This is our lesson for the First week of Advent.

Wherever you see signs of love, God is there. Wherever kindness and fairness are extended, God is there. Wherever the sacred story becomes our story, God is there. In times together and times apart, we celebrate God with us.

The Season of Advent invites us to focus on hope, peace, joy, and love. This week, with heightened anticipation, we wait for Love to be born and reflect on ways our waiting might be active in reshaping, reclaiming, remembering.

November 29 – Reshape, Reclaim, Remember

Isaiah 64:1–9 describes the feelings of people in a time of anxious anticipation – a mix of emotions such as fear, impatience, and longing for a sign of God’s guiding presence.

Read Isaiah 64:1–9 or Listen to the audio story “Isaiah’s Message to the People” or gather around as someone tells the story “God Is Very Near.” The prophet speaks for the people who have returned home from exile to a changed landscape and patterns of behaviour that do not reflect the way of God. The people hoped and believed that God would come again into their lives and reshape them and their community to mirror God’s ways of justice, peace, and mercy for all in need. The people longed for things to change.

*What change are you longing for?

Advent candle lighting

Together create an Advent wreath with four candles. It can be as simple as four electric tealights and a square of green felt. Or you might create a wreath following the directions on page 4 of the Children’s Activity Leaflet.

This Advent candle lighting ritual is based on an Advent wreath ceremony written by Maren Tirabassi. In this ritual, we name the things that dimmish hope. We then light the candle of hope, to light the way forward.

ONEIn our homes,
we gather around wreaths
to pray for our lost hopes,
broken peace, limited joys,
and love so hard to find and share,
in this season of… (adapt for your concerns. For example, COVID-19, hurricanes, closed businesses, lost pollinators…)

TOGETHER: We light the candle of hope in the face of…(for example: of COVID-19, wildfires, hurricanes, closed businesses, lost pollinators, missing singing…)

ONEGod’s hope shines on hopelessness and brightens the path toward peace.
RESPONSE: Emmanuel, God be with us, in the week to come, lighting hope on the wick of our lives so that we may shine on our world. Amen.
The response will be repeated each week during Advent. You might copy in large print and place near the Advent wreath were all can see.)

Advent chain

The people of Judah were longing for and waiting for things to be different. Advent is a waiting time for us, too. It is a time when we look forward to celebrating God’s promise of hope, peace, love, and joy for all.
Make a paper chain to use during this Advent waiting time.

  1. Cut strips of purple or blue construction paper, or use recycled wrapping paper (28 strips for each chain).
  2. To make a chain: form one of the paper strips into a circle by using a glue stick, tape, or stapler to fasten the short ends together. Take a second strip and thread it through the first circle; fasten short ends together as before. Continue until 28 links have been made.
  3. Print something on each strip of what you might do while you wait (such as pray, be helpful, make gifts, decorate…)
  4. Remove a link from the chain each day to mark the time left until Christmas.

Print this week’s children’s activity leaflet, which includes the story “God Is Very Near,” an activity, and an Advent wreath craft.

During the week

The Advent readings from Isaiah speak to a community of people longing for their lives to reflect God’s way of peace and justice. Conflict and unfairness are all around. Unfortunately, they are often deep within us, too.
Reflect on how you might bring hope, and justice into your life and or your community.

Listen to the song “Pulsing Spirit” (MP3 available here for purchase and download).
Visit Lection ConnectionNovember 29, for current events that connect with this week’s scriptures.

Prayer for each day

Holy One,
we wait longingly
for the time when we live in harmony with your will for the world. Amen.

Seasons of the SpiritTM SeasonsFusion • Pentecost 2020

Copyright © Wood Lake Publishing Inc. 2020