[Thanks to our blogging friends who continue to provide us with quotes, links, and ideas during this season.]
Light the first candle
Father: “As we prepare the manger for the Christ child, we also make room in our hearts and minds for Christ’s daily coming. We long for the Christ to return to fully express God’s wonderful ways once again. Such patient waiting and loving preparation embody the essence of Advent. Focus your thoughts on God’s wonderful ways and learn the goodness of waiting in God’s presence.” (Lutheran Advent devotional)
Listen to Chris Rice singing “Welcome to Our World.” (linked from this post on the Dominion Family Blog)
Reader 1: Think about the simple things at Jesus’ birth: the stable, the animals, the shepherds, the manger.
Reader 2: Mary and Joseph understood inward simplicity. They received their child with joy, as a gift from God.
Reader 3: They cared for Jesus and taught Him the best they could; but they knew that it was God’s business, not theirs, to protect Him and to take Him wherever He was supposed to go.
Father: And in the end, they didn’t try to keep Him all to themselves. As He gave Himself away, He gave us a gift as well: the gift of God’s salvation.
Listen to Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma performing The Wexford Carol (linked from this post)
Father: Inner simplicity is not a reality until we can show it outwardly as well. On the next page we have ten rules of outward simplicity—how we can live simply. [note: not included here; I don't want to violate copyright laws.] They should not be seen as laws, but only as an attempt to show what simplicity can mean for our own lives. Let’s read through the ten rules, and talk about how our holiday shopping, eating, decorating, and other celebrating can reflect those ideas. If you look in the Advent booklets, you’ll see some ideas for games and other things we can do together. Maybe each person could pick out one thing they’d like to do over the next few weeks.
(Time for discussion)
Blow out the candle and end with this comment from Queen Shenaynay:
"My father once told me about a small-town ministers' breakfast where all the preachers were asked to share a verse in the Bible that they were particularly fond of and tell why. As they went around the room, one preacher after another cited some well-known verse, the type of verse you would expect to hear at such a time, if you know what I mean. But then they got to an elderly and much-beloved black preacher. He said, "Here's the Bible phrase I lean on every day, my friends: "And it came to pass..." Because everything that comes upon us on this hard old earth, no matter how bad it may be, it doesn't come to stay. Eternity with Jesus Christ is the only thing that will ever come to stay! All the rest just comes to pass." Isn't that wonderful?"