Bible readings: Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-46
About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a photo I took on Norfolk Island which I overwrote with a Bible text. Please feel free to us it for worship and related activities. If you are interested in seeing more of beautiful Norfolk Island visit www.norfolkisland.com.au
Upper Right: This watch tower was built on the south east coast of Australia at Boydtown near Eden by Benjamin Boyd in the 1840's as a lighthouse and as a whale lookout. It was never completed and was never used as an official lighthouse, however generations of whalers used it for spotting whales. If you want to know more about Boydtown visit http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boydtown. The photo is mine so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left and Right: I took both of these photos in the old city of Jerusalem - one long a street (the little indented box in the wall) and the other at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, They both reminded me of hope - things growing in hard and unexpected places. Please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Opening Prayer: Blessing Prayer
Found in Seasons of Celebration by Patricia Mathson, Ave Maria press, 1995, ISBN 0877935661, page 19 (pictured at right). This prayer is useful for the entire advent season.
Use bits of the Jeremiah reading and the psalm.
Film Clip: The Man in the Egg
Found on Leunig Animated, Madman, 2001 (pictured at right). This clip goes well with both the Gospel and the Thessalonians reading.
Film Clips: Paperless Christmas
www.paperlesschristmas.com has the greatest set of short films for use in church based on a modern look at the christmas story. A brilliant effort!
Ask the kids if they have ever planned something that didn't work out the way they intended it to. Share a story from your own life which will illustrate this and show them if possible (mine is a quilt which went horribly wrong between the planning and the completing!!!)
Tell them that Advent is the time when we remember all of God's terrific promises to us that everything will work out because Jesus is the one who brings us ......
Have huge letters H O P E stuck up in random order around the worship space. Ask the kids to help you sort them into a word they know.
Discuss with them what the word means and how it relates to Christmas.
Discussion: In pairs or threes.
What do you think has gone wrong with the world? How do you think it should be?
What do you think has gone wrong with our local community? How do you think it should be?
What do you think has gone wrong with our church? how do you think it should be?
Talk about waiting for change and about changing back or changing forward. Then discuss:
What are you waiting for?
What are we as a church waiting for?
What is this particular congregation waiting for?
Story: Goodness and Mercy Will Win
By Erskine White in Together in Christ, CCS Publishing Co. or find it at illustrations@CLERGY.NET This goes well with the jeremiah reading.
Story: Some Things are Immovable
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and greg Mckinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 47 (pictured at right). This story firs well with both the gospel and the Thessalonians reading.
that upset your plans
shatter your dreams,
give a completely
to your day
and - who knows? -
to your life.
It is not chance.
Leave the Father free
himself to weave
the pattern of your days.
By Dom Helder Camara in A Thousand Reasons For Living, ISBN 0800606647.
Prayer/poem: The Coming Bushman
Found in Outback Christmas by Pro Hart and Norman Habel, Lutheran Publishing House, 1981, ISBN 0859105628 (pictured at left). This fits in well with the gospel reading.
Meditation: And This Shall Be A Sign to You
By Robert A Raines in Imaging the Word Volume 1 by Kenneth T Lawrence, Jann Cather Weaver and Roger Wedell (Eds.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 78 (pictured at right). This fits in well with the gospel reading. I put these words with a series of images of babies and used the 11th commandment by Ben Harper and the Blind Boys from Alabama on their album, Let there Be Light, (pictured at left) as backing music.
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 20 (pictured at left). This fits well with all the readings.
Response Activity: Advent Angels:
This is an advent version of secret buddies. Encourage or organise people (in the sense that you pair people up somehow without them knowing - like you do for secret buddies or Chris Kringles) to be advent angels ie where people do unexpected favours or give unexpected encouragement or praise anonymously to others in the congregation.
Response Activity: Fridge magnets:
Give everyone a small (laminated maybe) card with the words of Psalm 25:4-5 on it attached to a small fridge magnet (see above image)
Prayer for Others; Pinning Our Hopes on Jesus (i)
Found in Cloth For The Cradle, page 54 - see above
Response Activity: Pinning Our Hopes on Jesus (ii)
Found in Cloth For the Cradle, page 56 - see above