Advent Week 1: Hope

Week 1 Hope

Advent sneaks up on me every single year, but especially this year because Thanksgiving was so late! I stuffed my face with turkey and pie and turn around and BAM! Advent is staring me in the face! Advent is my favorite season of the year. No, not the Christmas season, but ADVENT. Advent is the four Sundays prior to Christmas where we prepare our hearts for the coming birth of Christ.

The United Methodist Church (and other denominations) light candles on an Advent wreath each week prior to Christmas Eve and a white “Christ” candle in the middle on Christmas Eve. I know that not all traditions do an advent wreath, so I explain about the wreath and have some beautiful candle-lit pictures.
Celebrating Advent at Home: The Advent Wreath
The United Methodist Church puts out a Advent Worship at Home for families to light the candles and celebrate each week just as the church does, but I found myself needing to adjust it quite a bit for my family with such young kids. So I thought I would share my adaptation of the church’s home worship.

Advent Week 1: Hope

First Reader: This is the first Sunday in Advent. Today, we light one purple candle. This is the candle of hope. Advent is a time of waiting and hoping. We wait for the day when we celebrate again the birth of Jesus. We hope that everyone will come to know and worship God.

(Light the first purple candle)

Second Reader:  When we look at the first candle, we remember God’s promise.  God promised to send a someone to save the people. God fulfills his promises and takes care of his people. God brings peace and all of this gives us hope. Again we wait excitedly for the birth of baby Jesus.

Sing: Oh Come Let us Adore Him
Matt Redman- Oh Come Let us Adore Him (video with lyrics from youtube)

Read Jeremiah 33:14-16
The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.

Prayer: Dear God: Thank you for your son, Jesus. Thank you for the words of Jeremiah, the prophet, that remind us that you are the source of our hope. Help us to live each day with hope and to share hope with everyone around us. AMEN.

Most of this comes straight from the Advent Home Worship. I re-worded and re-wrote a few things so that my smaller kids could understand it better. I also left out the discussion and shortened a few other parts. Definitely check out the one made by the United Methodist Church!
Advent Worship at Home

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get to this on Sundays. Just try and do it sometime during that week. My parents did this with us every year growing up and it is one of my most powerful memories. I hope that these help you and your family enjoy the Advent season together and keep Christ in the center!

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Celebrating Advent at Home: Advent Calendar & Jesus Tree

Advent Calendar and Jesus Tree

Last year we hung the stockings on one long string instead of the frame.

Last year we hung the stockings on one long string instead of the frame.

In addition to our weekly tradition of lighting the Advent Wreath, my husband and I wanted to do something small with the kids each day to celebrate Advent and again keep the focus on Jesus.  If you want to know more about Advent, check out my Advent vs Christmas post.

Many people do an “Advent” calendar where each day leading up to Christmas you open the door/pocket/stocking and there is a small gift inside. I would probably rename these Christmas calendars because although lots of families enjoy doing these, those calendars do not have anything to do with Advent.  Advent is for preparing for Christ not Christmas. So I took that idea and turned it into a true Advent tradition for our family. I picked 24 Scriptures and 24 names for Jesus. One for each day in December leading up to Christmas. Each day we will read a part of Jesus’ story from the bible and put an ornament on our “Jesus Tree” that has a name for Jesus. The scriptures range from prophecies about the coming of Jesus, to the preparing a way for Jesus, and Jesus’ birth.

How we do our Advent Calendar

Our advent calendar with 24 mini stockings with scriptures and ornaments inside

Our advent calendar with 24 mini stockings with scriptures and ornaments inside

I made the Advent calendar in the picture with small stockings hung on small rope. On each stocking I painted a number for the corresponding day of December leading up to Christmas. Inside each stocking is a printed card with the scripture for the day and a small ornament with a name of Jesus.

Each ornament has a different name for Jesus. This one is God with Us.

Each ornament has a different name for Jesus. This one is God with Us.

Every night after PJ’s are put on and teeth are brushed, we get together and do our Advent Calendar. The kids pull out the ornament with a name of Jesus and the card with the scripture on it out of the stocking that corresponds to that day. We sit down together as a family and Daddy reads the scripture and then we tell them what ornament says. Then they hang the ornament on our Jesus Tree.

Our small Jesus tree ready for ornaments.

Our small Jesus tree ready for ornaments.

Here are the scriptures we are using for each night and the name for Jesus:
                             December 1:             Isaiah 7: 13-15;              Immanuel
                             December 2:             Isaiah 9: 6-7;                 Prince of Peace
                             December 3:             Isaiah 11: 1-5;                Wonderful Counselor
                             December 4:             Isaiah 11: 6-10;              Lion of Judah
                             December 5:             Jeremiah 33: 14-16;         Savior
                             December 6:             Micah 5: 2-5;                Good Shepherd
                             December 7:             Luke 1: 11-17;                The Way
                             December 8:             Luke 1: 21-25;               Lord
                             December 9:             Luke 1: 26-38;               Jesus
                             December 10:           Matthew 1: 18-21;          Messiah
                             December 11:           Matthew 1: 22-26;          Holy One
                             December 12:           Luke 1: 39-45;                Son of God
                             December 13:           Luke 1: 46-56;                Mighty One
                             December 14:           Luke 2: 1-5;                   Christ
                             December 15:           Luke 2: 6-7;                   Healer
                             December 16:           Luke 2: 8-12;                 Anointed One
                             December 17:           Luke 2: 13-14;                Light of the World
                             December 18:           Luke 2: 15-18;               Lamb of God
                             December 19:           Luke 2: 19-20;               Redeemer
                             December 20:           Matthew 2: 1-2;            God With Us
                             December 21:           Matthew 2: 3-6;            King of Kings
                             December 22:           Matthew 2: 7-8;            Rabbi
                             December 23:           Matthew 2: 9-12;           Everlasting Father
                             December 24:           John 1:14                     The Word
I found many different lists of scriptures online and in print and adapted the list of scriptures to what I thought was the most important. I wanted to make sure that the scriptures to cover the prophecies, the preparation of Jesus’ birth and Jesus’ birth, but did not want the scriptures to be too long each day. So I read the all the verses, shortened some and lengthened others. The list that I have compiled is, for the most part, in chronological order. Most of the names for Jesus relate to the verses read for that day, but some do not, but all are names used for Jesus.
I printed and laminated tags with each day's scripture.

I printed and laminated tags with each day’s scripture.

It is okay not to have an Advent calendar or a Jesus tree. If all you do is sit down as a family each night and read the verses and learn the name for Jesus that day, I think that is wonderful! I hope you join us in celebrating Advent with a little piece of the Christmas story and a little bit more of Jesus each day!

God Bless
Happy Advent
and Merry Christmas,

Katie <><

Check out my related posts!
Celebrating Christmas at Home: Advent Wreath
Advent vs Christmas

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