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ORCHARD PARK BLOG

Making Advent Meaningful

 

Dear Friends, 

As we enter this Advent Season, I want to share with you this video from a website entitled the Advent Conspiracy.
 
Several years ago, a few pastors were lamenting how they’d come to the end of an Advent season exhausted and sensing they’d missed it again: the awe-inducing, soul-satisfying mystery of the incarnation.

No wonder there was a dread at the beginning of each new season as they prepared to proclaim, celebrate, and worship around the story of God entering our world as one of us.

A creeping kind of idolatry was consuming them and their communities.
It seemed as if all were drowning in a sea of financial debt and endless lists of gifts to buy.  An overwhelming stress had overtaken any sense of worship.  People now believed the marketing lie that spending money is the best way to express love.  This, combined with the American mindset that “more must be better” was now consuming pastors and congregations alike.

Somehow, this had become the new normal. This had become everyone’s Christmas routine. Every year people were being devoured by the Christmas frenzy, and every year the Advent season ended with a sinking feeling that once again, they’d missed the point.

They called it the Advent Conspiracy, and came up with four tenets—Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All—to guide themselves, their families, and congregations through their season of preparation for Christmas.   
 
Here is a video that explains it more: 
https://youtu.be/CsdOHQO0QfQ
 
The first tenant to having a more meaningful Advent Season is to worship more fully.  How do we worship fully?  Worship is a selfless act.  It requires one to put God before themselves, to claim gratitude, to confess sins, to ask for guidance and to recognize that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
 
I am attaching two ideas for you to do with your families this Advent Season to worship more fully in your home and in your daily life.
 
Next week I will talk about the second tenet:  spending less.
 
I pray you have a meaningful and conspiring Advent season.
 
God Bless,
Shelly
 
Write a Letter to God rather than Santa
 
Dear Santa  Loving God,
I am not writing to ask for _______________________________________ ,
not the __________________________ , and not a new _____________________________.
 
Instead, I ‘m writing to say “thank you”, because you already know everything I want and
you give me everything I need (even though my parents help). Thank you that even when I
don’t get everything I want, you are still with me. Thanks that sometimes you tell me to wait,
and thanks that sometimes you tell me “no”. Having you with me is better than a lot of stuff.
I was really good this year. I _____________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ !
 
And I was really bad this year. I _ _________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ .
 
Thank you that you don’t give me things based on how good or bad I’ve been, and
that you don’t treat me like my sin deserves. Thank you for giving me Jesus even on
my naughtiest day ever. Thanks that you smile at me because you sent Jesus. Thank
you that he took my naughtiness and gave me his niceness. That’s a lot of love!
 
I would also like to thank you for all of the cool things that you have given me,
like _____________________ and _____________________ and _____________________ !
 
Help me to be thankful when all of my friends talk about everything they want for
Christmas. Thanks also for clean water, for lots of good food, thanks for a house
to live in and shoes and socks; I know many people don’t have any of this.
I am excited to watch what you’re up to and help you love the people who are sad, like
___________________________________________________________________________ .
 
Heavenly God, you are so kind.
Love,
___________________________

Make a Christmas Worship Jar
Find a simple mason jar. Decorate it however your kiddos
want, with stickers, beads, string and lots of glue.
Cut out the ideas listed below and place them in the jar- these are a variety of ways
to express love to Christ through reading scripture, singing, praying and creating.
 
Every Advent Sunday pick out two, and worship Christ together. Before you pull one
out, let each child light a candle representing the Holy Spirit’s presence with you.
As you move through these ideas be sure to encourage your children’s
experiences, they may respond in silly or even selfish ways; look to
help them relate to Christ with whatever they bring to Him.
 
Look online for the words to
your favorite Advent carol and
sing it together as a family.
 
Get a big piece of paper and draw or
write down all of the things you love
about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
 
Make instruments out of bowls,
spoons, cups (whatever you can
find) listen to your favorite Christian
song and hammer away in worship!
 
Have someone “whisper-read”
Psalm 100; shout, cheer, scream
for joy and stomp in praise
when the person finishes.
 
List all of the good things you’ve seen
Jesus do for your family this year, what
have you seen him do for other people?
 
Write down three prayers as a family
and post them somewhere you can
pray them the rest of the year.
 
Let the kiddos pick their favorite
story about Jesus; have them sit on
the couch and act it out for them.
 
Write out some ideas of your own. 
 

Topics: Christmas

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