Tag Archives: candle

Advent – Week 4

Candle Lighting

As you gather this week, take a moment to light your advent candle. If you don’t have an advent candle, any candle will do. There is nothing mystical about the candle. Lighting a candle is simply a way of setting apart time for something unique. Let this time be a different kind of time than the rest of your day. Gather with family, or friends, or somewhere quiet on your own and light your candle.

Historically, candles have been lit to represent the presence of God. As you light your candle, take time to acknowledge that God is present. Consider praying a prayer like this:

 

O God, as light comes from this candle,

May the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us,

Warming our hearts and brightening our way.

May Christ our Savior

Bring life into the darkness of this world,

And to us, as we wait for his coming.

Amen.

 

Love

As we remember our Savior coming as a baby and look forward to his return, we can’t help but be overwhelmed by the incredible love God has shown us in the gift of Jesus. It is often difficult for us to understand God’s love for us because God loves us perfectly, and we are not capable of perfect love. We love a lot of things, and some more than others, but we also know that God’s love for us is bigger and greater than our ability to love. As you go throughout this week, celebrating with family and friends, take time to remember that the greatest gift we’ve received is the gift of love that God has shown us through Jesus.

  • When you think of the word love, what ideas come to mind?
  • What is the difference between God’s perfect love and the way we love?
  • How can our love be more like God’s?

 

Read Matthew 1:18-25

  • As you read this passage, what do you think it must have felt like to be Mary and Joseph?
  • Emanuel means “God is with us.” How would you explain that in your own words?
  • How does this passage demonstrate God’s love?

In the passage above, the angel tells Joseph that Jesus would rescue people from their sins. The Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, summarizes how Jesus did that in the first Chapter of Romans.

 

Read Romans 1:1-7

  • The story of what Jesus had done was so central to Paul’s message, that he includes it in his greeting to the people of Rome. As you read this passage, what word or phrase stuck out to you and why?
  • During this season as we remember that Jesus came and what he’s done for us, we also remember that he is coming again. What does that mean for you today?
  • Paul finishes his introduction by proclaiming grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus the Son to his audience. The grace and peace of Christ are deeply needed in our world. How could you show grace and peace this week?

Prayer

As you close your time, take time to pray together or on your own and close with this prayer:

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one God; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

 

 

 


For Families with Children

What do you think of when you hear the word “peace?” Being quiet. Calmness. Freedom. Maybe you feel peace when you’re getting along with others, when you’re going to sleep, or when you’re safe. These all describe feeling peace around us. God sent Jesus, the Savior of the world, for us to have true peace inside us. Another name for Jesus is Prince of Peace. We can have true peace when we trust Jesus to take care of us. Jesus loves us. He wants us to have true peace.

  • What do you think of when you hear the word “peace?”
  • How can we remember that Jesus is the one who gives us true peace?
  • What are ways we can show other people the peace we have in Jesus?

Create a peaceful environment for your family such as sitting together looking at stars outside, turning off electronics, or being in a quiet room. Explain why you feel peace around you. Ask each family member to draw a picture when he or she feels true peace. Then, draw an example when he or she doesn’t have true peace. Discuss ways we can remember that God is our source of peace. Remind your family that Jesus gives true peace inside us.

 


We would love to pray with you! If you have a prayer need, share it with us here.

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Advent – Week 3

Candle Lighting

As you gather this week, take a moment to light your advent candle. If you don’t have an advent candle, any candle will do. There is nothing mystical about the candle. Lighting a candle is simply a way of setting apart time for something unique. Let this time be a different kind of time than the rest of your day. Gather with family, or friends, or somewhere quiet on your own and light your candle.

Historically, candles have been lit to represent the presence of God. As you light your candle, take time to acknowledge that God is present. Consider praying a prayer like this:

 

O God, as light comes from this candle,

May the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us,

Warming our hearts and brightening our way.

May Christ our Savior

Bring life into the darkness of this world,

And to us, as we wait for his coming.

Amen.

 

Joy

During the Christmas season, joy is all around us. Christmas cards and Christmas songs declare that there is much to be joyous about. However, often we believe that joy and happiness are the same thing. There are certainly moments of happiness in joy, but joy has more to do with choosing to trust God in our circumstances. As we wait for the return of Christ, we know that some days will be full of happiness and other days full of sorrow. However, through each day we have the opportunity to choose joy.

  • As a group, or on your own, reflect on why joy is so important.
  • How do we look different from those around us when we choose joy?

When we remember that the source of our joy is that we belong to Jesus, we can have confidence that when we face trouble; he will work all things out.

 

Read Luke 1:46-55

  • Discuss as a group or reflect on your own on what Mary was facing as she spoke these words. How did Mary find joy in difficult circumstances?
  • As you read Mary’s song, what phrase jumps out most to you? How does it connect with you during this Advent season?
  • How does Mary’s song encourage you to choose joy today?

 

The people around Jesus faced many difficult circumstances, and yet they truly understood joy. In the passage we studied this weekend, Jesus praised John the Baptist for what he had done, and yet we know that John ended up in prison and faced an untimely end to his life. Let’s re-read this passage together:

Read Matthew 11:2-11

  • When John’s disciples asked Jesus if he was the Messiah, why do you think Jesus answered the way he did?
  • As you read this passage, what stands out to you most? What is your greatest take away from this passage? If you were going to put Jesus’ words in your own words, what would you say?
  • Throughout John’s ministry and his imprisonment, how do you think he chose joy?

Prayer

As you close your time, take time to pray together or on your own and close with this prayer:

Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

 

 


For Families with Children

During the Christmas season, we remember that Jesus came, and we know that because Jesus came, we are able to have joy. Joy is greater than happiness because it never leaves us. No matter what happens, we have joy in Jesus.

  • What makes you most happy?
  • What is the difference between happiness and joy?
  • What does it mean to have joy even when we aren’t happy?

As a family, come up with a list of ways you can show the joy of Jesus to people around you this Christmas season. Have each person in your family choose one way they can do that this week. Once you’ve each done this, come back and talk about what you experienced.


We would love to pray with you! If you have a prayer need, share it with us here.

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Advent – Week 2

Candle Lighting

As you gather this week, take a moment to light your advent candle. If you don’t have an advent candle, any candle will do. There is nothing mystical about the candle. Lighting a candle is simply a way of setting apart time for something unique. Let this time be a different kind of time than the rest of your day. Gather with family, or friends, or somewhere quiet on your own and light your candle.

Historically, candles have been lit to represent the presence of God. As you light your candle, take time to acknowledge that God is present. Consider praying a prayer like this:

 

O God, as light comes from this candle,

May the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us,

Warming our hearts and brightening our way.

May Christ our Savior

Bring life into the darkness of this world,

And to us, as we wait for his coming.

Amen.

Before you move on, take a moment to discuss or journal about how you want this time to be set apart. What do you want to be different as you spend the next few minutes reflecting?

 

Repent

Repentance isn’t a word we like very much. Often it carries with it feelings of guilt and shame. However, true repentance, or turning away from our disobedience toward God, is part of the way we prepare for Advent. Repentance helps us focus on doing right instead of being right. It also reminds us that life isn’t about us; it’s about God’s love for and desire to rescue everyone.

  • As a group or on your own, reflect on why it is so difficult to repent? What does repentance require you to admit?
  • How is repentance an important part of the Advent season?
  • When you repent, how does that help you align yourself with God’s perspective?

 

Read Matthew 3:1-12

  • As you look at this whole passage, what is John’s message about repentance?
  • What phrase sticks out most to you? Why?
  • On your own, reflect on what this passage means for you in this season of Advent.

As we wait during this Advent season, it is important to remember what we are waiting for. As you read these next verses, think about who Jesus is and what his Kingdom will be like

 

Read Isaiah 11:1-10

  • As you read verse two, what images or ideas come to mind?
  • As you read verses three through five, which phrase sticks out most to you and why?
  • How would you explain verses six through ten in your own words?

Prayer

As you close your time, take time to pray together or on your own, and close with this prayer.

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 


For Families with Children

Love is an incredibly powerful thing. In fact, God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to rescue us so that he could be our forever friend. At Christmas, we remember that Jesus came to be our rescuer.

  • As parents, share with your children why a relationship with Jesus is so important.
  • Ask them to explain in their own words why the love that God showed us through Jesus is so important.
  • Ask your children to come up with some ways they could show the love of Jesus to others this week.

As a family, create a list of ways you could show the love of Jesus to those around you this week. Pick one person in particular and have your kids help you figure out what you might do together to show Jesus’s love to that person.

 


We would love to pray with you! If you have a prayer need, share it with us here.

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Advent – Week 1

Candle Lighting

As you gather this week, take a moment to light your advent candle. If you don’t have an advent candle, any candle will do. There is nothing mystical about the candle. Lighting a candle is simply a way of setting apart time for something unique. Let this time be a different kind of time than the rest of your day. Gather with family, or friends, or somewhere quiet on your own and light your candle.

Historically, candles have been lit to represent the presence of God. As you light your candle, take time to acknowledge that God is present. Consider praying a prayer like this:

 

O God, as light comes from this candle,

May the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us,

Warming our hearts and brightening our way.

May Christ our Savior

Bring life into the darkness of this world,

And to us, as we wait for his coming.

Amen.

Waiting

Waiting is difficult.  In fact, Christmas morning is a great reminder of how difficult waiting can be.

  • What you are most excited about this Christmas season?
  • Share or journal anything special your family traditionally does to prepare for Christmas.
  • If you have children gathering with you, ask them why it is so difficult to wait for Christmas morning. As adults share a memory you have of waiting for Christmas morning as a child.

 

Read Isaiah 9:6-7

  • What do these verses tell us about Jesus?
  • What phrase sticks out most to you? Why?

For many many years, people waited for Jesus to come, and now two thousand years after he came, we are waiting for him to return.

Read Matthew 24:30-31, 36-44

  • How would you describe these passages in your own words?
  • According to this passage, what will it look like when Jesus returns?
  • In this season, what does it mean for you to watch, wait, and prepare for Jesus to return?

Prayer

As you close your time, take time to pray together or on your own, and close with this prayer:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


For Families with Children

As we wait for Jesus to return, we have hope. Hope means that we believe and trust that something good can happen. We believe and trust that Jesus will return someday and make everything right in our world.

  • What is something you are hoping for this Christmas?
  • What does it mean to have hope that Jesus will return?
  • How can we as a family share the hope of Jesus this Christmas?

As a family, come up with a creative way to make a Christmas ornament that represents the hope we have and place it on your tree as you decorate.

 


We would love to pray with you! If you have a prayer need, share it with us here.

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