Family Advent Wreath Devotions
[You can make a simple wreath from 5 candles and toilet paper with hot glue, kids can make candle holders from playdough, you can simply use votives set in a circle; whatever works for your family. Candle colors can be all white or three blue/purple and one pink with a white one in the center for the Christ candle.]
Week 1: Hope
Talk about what “hope” means.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” Isaiah 9:2
[Turn off all the lights for just a moment, then turn them back on.]
This week we light the Hope candle. This candle reminds us that when things seem really dark, or scary, or we feel alone or afraid, we can remember God’s promise to always be with us. In fact, the bible teaches us that another name for Jesus is Emmanuel which means “God with us”. Jesus being born for us is like being in the dark and then seeing a great light.
Light the first candle – if you are using colored candles it will be the blue or purple candle diagonal from the pink one.
Let us pray: (This is an echo prayer, after each line is read the listeners repeat it.)
This week we remember your promise
to be with us
and to love us.
As we wait for Christmas
we light the candle of Hope
so everyone can know
the hope that comes
because you are with us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Week 2: Faith
[Ask the kids if they remember what the name of the first candle is, prompt them if they need it, then light the first candle.]
“A voice is crying out:
‘Prepare the Lord’s way in the desert!
Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!
Every valley will be raised up,
and every mountain and hill will be flattened.
Uneven ground will become level,
and rough terrain a valley plain.’” Isaiah 40:2-3
[Use a string or rope or even some masking tape to make a crooked path across the room toward the candles – or whatever works for you – and have the kids walk the crooked path. Then pull the string or rope straight (or have a second straight path of tape) and have them walk that path. Ask which was faster and easier.]
Sometimes we can get so excited about Christmas coming, or other things, that we start thinking so much about what presents we want or things we want to do or cookies we want to eat that we forget to spend time with God. The bible reminds us that all those things are like making a crooked path or putting a mountain between us and Jesus. This week we are going to light our second Advent candle, the candle of Faith, to say that we have faith that Jesus is near us and we are going to do our best to not let other things get in the way of telling Jesus how much we love him and showing that love to everyone around us.
[Light the 2nd candle – in front of the pink candle.]
Let’s pray (echo prayer)
we light this new candle
as a sign of our faith
that you are near us
and in faith that you are coming closer.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Week 3: Joy
[Ask if anyone remembers the names of the first two candles. Prompt if needed. Light them as they are named.]
“Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
[Have some sparkly Christmas decorations out or twinkle lights or sit by your Christmas tree with the lights on.
Why do we decorate our house and put up a tree? Is it tradition? Does it also make us feel good? Does it make our home feel extra special and brighter? All those things are true. Part of why we love Christmas decorations and lights and sparkles is because they make our heart happy, they give us joy. Today our Advent candle is Joy and we light this candle with joy not just in all these beautiful things, but with the joy of knowing that God loves us so much that God comes to be with us.
[Light the 3rd Advent candle – the pink one.]
we give you thanks
for our Christmas tree and decorations,
for the sparkly lights
and especially we give you thanks
for you and your great love for us.
Week 4: Peace
[Go through the first three candles and what they stand for. Prompt if needed. Light them as they are named.]
“When the angel came to her, he said, ‘Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!’… [Then] the angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus…’” Luke 1:28, 30-31
[Invite children to make their best scared faces. (You can even allow some screaming if you want – and your ears can take it.) Let them have fun with it.]
The angel has to tell Mary “Don’t be afraid!”. Mary probably was at least a little afraid when an angel suddenly appeared in front of her. But the angel doesn’t want her afraid, he wants to bring her good news. “The Lord is with you!” What a wonderful promise! What good news! We don’t usually expect to see an angel just show up in our house, but then again, we also don’t very often look for glimpses of God in our ordinary life. And yet, if we look, we can see signs of God all around us.
Today we light our last Advent candle, the candle of Peace. We’ve gone through the expectation of Hope, the patience of Faith, the bursting forth of Joy and now we arrive at Peace, the peace that comes in knowing God’s love.
We light this candle
with peace in our hearts that,
even in confusing and unusual times,
God is near us. Emmanuel: God-with-us! Amen.
[Light all four candles, remembering what they stand for.]
“The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you – wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11
Advent hope moves us; Advent faith leads us; Advent joy stirs us; Advent peace stills us, that we might come to this place, to greet our Savior: Jesus, Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, Almighty God.
So we now light the Christ candle, a beautiful light shining in the darkness.
[Light the center candle.]
God, we believe that Jesus is your son.
He was born to Mary in Bethlehem of Judea a long time ago.
He lives today in our hearts.
Through him we have hope,
grow in faith,
and find peace.
Our Savior is born!
Our savior is born, indeed.
Joy to the world! Amen.