During the Advent season leading up to Christmas, Incarnation families are gathering outside the church—or at home, or in another cozy spot—for a casual time of prayer and Advent wonder! If you're able, join us at 9:30am.
This week at Wild Advent Wonder, some of our favorite nature guides will teach us how to [safely] build a fire. If you'd like, bring pieces of wood of various sizes to contribute to the fire pit! Who knew that this year would bring us to survival-skill Sunday school? Actually, this will be the ideal activity to usher us into the Advent season, when we watch for light breaking in. Here's this week's scripture:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. Isaiah 9:2
We'll use this liturgy (I've also pasted it at the bottom of this post) to light our Advent candle and pray together—you can adjust as needed to use it at home. Whether remaining at home, or gathering outside church: bundle up around a fire or a candle, BYO hot beverage, and make room to hear from God's word and respond.
Oh, friends, what a strange season. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, I'm encouraging all of us again to load up on flexibility and grace for ourselves and our families—easier said than done, I know.
I'm a big fan of NOT re-inventing the wheel! If it's helpful, here's what we're doing at church, which each family can adapt for use at home:
Prepare. You’ll see purple in the sanctuary, and peace cranes on zoom (find instructions for making peace cranes here). This is a nice time to clear the decks, and make room. Re-set your “prayer table” or set one up for the first time, perhaps beginning with Advent candles—
Prayer. Each week at church we’ll light another candle and watch the light grow as we move closer to Christmas. This is a great practice to bring home. An Advent wreath typically has four candles, with one more lit each Sunday, and then a 5th candle to light on Christmas (finally!). There’s often an evergreen wreath, or something alive, incorporated. As your family gathers for dinner or another daily meal, light the candle(s), sing, pray a short prayer. (If I could choose just one family Advent tradition—this would be it!)
Prophecies. I'm sending each family a packet with four Old Testament prophecies that we normally read in atrium. We'll look at another one each week.
I think you're all doing an amazing job at home, with your kids, at church—however that looks right now. While we're disconnected in some senses, we're also connected with each other, and with people around the world and throughout time, in our Advent waiting.
When it's tough to wait (much less show our kids how to wait!) a really practical idea is to engage the senses: light the candles, make hot chocolate, build a fire, listen to music. We're compiling some of these traditions on our Virtual Advent page. Check it out, if you'd like, and send me any traditions you'd like to share.
Advent Family Prayer for November 29
Opening sentence & lighting the Advent wreath:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3
Our King and Savior now draws near*:
O come, let us adore him.
Light first Advent candle and sing:
Light one candle for hope.
One bright candle for hope.
Christ brings hope to every heart;
He comes, he comes.
A reading from the prophet Isaiah:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light.” Isaiah 9:2
Reflect as you’d like. (Discuss; reflect using art; color or copy the prophecy; listen to a song.)
Prayer. Pray together, including any of these options:
Song or canticle
Prayers of the people: take turns by passing a cross or similar around the family circle. If anyone prefers to pray silently, take a moment, then pass to the next person!
Open prayer time—for ourselves and others, including our neighbors, and our country and ministry of the week: Cambodia and Our Lady Queen of Peace Food Pantry.
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect of the Day: Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.