Luke 2: 41-52

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • The Holy Family

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("A high school principal in Michigan, his wife and seven children used to drive to Florida every spring break to see her folks. It was an annual family journey. All nine of them would pile into the family van, along with blankets and pillows, groceries, and luggage in the carrier on top, an drive straight through, stopping only to refuel, to eat, and to change drivers..." and other illustrations)
  • The Holy Family

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("George Eliot's short novel, Silas Marner, explores the theme of redemption brought through a little child. When the novel opens, Silas Marner, a myopic and cataleptic weaver, is living alone on the edge of a small, rural village in England in the early nineteenth century. He shuns all company and cares for no one. He is feared and disliked by the villagers..." and other illustrations)
  • Children of God

    by Sil Galvan
    ("perhaps it would be appropriate to mention one writer's humourous view of the ten commandments which should govern the relationship of a husband and wife in marriage. 1. Thou shalt not wrap thy husband's sandwiches in magazine articles about a man's responsibility to love his wife. 2. Thou shalt not leave Scripture verses about submission tied to thy wife's hair dryer..." and another illustration)
  • Christmas 1C

    by William Loader
    always good insights
  • A Bouquet For Mom At Christmas

    Joe Parrish
    A florist gives a special gift to a young boy. Contributed by Joe Parrish. Comments may be sent to him at joe.parrish.parti@ecunet.org.
  • Exegetical Notes

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2018 and 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Jesus As a Boy

    by Jessica Asbell
    I love the Eiffel Tower. I always have. I’m not sure what it is about that Tower, but it has always fascinated me. And when I went to Paris for the first time as a teenager, I was determined to see it. In fact, I told the tour guide that if we didn’t go see it, that I would stay behind until I did! He must’ve known that I was serious because we went to see it the day before we left. I could’ve stayed in that Tower for hours. I might have been left behind if my mother hadn’t been with me. I was so excited to be there and I knew that it was an important place for me. I wanted to stay for a long time...
  • Where We Belong

    by Phil Bloom
    We live in a divided country, but earlier this month something happened that brought us together: the funeral of President George H.W. Bush. Democrats as well as Republicans expressed gratitude for his years of public service. Still there was something even more than public service that people valued: President Bush's love for his wife and family...This yearning for family is expressed in one of the most popular films ever made. I mentioned it on Christmas Eve: Lord of the Rings. One of the reasons people cherish Lord of the Rings is because of the Fellowship, that diverse group: 4 hobbits, two men, a dwarf, an elf and Gandalf in front - the wizard with his staff. The Fellowship brings together people who would normally keep their distance. It's a odd family...
  • Home Alone Meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

    by Richard Bryant
    Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph and their entire extended family did what we all enjoy watching Macaulay Culkin do every Christmas. They left him “Home Alone.” It wasn’t really “Home Alone.” It was “Jerusalem Temple Alone.” Yet, if you can imagine the movie, with the McAlister family heading through O’Hare Airport, self-obsessed and trying to make their plane to Paris on time, and only realizing when they’re comfortably boarded who they’ve forgotten; you’ve seen the chaos Luke is trying to describe. So yes, if you feel like you’ve seen this movie before, you have. In fact, I think you’ve seen two movies. Its Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets Home Alone. Initially, whether Jesus is “left” or “leaves” himself alone is up for interpretative grabs. Here’s what matters: once Mary and Joseph are on their way back to Nazareth, he’s Ferris Bueller, alone in the big city, a young man in the world of adults who try to solve grand problems with epic solutions. Schools out and the world is his to be embraced and enjoyed...
  • The Open Family

    by Dennis Hamm, SJ
    As I was driving to Des Moines, Iowa, to give a workshop, the voice on NPR let me know that I was heading for what was, at that moment, the most famous town on earth—the place where Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey had just become the parents of seven children. The four boys and three girls, though in delicate condition because of their prematurity, were all well formed and their prospects good. The public response was vigorous and various. Some imagined the scenario of 35,000 diaper changes before toilet training took effect. Others focused on clinical dimensions: “For the average consumer it will obscure the downside [of multiple pregnancy],” observed one physician. What came through loud and clear was Bobbi's pro-life choice when the plurality of her pregnancy had been discovered. Presented with the option to “reduce the number of fetuses” in order to avoid the real risk of losing all, she chose to gamble on God. Led by her faith that all life is a gift from God, she chose to carry all seven to term...
  • Christmas 1C (2018)

    by Scott Hoezee
    The movie Home Alone could probably have worked as slapstick comedy no matter what time of the year the story was set in. But as it stands, the story takes place at Christmastime when a frantic family jets off to Paris for Christmas only to discover too late that they had left their youngest child behind. Thus Home Alone has become a Christmas movie and so is on various cable channels with some frequency during December every year now. The movie’s plot strains credulity: how can a family leave a house, ride all the way to the airport, board a plane, and only THEN, midway over the Atlantic Ocean, realize a child has gone missing? “How in the world could something like this ever happen?” you want to ask. Seems far-fetched but you have to believe it for the film to work...
  • What Does the Holy Family Teach Us About Ourselves?

    by Terrance Klein
    Tommy Orange uses an old template, first employed in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, to depict a thoroughly modern world. In his novel There There (2018), a contemporary group of Native Americans are headed to a powwow. We learn their tales as they go. The story of “Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield” wryly illustrates how the modern family has changed. We think individuals form families. Our ancestors, of all hues and cultures, would have put it the other way. The family forms us, and, not as individuals, but as integral members of one family. Notice how young Opal stands between two worlds, two understandings of family...
  • Prophets Among Us

    by Claire Mesick
    That capacity of the young to take on a prophetic role, one that clashes with their elders, continues in the present day. Earlier this year, fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg went on strike from school to protest global inaction on climate change; it was her “moral responsibility,” she argued, to do what she could when “nobody else is doing anything.”[3] Likewise, eleven-year-old Mari Copeny or “Little Miss Flint” was thrust into the role of activist at the age of eight, after two years of living with poisoned water in Flint, MI.[4] Some of these prophetic children, like their biblical counterparts, have met with tragic endings: like sixth-grader Sandra Parks, who placed in a contest for an essay condemning gun violence and was shot and killed two years later.[5] That children are the prophetic voices on these particular issues should not surprise: each of these issues has a disproportionate impact on the young...
  • The People in Church (Luke)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    English artist William Holman Hunt painted "The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple" as part of his effort to revitalize Biblical subjects in art. He traveled to Jerusalem, used local people as models, and attempted to inject symbolism into every choice he made when painting Biblical subjects. From the story of Jesus at age twelve (Luke 2:41-52), Hunt has chosen to paint the moment when anxious parents Mary and Joseph are standing at Jesus' side. The artist has not focused on Jesus' discussion with the rabbis, but the rabbis' presence at the left of the canvas witnesses to the discussion that happened before parents and child were reunited...
  • Discovering Where He Belongs

    by Scott Moore
    It’s beginning to look a lot like the Christmas Nick Schneider dreamed about much of his life. He just recently took advantage of new Indiana law which just made possible the release of more than 50 years of adoption records, including Schneider’s. He was one of those fortunate children who was adopted as a baby by two loving parents. They raised him with love and care and provided him all the things that one hopes for in life. Shirley Williams gave Nick up for adoption those many years ago when he was just one day old. She was a 17 year-old, unwed mother. In that time, that was rather scandalous, so she was sent to a place away from her home in order to give birth in secret...
  • Patterns of Possibility

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    A few years ago I revisited the places of my childhood. Sim and I piled the kids into the car and traveled to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where I was born, and then to Erie, Pennsylvania, where I lived from the age of five until the age of twelve. Together the four of us explored what Sim fondly called the Seven Sacred Susie Sightings: the house where I was born, the two elementary schools I attended, the park by the zoo where I flew up from Brownie Scouts to Girl Scouts, and the beach on Lake Erie where I spent hour after lazy hour floating in the warmth of summer. We also visited the two churches, in Erie and LaCrosse, where my father had served as pastor, and where I had lived, happily, for many, many years. I say "lived" purposely - for those two church buildings became, for me, like second homes. Not only did the pews feel as familiar as my living room sofa, the tunnels under the church building, the closet behind the balcony, the classrooms in the Sunday school assembly hall - all these spaces became familiar places to hide in and play in and grow in...
  • Let Him Grow Up

    by Peter Thompson
    Includes "Once in Royal David's City"

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2009 to 2014

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Who Is This Child?

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • When You Lose Jesus

    by Kathy Donley
    Fred Craddock, is a retired pastor and preaching professor. One of his early churches was in a small town in Oklahoma. The town’s gathering place was a little café where all the farmers gathered to talk about cattle and wheat bugs and the hail and the wind and how good the crop was going to be. Attendance was pretty good at the café on Sunday mornings when other folks were in church. Craddock says the patron saint of the group that met at the café was named Frank. Frank was seventy-seven when they first met. He was a good, strong man, a pioneer, a rancher and farmer. He had been born in a sod house; he had his credentials, and all the men there at the café considered him their patron saint. They said, "0l' Frank will never go to church." Craddock says, "I met Frank on the street one time. He knew I was a preacher, but it has never been my custom to accost people in the name of Jesus, so I just was shaking hands and visiting with him, but he took the offensive. He said, "I work hard, I take care of my family and I mind my own business. Far as I'm concerned, everything else is fluff." You see what he told me? "Leave me alone, I'm not a prospect." I didn't bother Frank. That's why the entire church, and the whole town were surprised, and the men at the café church were absolutely bumfuzzled when old Frank, seventy-seven years old, presented himself before me one Sunday morning for baptism. I baptized Frank. Some of the talk in the community was, "Frank must be sick. Guess he's scared to meet his maker. They say he's got heart trouble. Going up there and being baptized, well, I never thought ol' Frank would do that, but I guess when you get scared..." All kinds of stories. Dr. Craddock goes on: "We were talking the next day after his baptism, and I said, 'Uh, Frank, you remember that little saying you used to give me so much: "I work hard, I take care of my family, I mind my own business?"' He said, "Yeah, I remember. I said that a lot." I said, "You still say that?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "Then what's the difference?" He said, "I didn't know then what my business was."...
  • Home for Christmas

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher
  • Christmas 1C (2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Luke 2:51 is the second time Luke tells us that Mary treasured things up in her heart. The first time was after the shepherds popped in to see the infant Jesus. But now this second time follows a troubling and frightening incident. It seems that Mary at least discovered that when it came to her son Jesus, there would be plenty of opportunity to treasure up both wonderful things and perplexingly troubling things...")
  • Who Is This Child?

    by Kate Huey
    includes several quotes
  • An Infatuation with the Possible

    by Rex Hunt
    includes several quotes
  • The Holy Family and the Bureaucrat

    One Act Play by Michael Jinkins
  • Buddy's Journey

    by Terrance Klein
    ("e saw a world suffused with goodness; he loved it unreservedly; and he called forth the best in us. Though he came to live among us, his was a foreign provenance. He came unto his own, and they knew him not. And of course he walked the whole way — as he would often say — "first through the Candy Cane Forest, past the swirling, twirling Gumdrop Lake and into the Lincoln Tunnel." His family called him Buddy; the world knows him as Elf...")
  • Holy Hijinx

    by Jeffrey London
    In the 1950's the FBI, yes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, put out a list entitled, “How to Raise a Delinquent.” 1) Give the child whatever he/she wants, because that makes your life easier. 2) Pride yourself on not prying into your child’s life, his/her friendships, where time is spent, etc. 3) Expect your child to attend church, but don’t bother to go yourself. 4) Threaten punishment, but don’t carry it out. 5) When you do punish, make sure you overdo it. 6) And finally, never, ever admit you were wrong. This list sort of comes in the side door, but I think it’s message is clear. If we, as parents, are doing any of these things then we’re raising a problem child instead of a faithful adult...
  • Growing in Grace

    by Philip McLarty
    The story is told of a young prince who fell in love with a young princess in a neighboring kingdom. He wanted her to love him in return, but he was afraid for her to see him up close because he was so ugly. So, one day he went to the king's tailor to be fitted for a new suit of clothes, and the tailor asked him why he was so sad. The prince told him that he loved the princess with all his heart, but he could never hope to win her favor, as ugly as he was. The tailor smiled and said, "Then I will make a mask for you to wear. Then she will see you as the most handsome prince who has ever lived." And he did. Sure enough, when the prince put on the mask, he was, indeed, the most handsome prince you've ever seen. The prince then journeyed to the neighboring kingdom to meet the fair young princess. As you might guess, it was love at first sight. He was, without a doubt, the charming young prince of her dreams. They courted day in and day out. He brought her gifts, wrote her poetry and sang her songs. In return, she gave him her heart. But with one condition: That he remove his mask...
  • Why Have You Treated Us So?

    by Philip McLarty
    Rolf Svenson was an inventor. At least some said he was. Others said he was an eccentric old quack. Regardless, when it went past ninety days without rain, everyone looked to him for help. They had to twist his arm, but he consented to making a rainmaker … which, to the naked eye, looked like an old boiler on wheels, with a maze of pipes and valves going every which way and a smokestack at the top. He wheeled it down to the town square and fired it up. When it got good and hot, steam started pouring out the smokestack. A small cloud formed up in the sky. It grew and grew and got darker and darker until someone saw a flash and heard a clap of thunder. Sure enough, it began to rain – and not just a drop or two, but a pouring down rain. The people clapped and danced and got soaking wet. It felt so good, and they were so very happy...
  • Where Is Jesus?

    by Dwight Moody
    ("But some 12-year-olds are already thinking seriously about their future. Steve Jobs, for instance, wrote about his early fascination with computers. 'I was 13 years old,' he says in his end-of-life autobiography, 'and already knew what I wanted to do.' He did it, and the whole world is glad...")
  • Holy Family

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("I have to admit to you that, just sometimes as a preacher, I really hate it when children cry in Church and distract the congregation from the homily and other things that I think are really important during Mass. And this was one of those occasions. The reading had been from St Paul to the Corinthians...")
  • Entering Bethlehem

    by Larry Patten
    ("In the distance, beyond the village, sheep baaed, wind stirred, and we turned the corner to search the next street for . . . 'Hey, Larry, how ya doing?' Shocked, I slowed my running pace and looked at the fellow runner alongside me. In a split-second I'd gone from the first to the twentieth century, from lonely Bethlehem to the paved roads of southwestern Wisconsin...")
  • Whose House Is It Anyway?

    by Michael Phillips
    ("A harried homemaker sprang to the phone when it rang and listened with relief to the kindly voice in her ear. 'How are you darling?' it said. 'What kind of day are you having?'...")
  • Family Life as Sacrament

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("I prefer a more colloquial definition, one that simply defines a sacrament as 'anything that gives skin to God'. What is meant by this? There is a marvelous story told of a four year-old girl who woke up one night frightened, convinced that there were monsters and spooks in her room...")
  • Two Promises for a New Year

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Tom Ervin was attending a conference for music teachers in New York. While at the conference he purchased a talking metronome. A metronome is a device for counting the beats in a song. Before Tom and his son boarded their flight home, Tom hefted his carry-on bag onto the security-check conveyor belt. The security guard's eyes widened as he watched the monitor...")
  • Christmas Reflections

    by Keith Wagner
    Early in my ministry I had a friend who was a single mother. She was incapable of raising her daughter alone so she gave her up for adoption. About 30 years later the child discovered her mother and they were reunited. They became pen pals at the very best but nevertheless established a relationship. I remember the renewed feelings of guilt my friend experienced since her daughter was raised by others. But, my friend was a very loving person, who frequently helped others when she barely had enough to take care of herself. I admired her for her courage to entrust her young daughter into the hands of strangers...
  • Holy Family (C)(2012)

    by Greg Kandra
    ("The juxtaposition of those two images in this church, the crèche and the crucifix, serves as a powerful lesson for this feast. We realize that when we speak of the , we speak of a family that struggled and suffered, like so many of us. But: this family also knew profound hope. They trusted completely in God. They call all of us to that kind of trust. And they are with us. In our own time, they stand beside all who worry, who struggle, who search, who pray...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2015 to 2017

  • Christmas 1C (2015)

    by Joshua Carney
    Three days seems to me not just to be an astonishingly long time to be missing your child, but also a time frame filled with potent theological suggestion. Though Luke is often framed as writing to a Gentile audience, I read it as a Jewish nod to both typology and foreshadow. Left to himself for an extended weekend, Jesus does something 'amazing' leaving witnesses 'astonished.'...
  • The Open Family

    by Dennis Hamm, SJ
    Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey had just become the parents of seven children. The four boys and three girls, though in delicate condition because of their prematurity, were all well formed and their prospects good. The public response was vigorous and various. Some imagined the scenario of 35,000 diaper changes before toilet training took effect. Others focused on clinical dimensions: 'For the average consumer it will obscure the downside [of multiple pregnancy],' observed one physician...
  • Looking for Jesus

    by Jim Kast-Keat
    One of my first jobs after college was at a church where I led a ministry for preteens. One year at our annual summer camp we challenged everyone to pay attention to all the places they find God. We had hundreds of blank cards, a bucket of thumb tacks, and a blank wall waiting to be filled. At first these preteens wrote the more stereotypical responses: "I found God when we were praying" or "I found God during our morning Bible study." But by the second day I began to see different responses popping up on the wall...
  • Running Away from Home

    by Terrance Klein
    Thump. Thump. Thump. It was amazing how long he could do it. My brother Harold, practicing basketball floor passes. I couldn't see the point of basketball, so spending any time perfecting it seemed wasted to me. Who could care where the ball went, and how many times it did it? Thump. Thump. Thump. No doubt my brother thought the same of me and my comic books. How many times can Superman save the day?...
  • A Twelve-Year Old Jewish Boy

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    German painter Max Liebermann created a painting of the subject exhibited at Munich's First International Art Exhibition in 1879. In the painting, the young Jesus sits among the rabbis in a temple. The temple here is a combination of elements from synagogues that the artist visited as he was preparing the composition and subject...
  • I Was Better Than Jesus

    by Larry Patten
    Compared to Jesus, I was a good kid. On a trip to Disneyland as a twelve-year old, give or take a birthday, my parents presented me with an extraordinary opportunity. Unlike the sneaky, smarty-pants, turn-your-back-and-he's-gone kid from first century Nazareth, I didn't give my parents a panic attack as payback for their trust...Then came the vacation where my parents told my older sister and me that we could explore Disneyland on our own. Just meet us at the Mickey Mouse made of flowers by the clock at a designated time. Alleluia! For hours, I did what I wanted when I wanted...
  • Christ and Nature

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    The scientist-theologian, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, in conversation with a Vatican official who was confused by his writings and doctrinally-suspicious of them, was once asked: 'What are you trying to do in your writings?' Teilhard's response: 'I am trying to write a Christology that is wide enough to incorporate the full Christ because Christ is not just an anthropological event but he is also a cosmic phenomenon.' Simply translated, he is saying that Christ didn't just come to save people, he came for that yes, but he also came to save the planet, of which people are only one part...
  • They Grow Up Fast

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    I selected this lovely hymn this morning, "Once in Royal David's City," because of its reference to the childhood of Jesus. It is one of the few places where you will find any reference to the fact that he grew up the way we have too. The third verse reads, "Jesus is our childhood's pattern; day by day, like us he grew." The hymn was part of a fascinating project, one of a series of hymns written by Cecil Alexander, back in 1848, to teach children the meaning of the Apostles' Creed. "Once in Royal David's City" was written to explain that article, "Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary," which in theology is called, "The Incarnation." Alexander interprets "The Incarnation" to mean, "He was little, weak, and helpless, tears and smiles like us he knew." Then she explained in the hymn why it is important for us to know that Jesus was like us. "And he feeleth for our sadness, and he shareth in our gladness."...
  • Don't Keep Christ in Christmas

    by Carl Wilton
    There's a crazy Will Ferrell movie, Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby. He plays a goodhearted — but dimwitted — racecar driver. One of Ricky's idiosyncrasies is that, whenever he sits down to a meal, he folds his hands, bows his head, and offers thanks to 'Lord Baby Jesus'. Ricky's wife, Carley, has heard this many times. Finally she gets up the gumption to call him on it. 'Hey, um, you know, sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don't always have to call him 'baby.'' Ricky replies, curtly: 'Well, I like the Christmas Jesus best and I'm saying grace.'...
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Call

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Wisdom

    Compiled by Jenee Woodward

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • 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)
  • Resolutions for a New Year

    by Mickey Anders
    ("The late Erma Bombeck made these New Year’s resolutions: 1. I'm going to clean this dump just as soon as the kids grow up. 2. I will go to no doctor whose office plants have died. 3. I'm going to follow my husband's suggestion to put a little excitement into my life by living within our budget...")
  • Holy Family

    by Clyde Bonar
    ("In the movie Fiddler on the Roof, while everyone celebrates the wedding of Tevye's daughter, the Czar's troops ride through the wedding reception. Their horses knock over tables, the troops smash dishes. The scene shifts, shows a fiddler playing on the roof...")
  • 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...")
  • Question Time

    by Sid Burgess
    ("My old religion professor listened patiently to me as I pleaded for help in returning to the faith of my childhood. Then he rose from his chair and began to peel books off of his bookshelf. He sent me home not with just one book but with a box full of books...")
  • Christmas 1C (2006)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("Luke 2:51 is the second time Luke tells us that Mary treasured things up in her heart. The first time was after the shepherds popped in to see the infant Jesus. But now this second time follows a troubling and frightening incident. It seems that Mary at least discovered that when it came to her son Jesus, there would be plenty of opportunity to treasure up both wonderful things and perplexingly troubling things...")
  • The Hidden Years of Jesus

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("Most of us live hidden and unheralded lives. I think of my friend Betsy, a stay-at-home mom who left a career as an attorney in order to cook, clean, do laundry, and chauffeur five kids to the dentist, school, birthday parties and sporting events...")
  • The Priority of Family Life

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("A little boy greets his father as he returns from work with a question: 'Daddy, how much do you make an hour?' The father is surprised and says: 'Look, son, not even your mother knows. Don't bother me now, I'm tired.' 'But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour?' the boy insists...")
  • The 25th of December

    by Art Ferry, Jr.
    ("A striking Christmas card was once published with the title If Christ Had Not Come. It was founded upon our Savior's words 'If I had not come'. The card represented a pastor's falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come..." and other illustrations)
  • The Perfect Child

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("A father tells this story, 'As ham sandwiches go, it was perfection. A thick slab of ham, a fresh bun, crisp lettuce and plenty of expensive, light brown, gourmet mustard. The corners of my jaw were aching in anticipation; I carried it to the picnic table in our backyard, picked it up with both hands but was stopped by my wife suddenly at my side...")
  • Joseph's Story

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("You know my name but there is a lot more to my story than you ever realized. To me was given the greatest privilege in the world: to witness the entry of God into the world in human form. Mary and I had known each other for years. Our families traveled from Judea to Galilee when we were both young...")
  • An Old Man's Hope

    Monologue by Bruce Goettsche
  • Holy Family (2003)

    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...")
  • Christmas 1

    by Melford Bud Holland
    ("One of my favorite pictures is a granddad taking a picture of his granddaughter. The picture shows the shadow on a sidewalk of the granddad taking the picture of his granddaughter who had just turned over a rock to seek a bug that had just gone under it...")
  • In the Temple

    by Barbara Lundblad
    ("Twelve is an in-between time, not yet fully grown but no longer a little kid. In some countries twelve year olds are working full-time, picking through garbage dumps searching for copper wire or computer parts to sell, or pounding rocks into small pieces to make gravel, earning pennies a day for their families....")
  • Don't Keep Christ in Christmas

    by Jim McCrea
    ("In a sermon entitled by Richard Johnson, he writes: 'I often think about a conversation I had some years ago with a local physician who, upon learning that I was a pastor, informed me that he was a member of a particular congregation here in Nevada County. 'I only go on Christmas,' he said..." and another illustration)
  • Letting Go

    by Timothy Radcliffe, OP
    ("Billy Elliot is a film about a family from the north of England. They are miners. They live with the threat of unemployment. They are strong, aggressive people. The son of the family is called Billy, and he discovers that he hates boxing, the family sport. He wants to be a ballet dancer. It is a scandal...")
  • Holy Family

    by James Schmitmeyer
    ("There’s a new song on the country stations. It’s sung by Rodney Atkins and is called 'Watching You'. It opens with a father driving down the road with his four-year-old boy strapped in a car seat next to him. The boy is eating a Happy Meal. A light changes to red, the father slams on the brakes. French fries go flying through the air and orange drink covers the boy’s lap...")
  • Where Did Christmas Go?

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Where did the Shepherds Go? Luke tells us that 'they returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen'. Returned where? Probably to sheep tending and their daily chores....")
  • Great Mathematician

    from Today in the World
    ("Karl Friedrich Gauss, considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, first showed his precocious ability at age nine when he was admitted to an arithmetic class. The teacher gave what appeared to be a complicated problem, which in reality could be solved by the use of a simple formula...")
  • Christmas Lessons

    by Keith Wagner
    ("A classic movie that is often shown at Christmas time is Home Alone. In the movie, Kevin, was left behind by his family and for one week he had to manage by himself. He became acquainted with a bag lady in Central Park. They became friends and at one point she helps him when he was being pursued by the bad guys..." and other short illustrations)
  • The Gift of Wings

    by Keith Wagner
    ("I was saddened by the news that a very good friend of mine died this past week. Nancy didn't have an easy life. For most of her life she lived alone in a very small house. She was a bookkeeper and unfortunately she died Christmas Day, her birthday. When she was 18 she became pregnant. Since she lacked adequate resources to raise her child she gave her up for adoption...." and other illustrations)
  • Christmas 1

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("A Rabbi and a Priest were sitting together on a train, and the Rabbi leans over and asks, 'So, how high can you go in your organization?' The Priest says, 'If I am lucky, I guess I could become a Bishop.'...")
  • Jesus In the Temple

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ["When the city leaders of Florence decided to add to the Baptistry of St. John (across from today's famed Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) its second set of bronze doors, a competition was announced. Out of the seven competitors, the two youngest were the ones whose style and brilliance most impressed the judges..."]
  • The Time Is Now

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("Anne Lamott takes a rather offbeat look at this story, in her recent book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Anne examines this story just after she’s had a terrible argument with her thirteen-year-old son, Sam – and that experience colors her perceptions of Jesus and his parents, as you’ll soon see..." and other illustrations)
  • Growing Up

    by Timothy Zingale
    ("Thirty children gathered around their Sunday School teacher to hear her tell about the birth of Jesus. She went all out that day and used straw, a real crib and little stuffed animals which almost looked alive. The children were enthralled with the story and her presentation. She closed by asking each of the children to offer a prayer or thought or whatever they wanted to share about the Baby Jesus..." and other illustrations)
  • Illustrations

    by Timothy Zingale

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

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Other Resources from 2015 to 2017

Other Resources from 2012 to 2014

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Other Resources from 2009 to 2011

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Other Resources from 2006 to 2008

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Other Resources from 2003 to 2005

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Other Resources from 2000 to 2002

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Resources from the Bookstore

  • A Time to Remember

    by William J. Bausch, from More Telling Stories, Compelling Stories
    ("I remember an up-and-down time in my own life when, I guess, I was eight or nine years old and my dad took me fishing, which was not particularly his favorite activity. Actually, the site was a small pond near our house, but to me it was like fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. At that time I kept a little diary - a school project - long since lost, and I remember after that day of fishing I had written, 'Great, wonderful day.'...")

Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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Recursos en Español

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Currently Unavailable