“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord!”
As we continue on our Advent journey, we encounter a number of people God sends to tell others of God’s hope for this world and God’s people. Many of these messengers are unlikely characters: springing up out of nowhere, it seems, to tell important things to those around them. Many of these holy messengers were not listened to completely or not believed: but they continued to tell their stories as long as they were able.
God’s people of wisdom and hope have been around since the beginning, sending holy messages to those who would listen and hear. This week, we will explore together where those messengers may be today and how we can share this news with others.
Households with adults and children:
Respond: This week, we are talking and thinking about all the people who have had messages to share about God’s love. Sometimes, those messages are ignored or misunderstood.
Have you ever tried to tell someone something and they didn’t understand you? Or maybe was there a time when you wanted someone’s attention but they didn’t give it to you? How did that feel? Sometimes we all need a reminder to pay attention to the messengers in this world. Take an index card (or other small paper) and decorate a sign together that will help you pay attention. Maybe the card will say “SHHH, Listen!” or “Pay Attention!” or “God Loves The World!” – maybe the card will simply be an image. Find a place in your house where you will see it, maybe by the front door, and hang it together. Throughout the last weeks in Advent – you can have fun pointing to the sign you made together and reminding each other to listen to the messages of God’s love in this world!
Households with adults and youth:
Respond: In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he says that he “thanks God every time [he] remembers” them, because they care for him and are working to share the gospel so well in this world.
Who are the people in your life that you remember with joy every time you think of them? What things have they taught you about God, or about God’s love? (Note – both the adult and the youth should share the important people in their lives, mentors and messengers are for all of us!) Spend a few minutes remembering the important people who serve as messengers in your life with each other, and then offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those people in your lives.
Households with adults:
Respond: John the Baptist plays an important role in the lives of many, including Jesus. He risked ridicule worse by spending much time in the wilderness, preaching and proclaiming about a messiah to come. While his words were heard by many, not all took him as seriously as he did. His message was one of contradiction and challenge, which was not easy for people to accept – then, or now.
John talked about every valley being filled, and the mountains being made low. He said that what is crooked will be made straight, and what is rough will be made smooth. He is preaching about a future where what we understand will be tipped upside down. Have you ever heard someone preach a message like this? Have you ever experienced a moment where it seemed like things were tipped upside down? Talk with each other about this. There were many things happening during the time that John was preaching and baptizing, but many did not notice the signs because they were preoccupied with their own lives. Do you allow space in your life to see and hear what may be happening in your own lives? Come up with a plan to set aside time for reflection and sharing that you can do throughout the rest of Advent.
by Paris Ball, Director of Christian Formation and Camps, The Diocese of Virginia
Advent Wreath Practice:
Light a small candle, LED Candle, or the Second Advent candle in your wreath. Gather with your loved ones as you are able and offer this simple prayer:
God, you send messengers to teach us about your dreams for our world. Please help us hear those messages, and give us courage to be a messenger for others.
Way of Love Connection:
BLESS: Share faith and unselfishly give and serve
“Freely you have received; freely give.” – Matthew 10:8
Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People: We will, with God’s help. – Book of Common Prayer, 305
Jesus called his disciples to give, forgive, teach, and heal in his name. We are empowered by the Spirit to bless everyone we meet, practicing generosity and compassion and proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ with hopeful words and selfless actions. We can share our stories of blessing and invite others to the Way of Love.
How can you, like John and the other messengers, be a messenger of blessing this week? What selfless action could you take during what is potentially a very busy week in order to show the love of Christ to others?
Download a printable copy of this weeks reflections HERE.
Tags: Lectionary Based Readings & Reflections / Latest Posts