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Friday, December 7, 2007

Advent Info...

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year: twinkling lights, Christmas trees, secrets and surprises, giving of gifts, Christmas baking – and children excited with anticipation. It is too easy to get wrapped up in all of these things and forget to put Christ as the center of our celebration. One simple way for families to focus on Christ at this time is by celebrating Advent every Sunday during the month of December. Advent refers to the arrival or coming of Jesus Christ as a baby at Christmas, his arrival in word and spirit, and the day when he will return to earth. Celebrating Advent will provide you and you family the opportunity to make some wonderful family memories.

Advent begins the forth Sunday before Christmas. You will need an advent wreath and advent candles. The wreath doesn’t need to be an expensive or fancy one. Advent wreaths can be purchased or you could make one. An advent wreath is a wreath with four inserted candles around the wreath (three purple or blue, one pink or rose colored) and a white one in the middle.
You will need to :
Decide the time and place for your family: on on Sunday or also each day during the week.
Purchase or make and advent wreath.
Select a Bible and, for younger children, a children's’s bible or bible story book
Gather music for singing Christmas carols: cassette tape, CD piano or guitar.

Prepare the following:
Select the scriptures you will use and be familiar with them so that you can lead a short discussion about heir meaning.
Select the Christmas carols you will use.

The first Sunday of advent:
The Prophecy Candle

This candle reminds us that God always keeps his promises. On the first Sunday of Advent, gather the family together and light the first blue candle. This candle reminds us that hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God promised he would send a savior to save us from our sins. Read and discuss one of the advent scriptures. Close by holding hands around the advent wreath, pray and have one child blow out the candle (you will follow this same general procedure each Sunday until Christmas).

Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:21-23

Father, please bless us as we get together and uses our advent wreath. Help us to take time to learn more about the gift of your son, Jesus, through our study of the bible. Thank you for keeping your promises to send us a savior.
We love you, Amen.

The Second Sunday of Advent:
The Bethlehem Candle

On the second Sunday, light two blue candles, the prophecy candle and a new one. The Bethlehem candle is a reminder of the promise god made that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Take turns reading the verses below, then talk about them. How did god know where Mary would be when it was time for the baby to be born? What happened that made Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem. Sing, “O little town of Bethlehem” as you hold hands around the advent wreath. Close in prayer, thanking god for the greatest gift ever given: his son, Jesus Christ.

Micah 5:2 and Luke 2:1-7

Dear lord, thank you for giving us clues so we would know Jesus was really your son!

The Third Sunday of Advent:
The Shepherd Candle
On the third Sunday, you will light the first and second candle and the rose candle. This candle reminds us of the joy of the Christ Child and is sometimes known as the Shepherd Candle. Rose is a sign of joy and hop that He is coming. The shepherds were so excited about what they had seen and heard that they went about telling everyone they saw. These first three candles are lit each night of this week as you read and discuss the Scripture for that day.

Luke 2:8-12 and Luke 2:15,16

Dear God, thank you for telling us about your wonderful plan. It gives us joy to know you love us so much that you would send your only Son to earth. Help us to be like the angels and tell others about the Good News!

The Fourth Sunday of Advent:
The Angel Candle
On the fourth Sunday, you will light all four candles. The last blue candle is often called The Angel Candle and represents the part the angels had in announcing “Good news of great joy” – the birth of Jesus! All four candles are lit each night that week as you read and discuss the various Scriptures.

Luke 1:26-31 and Luke 2:13,14

Lord, thank you for your angels that came to help Mary and Joseph understand your plan. It must have been wonderful to see the angel choir. Thank you for writing it in the Bible so we could know about it.

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