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  Echoing the Word November 2016  
  Vol. 15 No. 5 Christmas: Our Narrative    
Of Shepherds, Stars and Magi
In the ancient world, birth narratives were composed for great people such as kings and heroes. Dr Mary Coloe explores the infancy narratives of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; illustrating how the writers used this literary form to show Jesus’ greatness.
 Editorial
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Christmas: Our Narrative
In this final issue of Echoing the Word Sr Joanna reflects on the purpose and mission of the online journal and expresses our gratitude to all who shared in its work.
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 Liturgies & Activities
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How Well do we Know the Story of Christmas?
Beth Nolen’s activity guides students in exploring the Gospels to reveal the stories of the birth of Jesus. Students identify the differences between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
 
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Liturgy and Copyright
Denise Braddon navigates the difficult issue of copyright and liturgies. She demonstrates how to acknowledge copyright details for song lyrics, the Order of the Mass and Scripture readings.
 
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Love is Born at Christmas and Beyond
Jennifer Callanan offers a ritual to celebrate the Christmas story and our own calling to be God’s love in the world today. Love was born on that first Christmas day and love is born again each day among us.
 
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Matthew's Story of the Birth of Jesus:
What Does it Mean for Us?
Beth Nolen explores the infancy narrative in the Gospel of Matthew in five parts. She encourages students to look at the actual narrative and be aware of the historical realities before reflecting on what the story means for us today.
 
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The Great O Antiphons
Sr Joanna presents us with the beautiful tradition of the “O Antiphons”. This activity can be completed in the classroom or offered to families to pray in the home in preparation for Christmas.
 
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The Jesse Tree
Paul Taouk presents us with a Jesse Tree kit teachers and catechists can send home for families. The Jesse tree helps us recall significant people in salvation history who waited and prepared for the coming of Jesus.
 
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 Movies
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Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Jan Epstein reviews the story of Rick in the movie Hunt For The Wilderpeople, a coming of age comedy.
 
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  Scripture
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God: Hero of the Christmas Stories
God’s desire to be part of the human story, in time and space, comes to fruition in the birth of Jesus. Stuart Moran explores God as the central hero of the Christmas narratives; present in the angelic announcements, dreams and prophetic proclamations.
 
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  Theology
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Christmas Stories
Our Story-Filled World
Tony Densley reflects on the place of story in our lives, and particularly the place of the Christian story of the birth of Jesus. What do the Christmas stories say to us in this present time? How do we read them in light of present global issues and new ways of interaction through social media?
 
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  Reviews & Resources
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Children's Literature
Jan Grajczonek reviews Bee-&-Me by Alison Jay, Tom the Outback Mailman by Kristin Weidenbach, and Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estela.
 
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Resources for Religious Education
Melanie Dooner reviews The Cross: An Australian Journey by Helen Barnes, God Among Us: Australian Images of Jesus by Marie T. Farrell and Tree: A Little Story About Big Things by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley.
 
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  Social Justice
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Born into Oppression
Peter Arndt compares the historical reality of Jesus born into oppression under the Roman occupation with the situation of the people of West Papua under the occupation of Indonesia.
 
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  For the Catechist
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Christmas With Children:
Catechist Tips
Along with the fun and festivity of the “holiday season”, catechists and teachers need to reinforce the meaning of Christmas as the feast of the birth of Jesus. Alison Newell suggests strategies, which include craft, drama and singing, to help children focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
 
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Trust in the Christmas Narratives
Alison Newell reflects on the theme of trust in the Gospel narratives of the birth of Jesus. God trusts Mary and Joseph. In turn, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and magi all demonstrate the gift of trust as they play their roles in this great story.
 
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  Religious Literacy
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Teaching the Significance of Christmas
Through the Infancy Narratives in the Early Years
Each infancy narrative has its own specific significance for our Christian tradition and our identity. Jan Grajczonek outlines key aspects of each of the two Gospel infancy narratives to teach early years children.
 
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