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Advent 2018 Family Devotions

by Rev. Rosanna Anderson
Advent Wreath

(Preparation: Make or purchase an Advent wreath. An Advent wreath contains four—usually purple—candles representing the four Sundays leading to Christmas. Many people place a white candle in the center of the wreath.)

First Week of Advent: Hope – December 2, 2018 

Gather together with no distractions to light the first candle and share this time of spiritual fellowship.

First Reader: We light one purple candle as a symbol of hope. Advent means “arrival.” We wait to celebrate Christmas when Jesus first arrived as a baby. We are also waiting for the day when Jesus will return again as the Lord of all.

Second Reader: Let’s listen closely to God’s word for us in our Bible passage.

Jeremiah, chapter 33, verses 14 through 16, says, “‘The days are surely coming,’ says the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’”

Conversation: Take turns talking about those verses. What stood out for you in the Bible passage? Why did it draw your attention? What does it mean for your life today?

Pray aloud together this Family Litany.

One: Dear God, you fill our hearts with hope while we wait for Jesus to arrive.

All: God, you are good! You always keep your promises.

One: Send your Spirit to help us remember that you are faithful when we cannot see you.

All: Let your steady flame of hope keep glowing in our hearts and lives.

One: You are bringing us closer to the day when everyone will know Jesus as Savior.

All: We worship and praise you, Lord. Let the day of your arrival come soon!

 


 

Second Week of Advent: Love – December 9, 2018 

Gather together with no distractions to light the candles on the Advent wreath and to share this time of spiritual fellowship.

First Reader: Today, we light two purple candles for hope and love. God loves the world so much that God sent messengers—the prophets and John the Baptist—to help us cleanse our hearts and minds to get ready for Jesus.

Second Reader: Let’s listen closely to God’s word for us in our Bible passage.

Malachi, chapter 3, verses 1 through 4, says, “‘See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming,’ says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.’”

Conversation: Take turns talking about the Bible passage. What stood out for you in this passage? Why did it draw your attention? What does it mean for your life today?

 

Pray aloud together this Family Litany.

One: Holy God, you sent prophets to help us clear the way for the Messiah.

All: Help us to listen closely to your message of warning and to respond with faith.

One: You have made each person a precious vessel of your Spirit, but we have become tarnished.

All: Thank you for washing away the sin from our hearts so that we will reflect your light.

One: You call us to clear away what is unworthy in our lives and to make room to welcome Christ.

All: May our whole life become an offering that is pleasing to you, Lord.

 

 


 

Third Week of Advent: Joy – December 16, 2018

Gather together with no distractions to light the candles on the Advent wreath and to share this time of spiritual fellowship.

First Reader: Today is the third Sunday in Advent. We light three purple candles (or two purple candles and a pink candle). They are symbols of hope, love, and joy. Our deep joy is a reflection of God’s gracious love. Our joy comes from the greatest gift that only God gives: our sins are forgiven.

Second Reader: Let’s listen closely to God’s word for us in our Bible passage.

Zephaniah, chapter 3, verses 14 through 20, says, “‘Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,’ says the LORD.”

Conversation: Take turns talking about the Bible passage. What stood out for you in this passage? Why did it draw your attention? What does it mean for your life today?

Pray aloud together this Family Litany.

One: Dear God, you are present by your Spirit to defend us against our enemies, sin and fear.

All: You take away our mistakes of the past, so we will not be afraid of judgment.

One: You renew us in your love, rejoicing over each person you have made into a new creation.

All: You give us great joy! Help us share your love with our family, friends, and neighbors.

One: Through Jesus Christ, you draw together the whole human family and lead us home.

All: We look forward to the day when we will praise you with all the peoples of the earth!

 


 

Fourth Week of Advent: Peace – December 23, 2018

Gather together with no distractions to light the candles o the Advent wreath and share this time of spiritual fellowship.

First Reader: Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent. We light four candles for hope, love, joy, and peace. God helps us to wait for the arrival of Jesus, our Lord. He brings lasting peace to people everywhere.

Second Reader: Let’s listen closely to God’s word for us in our Bible passage.

Micah, chapter 5, verses 2 through 5a, says, “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.”

Conversation: Take turns talking about the Bible passage. What stood out for you in this passage? Why did it draw your attention? What does it mean for your life today?

Pray aloud together this Family Litany.

One: Gracious God, long ago you made the shepherd David of Bethlehem a king of Israel.

All: Thank you for raising people from small towns and big cities to follow you in faith.

One: You promised that a Son of David will be the peaceful king whose reign lasts forever.

All: At the right time, you fulfilled your promise in Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

One: Jesus is the good shepherd who peacefully feeds his flock and helps us to live in safety.

All: Help us to show by our calm words and peaceful actions that we belong to you.

 


 

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – December 24 or 25

Gather together with no distractions to light the candles of the Advent wreath and to share this time of spiritual fellowship. Family members might enjoy reading aloud the parts: the narrator, the angel of the Lord, and the shepherds. Everyone may join in as the multitude of the heavenly host.

First Reader: We celebrate the arrival of Jesus, our Lord! We light the four candles for hope, joy, love, and peace. We also light the white candle in the center to remind us of Christ, the light of the world!

Second Reader: Let’s listen closely to God’s word for us in our Bible passage.

Luke, chapter 2, verses 1 through 20, says, “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

Conversation: Take turns talking about the Bible passage. What stood out for you in this passage? Why did it draw your attention? What does it mean for your life today?

Pray aloud together this Family Litany.

One: Dear God, we gratefully celebrate the birth of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

All: You have brought us through this season of waiting. Our hearts are full of your love.

One: We join our voices with the angels, who are always singing joyful songs of praise to you.

All: Glory, glory, glory to God in the highest heaven! Peace to all of God’s people on earth!

One: Make us faithful witnesses like the shepherds who told their neighbors: the Savior of the world is here!

All: The glorious light of Christ shines brightly for everyone. Hallelujah!

Categories: Lectionary and Seasonal, Family Devotionals, Family Ministries — General Resources, Worship, Worship Planning, Services and Liturgies, Advent - Christmas - Epiphany, Advent, Resources for Children, Youth, and Families