Yes, that Christmas; but no, not that Epiphany.
Years ago the mother of one of my students (Abby) made me a terrific little thank-you note which still sits on the base of my computer screen. I should mention that Abby was a Very Good Student. She must be about 19 years old now, a young woman.
This year I am teaching Abby’s younger sister, Katie. We’re getting close to Christmas, and before Wednesday night’s class started, I received another thank-you from their mother; this time in the form of a Christmas-tree ornament. I’ll have to tie it around the base of my computer screen.
In class we we covered bits of prophecy by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi. I read each passage and the kids figured out what each one prophesies. Mostly they anticipate something about Jesus, but not always. This is the bit I read from Daniel:
“…lo, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him… Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads stood before him.”
The kids will readily connect this to the Second Coming. I’ll say a bit about the ‘son of man,’ and tell them to look out for Jesus quoting Daniel after he’s arrested. (“I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy.”)
But before I could get to any of that, Abby’s-younger-sister-Katie blurted out, “That’s the same as the song at church last Sunday!” And I’m looking at her: huh? what? Last Sunday we had that song! Umm…ok…yes, yes, we did, genius daughter, this one!” and I sang the opening verse, more or less:
“Lo! he comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
something-something of his train:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Christ the Lord returns to reign.”
“That’s an Advent hymn! Yes daughter, we just started Advent last week! The words are based on Daniel’s prophecy! You are too smart! By the way y’all, lots of hymn lyrics are taken from the Bible, so pay attention, you may recognize stuff from class in the hymns. And if you do, you will of course point it out to your parents.”
I should mention that like her sister Abby, Katie is a Very Good Student.
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