Advent is a beautiful gift of the liturgical calendar. In the midst of our busy lives, it is a season of time devoted to helping us slow down, talk and listen, and prepare ourselves for the birth of Christ. I created “A Family Advent” to equip families with devotionals and hands-on activities to celebrate the season at home.
The kit reflects upon the traditional themes of the season: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. It combines weekly family devotional with a Scripture reading, lesson, music and reflection questions with (nearly) all the materials needed to do an activity together. My hope is that “A Family Advent” may help families carve out a special time each week of Advent to spend time in reflection and preparation for the many gifts God has given to us through the birth of Jesus Christ.
Advent 1: Hope – “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” performed by BYU Vocal Point
Advent 2: Peace – “Child of Peace” performed by Sandi Patty
Advent 3: Joy – “Sing Joy” performed by Peter Meyer
Advent 4: Love – “They Will Know We are Christians” performed by Jars of Clay
Peace of Christ,
Rev. Danyelle Ditmer
Epworth United Methodist Church, Indianapolis
A Family Advent, Letter Size Pages
A Family Advent, Book Print
A Family Advent, Instructions & Materials
A Family Advent, Printable Tags
Day: Pentecost 11B
Lectionary Passage: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 5:2
Object: Jelly Belly jelly beans
Good morning! Today I’ve brought with me one of my favorite candies: Jelly Belly jelly beans. These are very fun to eat because they have all kinds of flavors. Like this one, it’s root beer (eat the jelly bean)… and sure enough, it tastes exactly like root beer! (Continue along this line with 2-3 other flavors to give kids a clear idea that they jelly beans have true to life flavor) Of course, these jelly beans are not actually the real thing. It’s not like we just had some (restate the flavors). But these jelly beans sure come close to the real flavor. You could say that they imitate the real thing perfectly!
That reminds me of our Bible passage for the day. It says that we should be “imitators of God.” Well, that doesn’t mean we are God. It means that we are like God as much as possible. Like these jelly beans. They aren’t really (restate the flavors) but they are imitations of the real thing. We aren’t God, but we can imitate God by loving others and showing that love to everyone we meet. Through us, people can get a taste of the real thing: God’s amazing love through Jesus Christ.
Let’s pray: Help us God to imitate you every day and show others the love of Jesus Christ in all we do. Amen.
Day: Easter 4B
Lectionary Passage: 1 John 3:16-24
Scripture Focus: 1 John 3:18
Good morning everyone! Valentine’s Day was a long time ago, but that’s not the only day in the year when we tell someone they are loved. We could tell a special person we love them any day of the year. Or we could write it in a letter or make a pretty card that says “I love you.”
But, you know, speaking and writing aren’t the only ways to let people know that you love them. There are a ton of other ways! You could give them a hug. You could smile at them or maybe even hold their hand.
It’s easy for most of us to show love to our family and friends, but God wants us to love everyone. That doesn’t mean you have to hug everyone you meet. But it does mean that God wants us to be ready to help others.
In our Bible story for today, we learn that loving others means that we’re willing to help when they are in real need. Like, when we… (this is a great opportunity to list tangible ways children and/or your church in general reach out to people in need).
I hope we will all remember to show our love by our actions!
Let’s pray: God of love, help us tell others that we love them by using our words and our deeds. Amen.
Day: Pentecost 12
Lectionary Passage: Romans 13:8-14
Scripture Focus: Romans 13:10
Good morning boys and girls! I have a question to ask you. Do you think it would be easier to remember 613 rules or one rule? That’s 613 (be sure to emphasize the huge number) verses 1. Raise your hand if you think it would be easier to remember 613 rules. (give the kids time) No one? Is it easier to remember only one rule? You bet!
And that is exactly what we are learning in our passage for today. Paul is explaining that God gave us a lot of rules to help us live a better life, but if we remember just one rule then we will cover them all. So instead of learning all 613 rules, you just need to remember one! Are you ready to hear the one rule we need to know? (let the kids respond) Well, alright! The one rule we need to know is… drum roll please… “Love others as yourself.” If we remember to love other people than we will do everything God wants. Because the kind of love we’re talking about is loving others as Jesus loved us. That kind of love is all about helping people and caring for them no matter what, even if they have been mean to you before. When you love others as yourself, then you are all following all God’s rules.
Let’s pray: Help us God to remember the most important rule is to love others as ourselves. Amen.