The Sunday School Report

Today was the first Sunday of Advent. I love the season and I always stretch my Christmas lesson out for the full four Sundays of advent. I usually try to find a craft project of some kind.

Last year we made nativity ornaments.
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The year before we made a huge bulletin board.
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One year we made nativity books.
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This year we’re making nativity ornaments out of white clay. I might even try a recipe for homemade polymer clay because my first recipe seems kinda brittle. Photos of that to come later.

Anyway, today I wanted to record yet another reason we need to keep translating the Bible. Language changes. Words change meaning. Children don’t have a full and rich vocabulary in their heads at grades 5 and 6. Here is a conversation my my class this morning:

Me, reading Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

Me: OK, what does “be with child” mean?

Student: A child is with her.

Me: No, it means “she is pregnant.”

Student: Then why doesn’t it say that?

Me: Good question (mumble). Moving on. What is a virgin?

Students: **silence and nervous giggles**

Me, ignoring giggles: A virgin is a woman who is not married and has never had sex.

Student: I knew that. I just didn’t want to say it.

As I understand it, early translations into English didn’t use the word “pregnant” because it was, well, risqué. Now we can’t say “with child” because it makes no sense. We can say “pregnant,” but the word “virgin” is now risqué. (Thanks, Madonna. And no, I’m not referring to the mother of Jesus…)

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