Note to the Teacher
The second week of Advent brings with it a sense of familiarity; we become more comfortable with the rhythms of Advent as we settle into the season. This lesson invites participants to pause and be mindful of God’s transforming peace. The opening activity is a prayer practice offering our worries to God. The scripture invites us to consider the attributes of God that ground us in our faith and hope. The activity is a simple, fun activity to allow space for connection and mindfulness of God’s presence.
Icebreaker (5-10 minutes)
“Let it Go” – Open your time together by sharing joys and concerns (highs/lows). Explain that today’s lesson explores God’s comfort and peace. Our faith grounds us by giving us hope that as we experience struggles, God can transform them into good.
Choose from the following:
Option 1 - Flush: Invite participants to write something they are struggling with on a piece of toilet paper. Write with a washable marker or pencil. Then, together as a group, go to a toilet and flush the struggles. (Acknowledge the silliness of this activity but remind everyone that God is always present with us, even in the bathroom.) Say a prayer of thanksgiving for God taking the struggles and transforming them into good. (Note: if you choose this option, have an extra adult or two on hand to watch the bathroom doors and to explain to any floating adults what is going on; invite them to participate; they may enjoy this creative prayer activity!)
Option 2: Have a small firepit or safe way of burning small pieces of paper. Have participants write their struggles on a piece of paper with a pencil and then carefully place the paper in the fire. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for God transforming our struggles into good things and invite God’s peace to be with everyone. This activity can be made more exciting if you purchase and use flash paper. Make sure to watch a tutorial on how to use flash paper safely if you make this choice.
Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Isaiah 40:1-11; Mark 1:1-8
- Discussion (10 minutes)
- One name for God is Comforter or Holy Comforter. What does the Isaiah passage say about God as Comforter?
- What other names for God do you see in this passage? (Shepherd; Guide; Leader; the Lord; Glory; Breath of God; Ruler; Sovereign.) Which of these names do you like best and why?
- What other attributes of God do you see in this passage? (faithful; comforter; glorious; redeemer; enduring love; powerful; mighty.) Which of these attributes do you think our church recognizes most often?
- How does the Mark passage bring comfort to those who are struggling or waiting?
- Where in your life (or in the world) do you sense the need for God’s comforting presence?
Activity and Discussion (15-20 minutes)
Choose one of the following activities:
Option 1: Decorate your youth space for Christmas. Share favorite Christmas traditions and how they bring you comfort and peace.
Option 2: Bake/Decorate Christmas Cookies – Make cookies to take to shut-ins or to another group of people who could use some comfort and encouragement.
Option 3: Make Peace Sign Christmas ornaments, either to keep or give to someone else.
Total Time: 45-55 minutes
Materials for whatever activity option you choose; Option 1: decorations for the youth room; Option 2: cookies to bake or decorate and toppings to decorate them like sprinkles and icing; Option 3: wood circles or clear plastic ornament balls or plastic container lids; paint markers; ornament hangers.