Vox Pastoris

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Level I Presentation Descriptions: Messianic Prophecies

We concentrate on Messianic Prophecies during the season of Advent, the season of preparation for Christ's birth at Christmas. The prophecies show how God prepared His people to recognize and welcome the Baby Jesus by giving messages through His prophets about this Child. We teach the children that these prophecies are about Jesus and that they help us to know Him better. As Sofia Cavalletti explains, "Prophetic language is composed of images and consequently it corresponds very well to the capacities of even young children" (The Religious Potential of the Child, 106).

There are five presentations under the subject of Messianic Prophecies:

  1. The Prophecy of the Light
  2. The Prophecy of the Names
  3. The Prophecy of the Mother
  4. The Prophecy of the City
  5. The Prophecy of the Star and Scepter

The first prophecy that we introduce to the children is the Prophecy of Light: "The people who walked in darkness / have seen a great light" (Isaiah 9:1 or 9:2, depending on the translation). The image of Jesus as Light is a powerful one for the children and recurs in many presentations throughout the three years in the Level I Atrium.

The Prophecy of the Names gives the children several titles for Jesus that help us contemplate His identity: "For to us a child is born, / to us a son is given; / and the government will be upon his shoulder, / and his name will be called / 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, / Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'" (Isaiah 9:5 or 9:6). These names also offer the children language for prayer.

The Prophecy of the Mother talks about the Blessed Virgin Mary and gives the children another name for Jesus (Immanuel, "God with us"): "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

The Prophecy of the City names the birthplace of the Messiah and gives a striking contrast of the great ruler born in a small city: "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, / who are little to be among the clans of Judah, / from you shall come forth for me / one who is to be ruler in Israel" (Micah 5:1).

The Prophecy of the Star and Scepter gives signs that Jesus will be the great King: "A star shall come forth out of Jacob, / and a scepter shall rise out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17). In another presentation, the children hear about the star that the wise men followed to see the newborn king. We also tell them that a scepter is like a shepherd's staff and is another sign of a king.

In all of these prophecies, the catechist stresses that God had a plan to give us Jesus and that He wanted us to be ready to welcome Him. For further reading about Messianic prophecies in the atrium, see The Religious Potential of the Child, pages 106-108 and 132, and The Good Shepherd and the Child, page 96.

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