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Arch Book Lectionary Pairings for December 2016

Generations of children and parents have spent time together learning about Jesus while reading Arch Books. We’ve paired up Arch Books with both the three-year and historic one-year lectionaries. It’s a great way to prepare children for worship on Sunday, or to reinforce what they’ve learned throughout the week.

Three-Year Series

December 4, Second Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 11:1–10
Psalm 72:1–7
Romans 15:4–13
Matthew 3:1–12

592207His Name Is John Arch Book. The story of John the Baptist’s birth provides a wonderful opportunity to teach your child about the gifts that God gives. John illustrates that there are no “accidental” births, but “children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). After reading this story together, you could explain to your child that, just as God gave John to Zechariah and Elizabeth, so He also has given your child to you as a special blessing.

December 11, Third Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 35:1–10
Psalm 146
James 5:7–11
Matthew 11:2–15

The Gospel reading tells of Jesus speaking to the crowds about John the Baptist. In Camel’s Hair and Honey (out of print—check your church library for a copy), children learn about John the Baptist. John was a voice in the wilderness, imploring people to turn away from their sin and back to God. John proclaimed that the Messiah was coming. You and your child can be voices in the wilderness too. You can proclaim the good news that the Messiah has come!

December 18, Fourth Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 7:10–17
Psalm 24
Romans 1:1–7
Matthew 1:18–25

Too often Joseph is a forgotten character in the Christmas story, not in Joseph's Christmas Story (out of print—check your church library for a copy). Think about his situation—the woman he is about to marry is going to have a baby, and he is not the father. Yet he trusts in God and obeys His command. Joseph accepts the responsibility and lovingly cares for Jesus as an earthly father.

December 24, The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Eve)

Isaiah 7:10–14
Psalm 110:1–4
1 John 4:7–16
Matthew 1:18–25

In God Promised Us a Savior (out of print—check your church library for a copy), children learn about how “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV). This simple passage is the essence of the Christmas story and all of Holy Scripture. The Christmas season is not the only time of year to tell the wonderful story of God’s gift to us—His Son, Jesus. Whether at work or play, whether at home or away, take every opportunity the Spirit gives to talk with your children about God’s love and care.

December 24, The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Midnight)

Isaiah 9:2–7
Psalm 96
Titus 2:11–14
Luke 2:1–14 (15–20)

592286

The Christmas Connection Arch BookAt a time when the focus seems to be on celebrating a holiday with decorations, activities, and shopping, Christians are called to focus their hearts and minds on the origins of the truly holy day—the birth of our Savior, the birth of the long-awaited Messiah. It’s important for us to remember that the real story of the first Christmas is the love of God for His people and how He shows us that love—through the humble birth and death of His only Son.

December 25, The Nativity of Our Lord

Isaiah 52:7–10
Psalm 2
Hebrews 1:1–6 (7–12)
John 1:1–14 (15–18)

592281The story tells about the coming of the Christ Child the way a small Jewish boy of Jesus’ time would have seen it. It tries to show how very much he would have been waiting for it. It reminds us how he would have been surprised to see the great Prince Messiah, the Lord Christ, as a baby in the place where he put food each day for domestic animals. By and large, the people of Jesus’ day expected the Messiah, or the Lord Christ, to come with kingly power and glory. His coming as their humble Brother went against all they had expected. God’s ways are so different from ours.

December 31, Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus

Isaiah 30:(8–14) 15–17
Psalm 90:1–12
Romans 8:31b–39
Luke 12:35–40

591594Although there is no Arch Book that directly matches with this week’s lectionary readings, Star of Wonder pairs nicely. At last the light has come! The shepherds looked to the sky, heeded the angels’ announcement, and came to see. The Wise Men looked to the sky, followed the star, and came to worship. Even wicked Herod took the sign seriously and did what he could to lessen the impact of this new King. After centuries of God’s people waiting, the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled. God’s promised Savior had come, offering forgiveness, peace, and boundless hope to the sin-darkened world.


One-Year Series

December 4, Second Sunday in Advent

Malachi 4:1–6
Psalm 50:1–15
Romans 15:4–13
Luke 21:25–36

591499Why did God choose Mary to be the mother of His Son? Precisely because she was young, poor, and powerless, just as we are powerless in the face of sin and death. God worked through a humble young girl, a bewildered carpenter, a powerful Roman ruler, and many others to accomplish His plan of sending His Son to be our Savior. Explain to your children that God continues to work through His people today, using us to share His love with others.

December 11, Third Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 40:1–8 (9–11)
Psalm 85
1 Corinthians 4:1–5
Matthew 11:2–10 (11)

The Gospel reading tells of Jesus speaking to the crowds about John the Baptist. In Camel’s Hair and Honey, (out of print—check your church library for a copy), children learn about John the Baptist. John was a voice in the wilderness, imploring people to turn away from their sin and back to God. John proclaimed that the Messiah was coming. You and your child can be voices in the wilderness too. You can proclaim the good news that the Messiah has come!

December 18, Fourth Sunday in Advent

Deuteronomy 18:15–19
Psalm 111
Phil. 4:4–7
John 1:19–28 or
Luke 1:39–56

592207“He will bless . . . both the small and the great” (Psalm 115:13 ESV). The story of John the Baptist’s birth (Luke 1) provides a wonderful opportunity to teach your child about the gifts that God gives. John illustrates that there are no “accidental” births, but “children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). After reading this story together, you could explain to your child that, just as God gave John to Zechariah and Elizabeth, so He also has given your child to you as a special blessing.

December 24, The Nativity of Our Lord   (Christmas Midnight)

Isaiah 9:2–7
Psalm 96
Titus 2:11–14
Luke 2:1–14 (15–20)

592252Oh, Holy Night! Talk to your children about the sounds of the animals in the stable; then ask them to imagine a quiet, dark night with a few twinkling stars and the soft bleating of lambs as they nestled against their mothers. The shepherds were watching their sheep as usual until—the best birth announcement ever—angels gave a concert for the lowly shepherds. The most beautiful voices ever heard on earth were sung that holy night. After you read this book, ask your children what they think Christmas is all about, and sing a carol or hymn that focuses on Jesus. It is when we keep Christ at the center that we can fully experience the joy of Christmas.

December 25, The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Dawn)

Micah 5:2–5a
Psalm 80:1–7
Titus 3:4–7
Luke 2:(1–14) 15–20

592278The familiar carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” contrasts the dark and light—the darkness of night with the light of the star, the darkness of sin with the light of Christ. It may be because of this carol that we think of Bethlehem as a quiet little town, but when Joseph and Mary journeyed there, the town was anything but. It would have been teeming with people, crowded to capacity and quite noisy! And as the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah (Micah 5:2), it would have had the attention of religious leaders of the day, even as the people there had been living out their day-to-day lives for hundreds of years without incident. Talk to your children about God’s chosen birthplace for His Son and how God often uses the small and unlikely to do His will.

December 25, The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Day) 

Exodus 40:17–21, 34–38
Psalm 2
Titus 3:4–7
John 1:1–14 (15–18)

592281This book is intended to help parents and children remember the real story of the first Christmas and the love of God behind it. Our heavenly Father sent us a Savior who did not shrink from being poor and unrecognized. Christ wasn’t even born in a house. We often forget this and tend to be too romantic about the manger in the stable. Mary and Joseph had a hard time of it! The shepherds who welcomed the Christ Child were nobodies of society in that day. Our God chooses hard and strange ways to win back His children. This is why Jesus came. He saves us from the power of sin and brings God’s life back to us.

December 31, Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus

Isaiah 30:(8–14) 15–17
Psalm 90:1–12
Romans 8:31b–39
Luke 12:35–40

592243Although there is no Arch Book that directly matches with this week’s lectionary readings, Once upon a Clear, Dark Night pairs nicely. The story of the Wise Men has developed largely from tradition. There are only a few solid biblical facts we can be sure of: the Magi, a group of distinguished and learned men, came from the East to worship the Christ Child. And they brought with them three symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning “appearance” or “manifestation,” and Magi comes from a Greek word meaning, roughly, “follower.” Christians, followers of Christ, observe Epiphany on January 6 as the day that the Son of God was revealed to the Gentile world.

Read more!

Best Loved Christmas Stories

Link to Christmas book blog post

Written by

Elizabeth Pittman

Elizabeth Pittman is the manager of public relations and CGO at Concordia Publishing House. She received degrees from Valparaiso University and the University of Missouri School of Law. It should come as no surprise that Elizabeth is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus. Her life is very busy raising three active young boys with her husband.

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