Third Sunday of Advent: Week of December 12, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: God of love, you send us into the world to love other people. Give us the courage to go out into the world to love and serve others. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is GO. How might you go out into the world and love others during this holiday season?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Luke 3:7-18
Reflect: The people had gathered from all over to see John the Baptist and to ask him what they should do to follow God’s ways. Each of them had a question: “What should we do?” “How should we act?” These are questions we all ask. The answer is both the same and different each day. It is the same in that we are invited to love one another, it is different depending on who is in our world that day. They may be the ones we know from work or school. They may be ones who live with us or near us. Are they in our town or are they far away? Perhaps it is not people but the planet on which we live, the plants and animals, or the soil and air all around us. God asks us to look around and do what we can to care for others. What will you do today to care for someone? Hold the door? Tell them something that you like about them? Play with them or share a book? Pick up trash? Choose to bring a cloth bag? How will you care for the others?
Respond: In Sweden in December, when the days are getting shorter and colder, there is a tradition of caring for the birds. People care for the birds as their neighbors in God’s world. They gather up the wheat that is still attached to the stalks and braid them into decorative shapes and put them outside for the birds to reach the wheat. It is a kind of fancy bird feeder. You can make a bird feeder out of a bagel, nut-butter, birdseed, and string. Cut the bagel in half, spread the cut half with the nut-butter, and press the sticky half in a plate filled with bird seed. Put the string through the hole and hang it from the branch of a tree. Watch the birds enjoy it. Add a picture of a bird to your special place to remember God’s creation.
- Linnae Peterson
Adult and Elementary
Read: Luke 3:7-18
Reflect: Imagine you are with Jesus. Also with you is a doctor, an astronaut, and a lady who works at the grocery store. The doctor asks Jesus, “What should I do? What does God want me to do?” Jesus says, “Go to the hospital every day. Take good care of the sick. Be kind to them always.” The astronaut asks, “What then should I do?” Jesus responds, “Go to space. See the stars up close and the beauty of the Earth from up above. Be amazed. Explore new places and learn new things. Share all that with other people.” The lady from the grocery store asks, “But what about me? I’m not a doctor or an astronaut or anything important like that.” Jesus tells her, “You are important too. Go to the grocery store and help the people there. And go home, love your two wonderful children. Be the good mother you are to them. Help them grow up to be like you. Someone who loves God and follows me.”
Now it is your
turn. I wonder what Jesus’ answer would be for you. What kinds of things do you
think God would like you to do?
Respond: Get help from those you know and trust in your faith community and identify a couple people who you don’t know all that well. Have a conversation with them. Ask them the kinds of questions Jesus asked people. Ask them what things do they think God would like them to do? At their job? With their families? In their free time? Think about what your answers to these kinds of questions are and share them with that person.
- Patrick Kangrga
Adult and Youth
Read: Luke 3:7-18
Reflect: In this passage, John the Baptist calls to repentance and comes with directions to the crowds. He comes with a clear message and although it may sound stern at times it also includes the good news. John the Baptist is not wasting any time and sharing this message to all. He comes to share clear commands with the people and with no fear of those whom he speaks against.
Respond: Grab a piece of paper or a journal and write your thoughts about this prompt: Love and justice are from God. How do you go out in the world with this message?
- Luz Montes
Adult and Adults
Read: Luke 3:7-18
Reflect: This is a continuation of last week’s readings where John teaches how to create the kingdom of Heaven on Earth. In this reading, John might sound a little bit more harsh or aggressive. He is saying that it doesn't matter who your parents or the rest of your family are. It is your actions that matter. Do things that make you worthy of forgiveness. Provide clothing when you have a surplus, don’t take more than what you are supposed to, do not blackmail. These feel like some basic rules on how to be a good Christian.
Advent marks the new year in the liturgical calendar, in addition to being the season of preparing for the baby Jesus. Why do you think this Scripture passage is chosen for this specific time of year? Could this Scripture be a lesson and reminder of the importance of getting back to the basic roots and guides of Christianity?
Respond: Spend time with a partner talking about ways in which you have in the past supported someone else. This might be a clothing drive, volunteered at a food bank, or helped someone down the street. How did it make you feel? What was it like? What challenges or moments of joy did you experience? Consider what it would be like to push yourself one step further. What would it feel like to support and aid someone who doesn’t think, act, or look like you? What would it be like to go out into the world, do something challenging, and know you are building your relationship with God and the world?
- Erin Sample