The Church proclaims readings from the Book of Isaiah during Advent and on Christmas Day. Use the opportunity to remind your students that the Book of Isaiah actually contains the work of more than one writer, from more than one time. The book of Isaiah is usually divided as follows:
Isaiah 1–39.These chapters are mostly stories about, and sayings of, the actual prophet Isaiah of Jerusalem for whom the book is named.
Isaiah 40—–55.A second, unnamed prophet known as “Second Isaiah” is credited with this portion of the book. Second Isaiah lived at the end of the Babylonian period and the beginning of the Persian period (545–534 B.C.) and likely witnessed the collapse of Babylon to the Persian Empire.
Isaiah 56–66.The final chapters are thought to have been collected by disciples of Second Isaiah (called “Third Isaiah”), writings from Jerusalem and the Diaspora after thexile. These chapters emphasize the importance of the Temple and invite all nations to join Israel as God’s Chosen People.
Have the students read the following passages from the Sundays in Advent and the Midnight Mass of Christmas and write how they refer to the coming of the Messiah and God’s Kingdom.
First Sunday of Advent Isaiah 2:1-5
First Sunday of Advent Isaiah 11:1-10
First Sunday of Advent Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
First Sunday of Advent Isaiah 7:10-14
Christmas at Midnight Isaiah 62:11-–-12