This year Silent Night turns 200 years old. In the weeks leading to Christmas (Advent) we are using the carol to reflect on what it means to wait for Christ to come into the world.
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.-Zephaniah 3:19-20
So what are we to do? What are we to do to prepare for Christ coming into the world? John the Baptist tells us we prepare by loveing our neighbor, caring for one another and ceasing to participate in systems of oppression. The crowd is grateful for this news; for things they can each do. Are we, today, equally ready to live for the sake of love?
This week, use these resources to grow in your faith, or with your family. Scriptures and activities in bold are from DPUMC’s Advent Family Devotion.
On your own: Write 3 love notes to family, friends or coworkers who might need to hear some good news this holiday season.
With children: In your manger kit, Take out the second smallest and the ball. Paint or decorate the figure to look like a shepherd, the small balls to look like sheep, and the big ball to be a donkey or a cow.
Youth and Adults: Recall a story about a surprise. What were you doing just before the surprise? Why did it catch you off guard? How what feelings did you go through when you were surprised?
With Children: Ask your child(ren) to remember a time they were surprised: Was it a good surprise? Did it make them feel mad, sad, glad or afraid? What did they do after the surprise?
Everyone: Share how the shepherds might have felt about their surprise. What did they do when they heard the news of Jesus?
Dear Lord, thank you for the good news of Jesus and that no matter what he came for us, Amen
Pray about who in your life might need to experience the love of Christ this Christmas. Invite one of them to come to worship with you on Christmas Eve.
Share the Love of Christ by setting aside a portion of your Christmas budget for charities that work with children and refugees.