1. Most of our New Testament classes are about the Gospels, but I treat them collectively, not separately. I mention to the kids that Matthew, Mark and Luke’s Gospels have a common point of view (syn-optic); and John’s is different.
2. Sorting out the conceptions and births of John the Baptist and Jesus.
3. After Jesus’ birth, a “messenger of the Lord” tells Joseph to flee to Egypt. A quick map shows the Med, Jerusalem, the Tigris & Euphrates, the Nile, and the city founded by that Greek guy…Alexander! Jesus and his family may have lived among Alexandria’s large Jewish community.
4. The round calendar leads into discussion of art handouts depicting the Annunciation and the Platytera. This is a basic Platytera with two
houseflies seraphim in attendance.
5. Explaining the Greek abbreviation for Mother of God.
6. The calendar leads to a quick review of John the Baptist’s conception, and later presentation at the Temple.
7. John the Baptist’s ministry. Upper right shows John baptizing Jesus while the Holy Spirit hovers, and the Father riffs on Isaiah: the Trinity.
8. John tells the Pharisees and Levites who come to quiz him, “Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” That is, being one of the Chosen People isn’t enough; each believer must also bear good fruit, which means…doing good stuff! Yes, as the Bible would say, doing good works.”
9. A couple of the Spanish-speakers explain a Quinceañera; I extend that concept to young women who are debutantes. I compare these coming-out events to Jesus’ debut at the Jordan river: he will now be a much-talked-about public figure for the next three years.