Feel free to create a wreath with four candles around the wreath and one in the center, or just follow along without actual candles. (Children, use the Advent Wreath you created at BLAST on Nov. 28).
Light a Candle
Today we light the candle of hope. With this candle we enter the Advent season and open all the dark places in our lives. As we light this candle, we begin our journey to Christmas in anticipation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our hope now and forever.
Take a few moments to quiet your soul. Rest and become aware of God’s presence. Pray for someone who provided hope for you.
We often find hope through the many Christmas decorations and symbols around us. Take a slow, intentional walk around your house or neighborhood and find something that brings you hope. Either hold it, take a picture of it, or just stop for a moment and pray for places where they need hope.
Reconnect with someone in your contact list that you haven’t talked to recently. Call them or write a note. Connections with others brings hope to us all.
What gave you hope today? What is something kind you did for someone, or someone did for you? Kindness has a way of spreading hope.
Create these amazing stars through folding: https://www.sarahssilks.com/blogs/journal/waldorf-window-stars. Colorful paper is available at the church (and included in the Children’s and Youth bags). Stars give off light. What are some some stories of Scripture that talk about light? Share these as a family. Jesus shared that he was the light of the world. The wise men followed a star to find Jesus when he was born. Read John 1:1-5. Light brings us hope. Look for other places where you see light today.
Light a Candle
Today we light the candles of hope and peace. Jesus Christ will give us peace when we turn to Him in faith. The Prophet Isaiah calls Christ “The Prince of Peace” and asks us to prepare our hearts so that He may come in.
Quiet your soul and push the rush of the Advent season out of your mind. Mindfully envision something that brings you peace. Rolling waves at the beach? A sweet lullaby? A delicious cup of coffee? Rest and focus on the peace of all that God provides.
Take a walk and look for 5 things in nature that bring you peace. Walk slowly, mindfully focusing on your breath and the things around you. Gather each item (or take a picture) as you walk and examine them at the end.
Who might God be calling you to offer comfort and peace today? Call or write them a note.
Think back through your day in God’s presence focusing on the gifts of the day. Notice your work, the people you encountered, activities you engaged in, what brought you peace. God is in the details!
Find a candy cane (for children and youth, you should have one in your bag). Sometimes, finding peace, means slowing down and savoring/enjoying the things around you. What does a candy cane look like? What does it smell like?
If you use your imagination, a candy cane looks like a staff that might have been used by a shepherd to herd sheep. Jesus calls himself the good shepherd. Talk with your family about how Jesus being our shepherd can bring us peace. A candy cane, if you turn in upside down, also makes the letter J, which is the first letter for Jesus’ name. Are there other ways that this candy cane reminds you of Jesus? Share with your family.
Peppermint is often a smell that can help us focus, relax, and feel at peace. In this busy season, slow down and savor this treat!
Light a Candle
Today we light the candles of hope, peace, and joy. The good news of Jesus’ birth brings us and all people the greatest joy there is.
Sing a song as you light your candle today. A song that you might enjoy singing is “Joy to the World.” Think about what brings you joy.
Sing for Joy
A huge part of rejoicing and joy is singing. Sing some of your favorite Christmas songs and think about how music, even in the midst of weariness can bring light and joy.
Call someone who you know has experienced a joy in their lives—maybe they aced a test, got an award, or became a grandparent. We are called to share our joys and sorrows with one another.
What does it mean to rejoice? How is joy the same of different from happiness? Who brought joy or happiness to you today?
For children and youth, find the bells in your bag. Ring the bells to the beat of Christmas songs. Do you have other things in your home that can be used as a musical instrument? Play them and create a joyful noise! Find somewhere to hang your bell that will bring joy and fun—it might be on your Christmas tree, a dog’s collar, or on your wrist.
Youth and parents meditate on this quote, “Ring the bells that can still ring. Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen
Light a Candle
Today we light the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love. We light the candle of love because we know that Jesus is love. It is our hope during this Advent season that His love will grow inside us, and we will share His love with each other.
Imagine your love like a light, starting small in your heart, then reach out to the people closest to you, then finally reaching out to touch those further and further away. Spend a few moments praying for those who need love and light in their lives.
As you take a walk today, think about when you felt or seen God’s love? How can we show God’s love each and every day?
Call or write someone today to tell them that you love them.
What does it look like when love and faithfulness meet? Think about this and jot down a few notes.
Have a family craft night where everyone in the family can make a gift for another person. Talk about how you have experienced love through a gift someone has given you (it doesn’t have to be tangible).
Today we light the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love. And we light the center candle – the Christ candle – because Jesus, the Light of the World, is born. As this candle burns, we celebrate with great joy, because Jesus Christ took on human flesh and was born of Mary in the Bethlehem. On this holy night, shepherds and outcasts heard the good news: The Son of God has come into the world to be the Savior of the world! May the joy of that Good News be always found in our hearts.