devozine

Spiritual Practice

Stuff to Do for Advent 2017

Anne Crumpler

Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, are days of waiting: waiting for the coming of Christ, newborn in a stable, and waiting for God’s coming kingdom, God’s new world of hope, love, joy, and peace. Christ has already come, but we’re still waiting for God’s kingdom. Waiting doesn’t have to mean twiddling our thumbs. It can be a way to prepare for Christmas—to still our hearts for the coming of Christ and to live our lives for the coming of God’s new world.

HOPE

DECEMBER

Collect five candles of different shapes and sizes. Light one of the candles. Spend a few minutes in silence. Ask God to help you wait expectantly.

4  Pray: “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Consider what this means for your life and for the world.

5  Gather supplies to make God’s Eyes. Buy popsicle sticks and yarn in dark and light colors.

6  Read Isaiah 9:2–7. What is the darkness in our lives? In what ways is Christ the light?

7  Give a family hope for the future. Buy a flock of chickens from Heifer Project International.

8  God's eye2Make God’s Eyes. Cross two popsicle sticks, and crisscross yarn several times around the center. Then tie on another color of yarn. Wind it around one stick, over then under; pull it to the next stick in the circle, and wrap it over then under the second stick. Keep wrapping around each stick, pulling the yarn tight. When you are ready, add a new color and repeat. When the yarn nears the end of the sticks, knot the yarn. Add a loop to hang the God’s Eye.

 Sing or pray the words of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

LOVE

10  Light two candles. Listen to “Love Came Down at Christmas.”

11  Reflect on the painting “The Annunciation” by Fra Angelico. (Find it in a library or online.) What is happening in the picture? What does the way the figures are posed say about their personalities or their emotional states? If you were Mary, how would you respond to the angel’s news?

12  Make more God’s Eyes. Use them to practice intercessory prayer: As you wrap each stick, name a person or a situation, asking God to bring healing and love to broken lives.

13  Read Luke 1:46–55. Mary rejoiced because God had chosen her to bear the Messiah, who would change the world. What were some changes that Mary expected?

14  Take pictures of God’s love at work in the world. Share them on Instagram or as Creative Work on www.devozine.org.

15  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. Offer others the light and love of Christ.

16  Pray Mary’s prayer (Luke 1:38, NRSV): “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

JOY

17  Light three candles. Read Luke 2:1–7. In your town, where would Mary and Joseph have stayed?

18  Look up joy in a thesaurus. Imagine a world filled with joy.

19  Take a walk. Sing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” or “Joy to the World.”

20  Hang God’s Eyes on the Christmas tree or give them as gifts. Celebrate that God watches over us all the time.

21  Not everyone thinks Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” If you or people you know are sad, afraid, lonely, angry, or grieving, attend a “Longest Night of the Year” service. Pause for a moment on the actual longest night of the year to notice the pain within you, to acknowledge the pain around you, and to allow God to be truly present with you in the darkness.

22  Invite your family and friends to go Christmas caroling. Visit people and places that need to hear a message of hope and joy.

23  Call friends. Wish them a joyful Advent.

PEACE

24  Light four candles. Sing or listen to “Silent Night.” Read Luke 2:8–20. How do the angels describe the Messiah? What is their promise for God’s kingdom?

25  Gather family and friends. Light all five candles. Tell the Christmas story, with each person in turn adding a sentence. Pray: “Thank you, God, for the gift of Jesus Christ. Still our hearts and calm the nations to receive your kingdom’s peace. Amen.”

 

devozine Manger FTR TSP 116142664DIG DEEPER

Beginning December 3rd, the first Sunday of Advent, let these practices prepare your heart as you wait for Christ’s coming—and for the wait that continues even after Christmas. Jesus Christ was born. But God’s promise of a new world hasn’t come yet. It’s a someday promise. Someday, God will dwell with God’s people; and the whole earth will be transformed in hope, love, joy, and peace. How do we wait? Anticipating love, we love our neighbors. Looking forward to a world at peace, we get involved in peacemaking in neighborhoods and schools. Expecting the sheer joy of God’s presence, we sing from door to door, “Joy to the world; the Lord has come!” How can you anticipate God’s coming kingdom?

Back To Home

To Order Devozine Magazine, call 1.800.972.0433.

Clicky