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It’s the second week of Advent so we are thinking about peace. Sometimes peace can seem like a distant thing that only people in war stricken countries have to worry about but we have plenty of opportunities to make peace with ourselves, with others and with God.

Our Scripture story this week tells us about when Mary went to visit Elizabeth and our Music Resource gives us the beautiful song, the Magnificat, which are the joyous words that Mary proclaimed when she knew that she had been chosen as the Mother of God.

Our Picture Resource will help us to think about the way that we share peace with others during Mass and perhaps, on a daily basis.

Our Action gives us chance to reflect in a calm and peaceful atmosphere so that we can think about whether we are at peace in our own lives and what we can do to bring ourselves more peace.

Finally our Video Resource gives us hope that even in the darkest times peace can still be found and reassures us that the love of God and the peace that loving our neighbour brings is a strong and powerful thing.

Throughout the week reflect on the different types of peace that we can think about during Advent and think about where you need to bring more peace into your own life, and into your relationships with others.

Scripture Bank

If you would like to reflect on some more of the scriptures related to this topic then you can use some of the scripture references below.

Most of these are taken from Open Bible – you can use their Topical Bible Search facility to find lots more ideas! Just remember to change the Bible translation to ‘Good News Translation’ when you click on the link!

If you have found any pieces of scripture that you think link to our theme this week then please add them in the comments box below to share the Good News so that we can all enjoy them!

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Isaiah 26:3

Matthew 5:9

Romans 12:18

Hebrews 12:14

1 Corinthians 14:33

Proverbs 12:20

Colossians 3:15

1 Peter 3:9-11

Romans 14:19

Isaiah 54:10

Luke 2:14

Psalm 29:11

John 14:27

Click here for the Music Resource

The words of this week’s song are the words that Mary used when she went to visit Elizabeth, it is called the Magnificat.

Listen carefully as she sings her praise for God.

Choose a line which you think is the most important/ interesting/ powerful.

This is a beautiful song which can be used as a Psalm in Mass.

Share the line that you picked out from the Magnificat and try to say why you chose it.

At first Mary was a bit alarmed when she was visited by the Angel Gabriel but when she goes to visit Elizabeth she is now at peace with the news that the Angel brought her and is in fact joyful and praises God.

As soon as she heard that her cousin was pregnant Mary rushed to help her and therefore she magnified the goodness of God by sharing the love that had been shared with her.

A man called Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said that Mary the Mother of God is like “a magnifying glass that intensifies our love of her Son.” By seeing the great love and example of Mary we are able to be more like her and to be more like Jesus who showed love to everyone.

Mary shows how humble she is because she describes herself as “lowly” because she does not think that she is important enough for such a big job. In this way she is showing that she is God’s humble servant and that she will give her life to God.

Do you rejoice when you have been given a big, important job to do?

Do you think you are like a magnifying glass who helps to make everyone’s love for Jesus stronger?

Are you humble? Do you let other people shine around you so that everyone’s gifts, talents and achievements can be recognised?

To help us to be joyful, humble examples during Advent let’s ask Mary to help as we say together…

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

Amen

Click here for the Picture Resource

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What is happening in this picture?

What do we call this action during Mass?

Why do we have this part of the Mass?

The sign of peace, that we share by shaking the hands of those around us, comes from the words of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel:

So if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.

Matthew 5: 23-24

When we go to Mass we are offering ourselves to God but we can’t do that if we are not trying to be like God by being at peace with those around us by sharing our love and forgiveness with them.

Jesus told us to make peace and then to offer our gift to God.

The sign of peace is not always a handshake, it might be a kiss or a hug. The idea of using a handshake comes from ancient times where people often carried weapons and therefore, to shake hands and show an empty hand truly showed that they were making peace with the other person because they did not have a weapon in their hand.

Think about what it means to be at peace with those around you. To forgive them, to forget mistakes, to avoid arguments and disagreements with them.

Take the time to offer the sign of peace to those around you. As you do it remember to say the words that Jesus used “Peace be with you” and to look people in the eye as you say it.

Click here for the Action

Start this Action by making sure that everyone has one strip of purple paper and one strip of white paper, and something to write with.

You will also need some glue or sticky tape.

Underneath this box is some music that you could use as you complete the Action below.

When we think of peace we tend to think of wars and conflicts around the world and don’t necessarily think about the peace that we need in our own lives.

Today we are going to take some time in peace and quiet to try to bring some peace into our lives.

Let’s start by thinking about our own lives and where we might need to make peace.

Think about the questions below carefully and then, using the purple strip of paper, write or draw the things that you need God’s help with so that you can make peace in your own life. We will be using these pieces of paper to create something in a few moments….

  • Is there anyone that you have fallen out with and need to say sorry to?
  • Is there anyone that you do not treat very nicely?
  • Is there anyone that you need to forgive?
  • Have you chosen to argue rather than to make peace?
  • Do you let guilt and regret take over your thoughts instead of making peace with your decisions and choices?
  • Do you make time for quiet, peaceful moments in your life?
  • Do you leave things to the last minute and give yourself lots of stress or do you take care of yourself and give yourself peace of mind?
Although there are lots of things that can drive us away from peace, and each other, there is something much stronger that means that we are not alone and that we have the chance to make a change, bring peace into our lives and do the right thing.

In Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans Paul explains that when it comes to the love of God:

nothing can separate us from his love

(Romans 8: 38)

While we may not be at peace with ourselves or with other people God’s love continues and when we forgive each other, say sorry for what we have done wrong and, make time for peace in our own lives we will be at peace with God and we will be able to share in that great love with Him.

To represent this great and constant love write “God” on your strips of white paper.

To show that God’s love still brings us together in peace, even when we find it difficult to make peace, we are going to make a paper chain.

Take your purple pieces of paper and make them into loops using glue or sticky tape. You may want to fold the purple strips so that the writing is on the inside of the loop.

To link all of us together in peace take the white strips of paper representing God’s love and, with the writing on the outside, use these white strips of paper to link each of the purple strips together to form a chain.

Display this paper chain in your classroom to remind you all of the opportunity that each one of us has to bring peace and love into our lives by accepting the help that God offers to us.

Jesus you said to your disciples, “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you.”

Help us to be faithful disciples and to share this peace with everyone that we meet so that we may be more like you.

Amen.

Click here for the Video Resource

In a week where we are thinking about peace and the visitors that we welcome into our lives it is important to reflect on those times when there has not been peace and there has instead been war, fighting and anger.

It can be difficult to imagine how peace could be found in the midst of a war but this Advent there is a Christmas advert that helps us to see that even in the darkest, most troubled times there can still be space and an opportunity for peace.

How does the story shown in the video make you feel?

If you had been one of the soldiers in those trenches do you think that you would have been able to make peace with the other soldiers?

Making peace with someone isn’t always easy, especially when we would call that person our ‘enemy’ and we know that they have been persecuting the people we love.

Even in today’s world we hear lots of stories in the news and the media about people we should call our enemy and that we should be at war against.

The story above goes to show that even in the midst of war and destruction there are good people who can make good and peaceful choices.

The question is, will that person be you?

Where can you bring peace this Advent?

Is it by leaving someone in peace and quiet?

Is it by reconciling with someone and forgiving them?

Is it by encouraging those around you to make peace with one another?

Is it by choosing to make peace with people rather than to fight and argue and blame?

Help us Jesus to bring peace to the world just like you did.

Even in times where there are arguments and there is fighting help us to be the people who make the right choices and bring peace to those around us.

Amen.

Click here for the Scripture Resource

So far in our Advent journey we have heard about two great women who learnt that they were about to have a baby.

This week we hear about when Mary went to visit Elizabeth.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

(Glory to you O Lord.)

Soon afterward Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me? For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. How happy you are to believe that the Lord’s message to you will come true!”

Mary said,

“My heart praises the Lord;
    my soul is glad because of God my Savior,
    for he has remembered me, his lowly servant!
From now on all people will call me happy,
    because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me.
His name is holy;
    from one generation to another
    he shows mercy to those who honour him.
He has stretched out his mighty arm
    and scattered the proud with all their plans.
He has brought down mighty kings from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has kept the promise he made to our ancestors,
    and has come to the help of his servant Israel.
He has remembered to show mercy to Abraham
    and to all his descendants forever!”

Mary stayed about three months with Elizabeth and then went back home.

The Gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.)

Luke 1: 39-56

Why do you think Mary went to visit Elizabeth?

What was Elizabeth’s reaction to her visit?

Why do you think that Mary visited Elizabeth for such a long amount of time? (Check the scripture from last week if you’re struggling to work out why!)

As you can see from the video, it can be difficult to make the journey to see others or to welcome visitors when they do arrive.

Having someone new around, in a place that is ours can be a lot of hard work, and it can feel like we don’t get a moments peace to ourselves because it’s all about the special visitors!

How do you feel when you have a visitor?

Is it different if you have a visitor at your home/ school/ church?

How do you react to visitors when they arrive?

How do you make visitors feel welcome and at peace after their journey to visit you?

People can travel a long way to see us and to spend time with us so it is important that we treasure that and make them feel welcome.

Jesus is with us all the time but we still need to welcome Him into our lives and be at peace with Jesus by following in His footsteps and living a life full of love.

Think about how you can welcome Jesus into your life throughout this time of Advent.

Help us Jesus during this second week of Advent to welcome visitors from near and far into our lives.

Help us to make the effort to make them feel at peace and to greet them with a smile.

Amen.