Posted in Christian, Christianity, Devotions, Faith, Faith Formation, Lent, Spirituality

Family Lenten Devotions for 2018

Downloadable Document: Year B Family Devotional 2018- Lent


Background Information for the Devotional:

Lent – What does it mean?:

As early as the mid-fourth century, Christians have observed a time of preparation before the Easter celebration. The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. The forty days of Lent recall the 40 day fast of Jesus in the wilderness after his baptism (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:1-2) and Moses’ 40 day fast on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28). It is a time of simplicity and preparation.

The Principal Themes of Lent include penitence; baptismal renewal; preparation for baptism at the Easter Vigil; prayer, fasting, and service; confession of sin rooted in the promise of God that comes through the cross of Christ.

Purple is the seasonal color which suggests somberness & solemnity as well as royalty.

(Taken from www.elca.org)

Lent at home:

Life is busy! Work, school, athletic events, extra-curricular activities, travel, church, civic organizations, friends, family, etc. occupy much if not all of our time. We often choose to “give-up” something for Lent that won’t really be an inconvenience for us. It rarely brings us closer to God.

This Lent I encourage you all to spend time as a family reflecting, praying, and preparing.  This devotional resource is intended to give you tools to have family devotions. It is built around the prayer practices of Lectio Divina & Praying in Color as well as the physical exercise practices of yoga and walking.  The weekly lesson is intended to be repeated each night so that you can continue to learn, reflect, and expand. Your prayers will inevitably shift based on your experiences each day. There are also lessons for Ash Wednesday and Holy Week.

Lectio Divina:

In Christianity, Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word.

Traditionally Lectio Divina has 4 separate steps: readmeditatepray and contemplate. First a passage of Scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God. For use with children I have simplified the steps down to read, think, pray, and rest. See Appendix A for a visual graphic explaining Lectio Divina.

Praying in Color:

Praying in Color is a concept developed by Sybil MacBeth for the times when we have no words but want to communicate with God. It is particularly wonderful for children as they often have short attention spans, don’t know how or what to pray, view prayer time as a chore, etc. Praying in color incorporates doodling, coloring, & prayer all together. No words are necessary. Think of a person, place, organization, that you would like to pray for. Write down their name and begin to doodle and color on the page while thinking about them. When your picture feels complete, your prayer is also. To incorporate in with Lectio Divina, write down a word or phrase that struck you from the passage you read and then doodle and color the page during the “Pray/Oratio” step. Two sample templates for praying in color are included in Appendix C & D.

Additional information regarding Praying in Color & additional praying in color templates can be found at http://prayingincolor.com/ or by purchasing Praying in Color; Praying in Color Kids Edition; or Praying in Black and White by Sybil MacBeth.

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Posted in Devotions, Faith Formation, Lent, Spirituality, Youth Ministry

Lenten Devotions GALORE!!!!

Winding PathI completed this year’s Lenten Devotions today… attached are the Social Media Devotion, the Family Devotion, and a BONUS! My mother wrote a Stations of the Cross Devotion which I am sharing as well. I hope these resources help you in your Lenten Journey.

Blessings & Peace as you grow and experience God in new ways!

Lent Social Media Devo’s Year B

Year B Family Devotional – Lent

Stations of the Cross

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Advent Devotion

A few years ago, when I was working full-time as a Youth & Family Minister, I began looking for Advent Resources to share with the families of my congregation.  I found a lot of resources that were okay, but not exactly what I was looAdventking for. I decided to give devotion writing a try and shared what I created with others. So it turns out, apparently I’m decent at it and people enjoy the devotions, because I’ve been asked to keep creating them.

The devotions are based on the weekly readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. There is a devotion for each Sunday and a devotion for each week which can be used once or repeated each day.  Repetition often offers the opportunity for deeper reflection and understanding. We also live very busy lives and for some once a week is the best that can be done.

Feel free to use the devotion this Advent Season with your family and let me know how it goes!!!!


Family Devotional – Year B

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Devotion – Advent Week #1

Opening Prayer:
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection save us from the threatening dangers of our sins, and enlighten our walk in the way of your salvation. We light one candle and pray for peace and patience as we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ, born to set us free.  Shine your light upon us with the promise of everlasting life.  In Christ’s name we pray, amen.

Candle Lighting:
Speak these words while lighting the first candle:
O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples, come and dwell among usAmen.

Highs & Lows:
Share the best and worst parts of your day.

Gospel Reading:
Read Matthew 24: 36-44 OR “Noah’s Ark” in the Spark Story Bible (or a similar story in your favorite story Bible) Families with smaller children – you may want to reference the Matthew 24 passage in regards to not knowing when Christ will return.

Activity:
Create a Bible Verse Advent Chain. (See Appendix A for instructions and templates.) Tear off one link each day and read the Bible verse for the day.

Pray:
Heavenly Father, you provide good and gracious gifts to us as signs of your redeeming love and of your imminent coming. Help us to share these gifts with others and to receive them with a grateful heart.  In Jesus name we pray, amen.

Bless:
Child of God, the time is drawing near, spread peace throughout the world, be patient and wait. 

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation

Family Devotion – Week #1 Activity

ADVENT CHAIN

Advent Chain

 

Print the list of Bible verses below. Cut out and glue them onto strips of colored paper.  Create an interlocking chain with the Bible verse strips. Make sure the dates are in ascending order. Remove one link each night and read the bible verses listed.

Dec. 1st – John 1: 1-5

Dec. 3rd – Isaiah 11: 1-10

Dec. 5th – Luke 1: 5-10

Dec. 9th – Matthew 1: 18-21Dec. 7th – Luke 1: 18-25

Dec. 11th – Luke 1: 39-45

Dec. 13th – Luke 2: 1-5

Dec. 15th – Luke 2: 8-12

Dec. 17th – Luke 2: 15-18

Dec. 19th – Micah 5: 2-5

Dec. 21st – Matthew 2: 3-6

Dec. 23rd – Matthew 2: 9-12

Dec. 2nd – Isaiah 9: 2-7

Dec. 4th-Jeremiah 33: 14-16

Dec. 6th – Luke 1: 11-17

Dec. 8th – Luke 1: 26-38

Dec. 10th – Matthew 1: 18 – 21

Dec. 12th – Luke 1: 46-56

Dec. 14th – Luke 2: 6-7

Dec. 16th – Luke 2: 13-14

Dec. 18th – Luke 2: 19-20

Dec. 20th – Matthew 2: 1-2

Dec. 22nd – Matthew 2: 7-8

Dec. 24th – John 1: 14

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Devotion – First Sunday in Advent

Opening Prayer:
Gracious God, as our nights grow longer and our days grow short, we look on these earthly signs – light and green branches—and remember God’s promise to our world: Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come bringing peace and spreading love.  We know not when he will come; give us strength to wait and hope, knowing that the time is near.  Keep us alert and vigilant.  In Jesus name we pray, amen.

Listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instructions and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift ups sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Families with small children – Instead of the words above, read “God will Bring Peace” (Pg. 164) in the Spark Story Bible OR in your favorite story Bible.

Candle Lighting:
Speak these words while lighting the first candle:
O God, rejoicing, we remember the promise of your Son.  As the light from this candle, may the blessing of Christ come upon us, brightening our way and guiding us by his truth.  May Christ our Savior bring life into the darkness of our world, and to us, as we wait for his coming.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Highs & Lows:
Share the best and worst parts of your day.

Gospel Reading:
Read Matthew 24: 36-44 OR “Noah’s Ark” in the Spark Story Bible (or a similar story in your favorite story Bible) Families with smaller children – you may want to reference the Matthew 24 passage in regards to not knowing when Christ will return.

Discuss:

  • Who knows when Christ will return? Do Angels? Do People? Does Jesus?
  • The Gospel talks about Noah and his family listening and following God’s instructions. Is it sometimes hard to focus and listen to God? Why?
  • How can we prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming?

Pray:
Heavenly Father, we cling to the promise of Christ’s return with joy and anticipation. We know not when that day will be. Guide us as we listen to your call, empower us to share your love with others, and nurture us as we prepare the way for his return.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Bless:
Child of God, the time is drawing near, spread peace throughout the world, be patient and wait. 

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Devotions, Faith Formation, Youth Ministry

Family Advent Devotion Introduction

The following is an introduction to the weekly Family Advent Devotions that I created and will be posting throughout the Advent Season. I hope they are a blessing to you and your family! Feedback is always appreciated!!! 🙂

______________________________________________________________________________________________

ADVENT – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?:

The four weeks before Christmas mark the season of Advent, from a Latin word for “coming” or “arrival.”  We are preparing to celebrate the arrival of God himself, who became man in the form of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The church has observed a season of preparation before Christmas since the time of Bishop Perpetuus of Tours in 490 C.E.

The themes of Advent include hope, darkness/light, repentance, watchfulness, preparation, expectation of Christ’s birth at Christmas, & the anticipation of his coming again.

The colors of the season is blue or in some instances, purple.  Blue suggests hope.  Purple is an older tradition that represents royalty and the coming of a king.

ADVENT AT HOME:

The month of December is a busy time.  These four weeks are filled with church services, concerts, parties, cleaning, decorating, etc.  It can be exhausting and frustrating, but it’s exciting too!

I encourage you all to spend time as a family, in Advent, reflecting and preparing.  This devotional resource is intended to give you tools to have family devotions around an Advent Wreath. If you don’t have an Advent wreath, 5 pillar candles (one for each week and one for Christmas) will work as well.

Although there is a devotion for each day, don’t worry if you are unable to come together as a family every single day of Advent.  Even once a week is a wonderful recognition of the season and will help prepare your family.  The Sunday devotions are slightly longer so this would be a good option for weekly rather than nightly devotions. The weekly devotion is the same each night. As we steep in the Word, through repetition we often hear new things and the stories are written differently and more deeply on our hearts.

Devotions are one way to reinforce Advent at home.  Some additional ways to incorporate Advent into your home life are:

*        Caring Conversations: While decorating your house and tree, discuss that decorating is part of our preparation and anticipation of Christ’s coming.

*        Service:  Find time to serve others and discuss Christ’s service to us. (Ring bells for Salvation Army; volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen; donate old toys to Goodwill or a Domestic Violence Shelter.)

*        Rituals & Traditions: We all have rituals and traditions surrounding the season. (Baking goodies; decorating; Christmas Caroling; etc…)  Keep doing what you have always done!  Discuss WHY you do it… where it came from… who started it.

THE ORIGINS OF THE ADVENT WREATH:

The origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light.

Christians kept these popular traditions alive, and by the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From Germany, the use of the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world.

Traditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens. Three candles are violet or blue and the fourth is rose or purple, but four white candles or four violet candles can also be used. Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal– one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th.