (smore what?), and just be kids. This seems so odd to us today. Why would they waste their time just playing? What about all their AP classes, traveling teams, competitions, practices, church activities, and other commitments. How are they going to be the best at what they do, if they play just for fun?...
  • Grief Is the Price We Pay for Love

    by Terrance Klein
    Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, Queen Elizabeth II, offering her condolences to the people of the United States, wrote: “My thoughts and prayers are with you all now, and in the difficult days ahead. But nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments.” But then she added a much-needed, quite maternal insight: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”...
  • Blessing and Opposition

    by Karoline Lewis
    Howard Thurman has written: When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and the princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among people, To make music in the heart.

Illustrated Resources for the Presentation from 2014 to 2020

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  • God Is Pro-Life

    by Klaus Adam
    on February 2nd, the Pope celebrates a special liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, to which he invites all the members of religious orders and other consecrated men and women who are living in Rome. Usually, thousands of them come together for the celebration. The vocation to the consecrated life is associated with today’s Gospel passage because when men or women consecrate their lives entirely to the service of God and the Church, they are offering themselves in a way like how Mary and Joseph consecrated Jesus. They present themselves to God, in response to a call that they feel deep in their hearts, and surrender their lives entirely to Him, promising to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience for their whole lives. The fact that God calls some of us to follow Him in such a radical way is yet another proof of His interest, His love, His respect for every human life - we really matter to Him! Here is how one monk told his story:...
  • Bit Parts

    by Christopher Burkett
  • Commonplace Light?

    by Christopher Burkett
  • It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

    by Jim Chern
    Not long after I saw that clip of Alicia Keys with her tribute to Kobe Bryant, a priest friend of mine who is a fellow campus minister up at Boston University posted this on his facebook wall: As sad as Kobe’s death is, a friend texted me today to tell me that a friend of her’s attends the same Catholic Church as Kobe and saw him this morning at Mass. There can be nothing more consoling to those who mourn than to know that a loved one worshiped God right before his death because worshiping God is what heaven is.” The priests at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles corroborated that news. Kobe Bryant and his daughter who was Catholic had been at the Cathedral at 7:00 AM that Sunday Morning. They received the same Jesus that Simeon and Anna held in their arms and made their proclamations about thousands of years earlier in today’s Gospel… He is as real and present in the Eucharist. They had come to know and believed and received Him here on earth, and we pray to God for them and all the other victims of that crash that Jesus has now received them into His eternal kingdom of heaven...
  • The Need for Patience

    by Jim Chern
    Above all, trust in the slow work of God. we are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time...
  • Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple: Patience

    by Chris Clow
    By being willing to acknowledge the things I do have power over and things I don’t, I recognize what’s worth worrying about, along with what I need to let go of. A prayer that was written in honor of Oscar Romero puts it well: “It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us… We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.”...(by Bishop Ken Uetener)
  • Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

    by Craig Condon
    The tale of Simeon and Anna is a tale of grace. Anna’s name means “grace”, an early reminder by Luke that his gospel is a story of God’s free gift of self to us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Simeon and Anna are recognized and graced by God. That is why the aged Simeon, over a long period of waiting and from the numerous children brought to the temple, recognized God’s salvation in Christ...
  • Living Today

    by Tom Cox
    Being honest, other realities have come in to bring even more 'distance' into the modern family. Realities like separation, divorce and remarriage has quite a few with only visitation rights and defined access hours to some of their children. We all know people who have more normal relations with step-children than they do with their own flesh and blood...
  • Heliopher: A Story for Candlemas

    by Maxim Gorky
    Once upon a time there was a race which was lost in a great, dark forest. The trees stood so close together that the light of the sun could not penetrate the thickly entwined branches. There were also numerous wild animals which fell upon the people, especially the children, when they wandered too far from their parents while they were playing. So everyone lived in a constant state of fear of death and destruction, and a hopeless despair took hold of the hearts of the folk...
  • Presentation of the Lord

    by Don Higby
    Every Friday, I spend a few hours visiting people who are really old. A lot of the people I visit suffer from loss: loss of control of movements, loss of strength, loss of the ability to feed oneself, and even loss of the ability to think, to recognize others. I think a lot of them suffer from depression. Some of them sleep all of the time, waking only to eat or be cared for by the nurse's aides...
  • Brief Candle!

    by Terrance Klein
    No one more perfectly captured the dolorous dying of the light than Shakespeare's Macbeth. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle. Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing...
  • Candlemas

    by Anne Le Bas
    "theologian Leslie Weatherhead says that…‘Love in the New Testament is stern and strong and severe and virile. It is not sloppy and sentimental and weak…Love is all the things St Paul described…. , but it has steel in it as well as tears and a smashing power greater far than dynamite. Love suffers, entreats and endures, and fools think this is weakness. But those who oppose love take up arms against the whole universe. They will be broken, not love. For love is invincible..."
  • Coming to the Temple

    by Anne Le Bas
    I read a book recently by the late Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen, and I’d like to finish by telling you a story from it. In the mid 1980s, Nouwen gave up his respected academic job at a university to live as part of a community with adults with learning disabilities . He was still in demand to give talks around the world, but the community made a decision that whenever he travelled, he should be accompanied by one of the learning disabled adults, so they could do the work together. That meant that, on one trip to an academic conference in New York, Bill came along too. Bill had a whale of a time in the swanky hotel where the conference was taking place, and as Nouwen climbed up onto the platform to give his lecture, Bill got up and joined him, pitching in now and then with comments of his own – after all, they were supposed to be doing this together, he said. Later Bill did the rounds at the reception, chatting to people enthusiastically, and in the morning at breakfast, he made sure he’d said a proper goodbye to all the new friends he’d made, the learned scholars who had come to the conference. “We did it together” said Bill to Nouwen as they left. As Nouwen reflected on what had happened, he wrote this: In the past, I had always given lectures, sermons, addresses, and speeches by myself. Often I had wondered how much of what I had said would be remembered. Now it dawned on me that most likely much of what I said would not be long remembered, but that Bill and I doing it together would not easily be forgotten. I hoped and prayed that Jesus, who had sent us out together and had been with us all during the journey, would have become really present to those who had gathered in the Clarendon Hotel in Crystal City...
  • The Lord and His Temple

    by Anne Le Bas
    The word temple comes from the Latin templum which literally means a place that is marked out. We get template from it too. It is a shape, a space that is set aside. But it is only a space. On its own it is empty. The point of a temple wasn't the building but what happened inside it...
  • Strength, Wisdom and Favor

    by Steve Pankey
    My wife's maternal grandmother is a saint. She might even qualify to be a Saint according the rules of Roman Catholic Sainthood, except she isn't Roman Catholic. She's a Pentecostal, who loves the Lord with all her heart and seeks to do his will in every way. She's always good for a hug, and without fail, she'd stand up on her tip-toes to whisper in my ear, 'May you grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.'...
  • The Anatomy of Sacrifice

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    Webster's definition of a sacrifice is the surrender of something of value for the sake of something else. That is a good definition, but it contains more than first meets the eye, as is evident when we look at the concept of sacrifice in the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Take, for example, the famous story where Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. What is ultimately behind God's invitation to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on an altar?...
  • The Risks of Baby Dedication

    by Ragan Sutterfield
    Flannery O'Connor understood this truth that with salvation will come death and division. Her story The River gives us a good picture of the risks of baptisms and the dedication of children to the Kingdom of Christ. In the story, a young boy, Bevel, is taken by his baby sitter to a revival meeting and baptism by a river. Bevel is intrigued and asks to be baptized...

Illustrated Resources for Christmas 1B from 2014 to 2016

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  • Christmas 1B (2014)

    by Brendan Byrne
    "One of my favourite motion pictures is the film Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. For those of you who haven't seen it, it tells the story of C S Lewis, and of his relationship with the American poet Joy Gresham, whom Lewis eventually married. And the story which is conveyed through their relationship is a story of change: a story of moving out from a situation of safety and security into a context of risk, uncertainty, and loss...
  • Tears

    by Terrance Klein
    Young people often confess to the pain they've caused their parents. They know that they shouldn't lie, shouldn't sneak around, shouldn't snap back with an emotional whip. They're genuinely sorry, truly contrite, but, typically, tears don't come. Life is still too long and too lustrous for that. But now I am too old to reckon how many tears I've seen mothers shed. So often I find myself repeating this old line: no one can love us like family and no one can hurt us like family...
  • Dismissed in Peace

    by Tom Long
    Frankly, the world got along without me quite well before I was here; the academy, and the world, will do fine without me when I am gone. But humility alone is insufficient. What we do in life still counts, yes, counts even to God. So we add the second theological affirmation: that the whole of one's life is an investment in God's future. Maturity in faith is both the willingness to grasp our vocation when the call comes and then the willingness to let it go and trust the providence of God...
  • Now I've Seen Everything

    by Jim McCrea
    Wyatt was in a serious automobile accident when he was only three months old. In that accident, he was severely burned and the doctors told his parents that he would probably never have full mobility. His first few years of life were consumed with one reconstructive surgery after another. Following months of splints, casts and physical therapy, he spent one morning at home climbing the three steps to his house over and over again, grinning from ear to ear. When his mother asked him why he was doing that, his joyful reply was simply this: 'Because I can!'...
  • Christ Mass or Violence?

    by Andrew Prior
    include several quotes
  • Life and Light to All He Brings

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    The first sound of God's voice we hear in Scripture is the divine round of 'Let there be....' The first sound in that 'Let there be' round was 'Let there be light'. To 'see the light' has been a repeated, yet ever changing metaphor ever since that first creative burst. God's first breath of words brought actual, physical, life-stimulating light. Skip ahead a few thousand years. Now the symbol of light is not the sun, but the invention of the Thomas Edison Research Laboratories. It's called the light bulb'...
  • Holy Family (B)(2014)

    by Demetrius Dumm, OSB
  • A Word from the Wise

    by Carl Wilton
    We need to be mindful of orders of magnitude. Some categories of violence, like rampage shootings and terrorist attacks, are riveting dramas but (outside war zones) kill relatively small numbers of people. Every day ordinary homicides claim one and a half times as many Americans as the number who died in the Sandy Hook massacre. And…, in most years bee stings, deer collisions, ignition of nightwear, and other mundane accidents kill more Americans than terrorist attacks...

Illustrated Resources for Christmas 1B from 2008 to 2013

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  • Christmas 1B (2008)

    by Ann Fontaine
    Papaderos rose from his chair at the back of the room and walked to the front, where he stood in the bright Greek sunlight of an open window and looked out… He turned. And made the ritual gesture: 'Are there any questions?'..." and another illustration
  • Things to Do Before You Die

    by Vince Gerhardy
    Knowing that I liked to travel and visit new and different places someone in the family gave me a book entitled Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die. As the title suggests the author travelled around the world with a photographer and produced a beautiful book of places that, in his opinion, were unforgettable and worth visiting
  • Holy Family

    by Andrew Greeley
    Once upon a time there was a family which decided that it wanted to go away for Christmas to some place warm – the family lived in one of the snow belts. Actually it was only the mother who wanted to go. The kids objected because they wanted to spend Christmas with the friends...
  • Family

    by Denis Hanly, MM
    Maurice Cantor and his wife were very well to do people. And they had a little son who was a very nice little boy, six or seven years old. There was an old grandpa who lived with them, too. That was okay, because you should take care of the old grandpa as well. And everybody knows that to be a good Jew, you take care of old people. Anyhow, the trouble with Grandpa was, as he got older, he got a little shaky. And very often the food, instead of going into his mouth, would roll down his bib, because they had to put on a bib like the babies have. And Maurice said to his wife that this was not perhaps the best way to treat Grandpa. Because he used to have a way of funny conversations and he had all the bad habits of somebody who’s trying to wonder where he is right now sometimes. Anyhow, they had a great plan: over the garage where they parked their cars, they fixed up on top of the garage a very nice little place just for Grandpa so he could watch television up there, and be at home up there. But most of all he could eat up there, because whenever they had guests they couldn’t have Grandpa, so they would hide him in the kitchen. So they put him up there and the little boy, every supper, every evening meal, they would fill this little wooden salad bowl with Grandpa’s supper and they would say to the little boy, “Why don’t you go and bring this to Grandpa.” And so he’d go up. And he loved to go up to Grandpa, because Grandpa had all these great stories and he was really fun to listen to. And so the boy and Grandpa would be up there for supper time. And then, when Grandpa finished his meal, the little boy would come down. Well, this was a daily operation, and the little boy loved it, and it seemed to solve all the problems. So one day it was Mr Maurice’s birthday and all his very important and rich friends were going to come and celebrate his birthday. So they asked Grandpa to go up to his room. And the little boy came down just in time for the guests. Oh, it was a great party. Everybody was dressed to the nines and feeling very flashy and intelligent and witty and drinking rare wine. And then they opened the birthday presents. And they were lavish birthday presents, beautiful birthday presents. And everybody was feeling good until the little boy, he said, “Here’s my present, Daddy.” And his father says, “You don’t have to give me anything, you’re my son.” And he said, “No, I’ve been waiting, I want to give you this.” Well, he opens the package and in it is a little wooden bowl. The father said, “Where did you get this, child?” And he said, “I made it myself.” He was so proud of his little bowl. And he said, “Well, what is it for?” And the boy said, “It’s for when you get old and my son is going to bring your supper.”...
  • Simeon's Song

    by Peter Haynes
    I came to know Tommy over 30 years ago when I was a counselor at Camp Swatara. Tommy was a very quiet boy. In fact he never spoke. He was what we call an autistic child. I don't claim to know much about this mental handicap, but as I understand it, an autistic child is missing a vital link in the brain, a connection to the outside world...
  • How Are We Caring for Our Children Today?

    by Susan Hedahl
    Luke's words have at their center a child: surely a prompt to everyone to consider the treatment of children today. What does it mean to cherish and value children? Several years ago a proverbial phrase was popularized through a speech; "It takes a village to raise a child." How true in the best sense of that phrase..." and more info on child
  • Christmas 1B (2008)

    by Ben Helmer
  • Christmas 1B (2008)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Jesus was still in diapers when his parents brought him to the Temple in Jerusalem as the custom was, and that's when old Simeon spotted him. Years before, he been told he wouldn't die till he'd seen the Messiah with his own two eyes, and time was running out...
  • Growing Old Gracefully

    by Anne Le Bas
    There's a phrase I often hear people use, especially if they are not as young as they used to be. It's the phrase 'in my day'. It always fascinates me though, because by definition the people using it are still alive and kicking. Isn't it still 'their day?' And yet, somehow they feel as if they have now become invisible or irrelevant...
  • Bucket List

    by Jeffrey London
    In the movie The Bucket List, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star as two cancer patients who become the most unlikely of friends and end up spending three months together — each fulfilling a "bucket list" of things they'd always wanted to do before dying...
  • Now I've Seen Everything

    by Jim McCrea
    Howard Thurmond writes these words: When the song of the angels is silent, When the star in the sky is gone. When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are again tending their sheep, When the manger is darkened and still, The work of Christmas begins...
  • The Eucharist as Molding Us into Community

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    There is a story told about a Jewish farmer who, because he was carelessness, had to spend a Sabbath day in his field. Preoccupied with his work, he had let the sun go down without going home. Now, being a pious believer, he was not allowed to travel until sunset the next day...
  • A Sight for Certain Eyes

    by Ozzie Smith
    Several years ago on a series called 30 Minutes, CBS aired a school that had known five losing seasons of their football team. Well, it was this sixth season that they won their first game, and there was everything but celebration going on...
  • Do You Know Your Name?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Anyone here tired of passwords? Anyone here have a good way of remembering your passwords? Passwords are the open sesames to protected systems on the Internet...
  • Images of the Presentation

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources for Christmas 1B from the Archives

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  • Can Hopes Come True at Christmas?

    by Mark Adams
    ("Among my favorite books are C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. I have read them and re-read them several times. These little books were intended for children but they contain volumes of truth that will encourage and entertain readers of all ages. In this series of fantasy stories, Lewis introduces us to four children..." and other illustrations)
  • Holy Family/Wholly Family

    by Walter Burghardt, SJ
    ("A community of love and sharing. Historically, a strange phenomenon. As ethicist Margaret Farley has noted, 'Though the family has generally been considered to be a major social institution, Christian theology has not addressed it...")
  • Like Parents, Like Children

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    A scholar was conducting a study of an Amish village. The Amish are a branch of the Mennonite church who live in traditional rural villages far from industrialization and technology: no computers, televisions, refrigerators and telephones. In his study of the Amish village school, the researcher noticed that Amish children never screamed or yelled...
  • Christmas 1B (2002)

    by Arthur Gans
    We were privileged this year to have a mother offer to have her 2-month-old-son used as a live Jesus for the nativity scene. In the midst of the pageant the babe turned red and grunted/fussed. His 3-year-old sister, dressed as an angel and looking stereotypically cherubic, abandoned the script..." and another illustration
  • Holy Family (1999)

    by Andrew Greeley
    Once upon a time two kids went over to church to pray before the new year started. They wanted to thank God for giving them such wonderful parents. I don't know where they got that crazy idea because they weren't particularly devout...
  • The Rest of the Story

    by James Kegel
    There is an odd little carol which is sometimes sung on this first Sunday after Christmas. It begins: 'There's snow on the mountain and ice on the pond, The Wise Men are home now in the back of beyond. The Shepherd's have left us; the heavens are dumb; There's no one to tell us why Jesus has come...
  • The Dark Side of Christmas

    by Charles Love
    In an article printed in the Manila Times, at this point last year, someone named Rory V. Pascual presented a piece designed to alert people to the reality of what he calls Post Holiday Depression...
  • Don't Keep Christ in Christmas

    by Jim McCrea
    Loren Eiseley, the famous anthropologist, tells of an unusual occurrence he experienced one day when he was hiking though the woods. He stopped for a rest, leaned against a stump and fell asleep. When he awoke, he was vaguely aware of some commotion in the clearing as well as being deeply moved by the awesome beauty of the light slanting down through the pines ...
  • Christmas 1B (2002)

    by William Noble
    In the bleak mid-winter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone...snow had fallen, snow on snow, in the bleak mid-winter long, long ago...
  • And All People Shall See the Salvation of Our God

    by Beth Quick
    The Christmas our oldest son was ten, he had asked for a bicycle. Not just any bicycle but a Bandit BMX bicycle. He pointed it out to us one day in the store. That's all he talked about for three months before Christmas. Of course we got the bicycle...
  • Christmas 1B (2002)

    by Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers
    Nathan, the son of a friend of mine, has a bright mind and a keen sense of observation when it comes to human interactions. He smells injustice and fake-ness a mile away. These attributes get him into trouble at his job...
  • Patience and Readiness to Receive

    by Alex Thomas
    William Willimon, of Duke University, in an Advent meditation writes that we too often emphasize the wrong message at Christmas. He says: 'We prefer to think of ourselves as givers - powerful, competent, self-sufficient, capable people whose goodness motivates us to employ some of our power, competence and gifts to benefit the less fortunate...

Illustrated Resources for the Presentation from the Archives

  • The Revelation of Our Inner Thoughts

    by Sarah Buteux
    Doug, our sexton, invited the Thursday night reading group to the Cambridge Zen Center to hear the teachings of an American Zen Master. I really had no idea what to expect, but it sounded like an interesting variation on our usual routine, so I encouraged the group to go...
  • Preaching Helps (Luke 2:22-40)(2005)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    Within Jesus' lifetime and ministry he would have many conflicts with the Pharisees and others concerning the Law of God. Perhaps seeing God's Christ in so helpless a state told Simeon that saving humanity was going to have to go beyond the jots and tittles of the Law...
  • Standing at the Door

    by Justin Fisher
    Randolph Klassen, a Canadian-born artist, has painted a beautiful little picture called To Such Belongs the Kingdom of God. In it, a small child stands dwarfed by the door of a cathedral. He strains with every ounce of energy he can muster to pull the enormous door open. It barely budges. But it budges enough to allow a warm glow of light to spill out to where the child stands...
  • Simeon's Delight

    by Vince Gerhardy
    A woman was driving home on a dark and rainy night. It was very difficult for her to see the road ahead. Seeing the taillights of another car in front of her that seemed to be going in her direction, she decided to follow it. Following the taillights made travelling on that dark road so much easier...
  • Presentation (B)(2003)

    by Andrew Greeley
    Once upon a time, actually, probably every day, new parents bring their precious bundle home from its birthing place, convinced that their child is the most precious baby in the world and they begin imaging all the great things this child will accomplish...
  • A Little Child Will Lead Them

    by Claudia Highbaugh
    Early in the fall of the school year my godson Jacob had a very bad day. He got in a heap of trouble. His mother sent him to his room and told to stay there until he could improve his behavior. This that follows is the result of his period of isolation: Memo: To Mom From Jacob...
  • A Pattern Far Better

    by Charles Hoffacker
    I said that this story offers us a pattern, one for us to live out and promote. The strange scene in the temple brings together a baby, a young couple, and a pair of old people. Imagine a world where younger adults are not constantly overwhelmed by the duties of daily existence, but go to worship, where they are surprised and transformed by God's loving intentions for them...
  • Growing

    by John Jewell
    "Our friends Scott and Laura Anderson had a time like that just this year. Their four year old daughter was going to play Mary in the preschool presentation during the Sunday School Christmas pageant at their church...
  • The Jew for All Eternity

    by Richard Jones
    Some years ago there were whispers on Merseyside that the National Front was astirring. Anti- Jewish graffiti had begun to appear. Jews received sinister threats.The synagogues were getting edgy...
  • Time for Something New

    by Peter Laarman
    I have been struggling-and struggling is the right word-with a remarkable new work of fiction by Richard Powers called In the Time of Our Singing. The book is about an interracial couple who date and then marry after finding each other at the outdoor concert given by Marian Anderson on Easter 1939...
  • The Gift of Light

    by Roy Lloyd
    There was a time during World War I when soldiers confronted each other from their respective trenches. It was Christmas Eve. And a German soldier was heard singing, 'Silent Night' in German. British soldiers began to sing back, in English. Soon both sides were singing and an unofficial truce was declared...
  • Finding Meaning in These Times

    by Ben Manning
    Do you remember the excitement of when the Apollo astronauts landed on the moon? When it happened, President Nixon said: 'It's the greatest day since Creation!' Then Billy Graham came on line and reminded him of Christmas and Easter. Philip Yancy reflected on this dialogue by saying...
  • There Was a Man Whose Name Was Simeon

    by Steven Molin
    "It occurs to me that the question with which I began this sermon is the wrong question. Rather than asking "what would you like to do?" perhaps I should be asking "how would you like to be remembered?" What do you want your legacy to be? What shall we write as an epitaph on your tombstone? What should be written on mine?...
  • Leaving a Mark on the World

    by Stephen Portner
    There are two well-known pictures, each with the same title The Shadow of the Cross. One by Holeman Hunt depicts the interior of a carpenter's shop, with Joseph and the Boy Jesus at work. Mary is also present. The Boy Jesus pauses in his work, and as he stretches himself the shadow of the cross is formed on the wall...
  • Illustrations

    by Tim Zingale
  • Left-Overs

    by Tim Zingale
    An Indian chief was disturbed about how lazy his braves had been during the hunting season, so he called all the tribe together and announced, 'I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that, because you have been lazy and done little hunting this season, all we have to eat all winter long is clay from the riverbank. The good news is that there is an ample amount of clay to keep us going until next year..

Other Resources from 2020

Other Resources from 2019

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Other Resources from 2017 and 2018

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Other Resources for Christmas 1B from 2014

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Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

Other Resources for the Presentation from 2003

Other Resources for Christmas 1B from 2002

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Other Resources from the Archives

Resources from the Bookstore

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable