Family Devotion for Week 4 of Advent

Introduction

This is a simple liturgy to walk through together as a family, once per week, to guide you in using your Advent wreath.  Advent means “coming.” It is the season leading up to Christmas where we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. An Advent wreath provides a way to mark the weeks of Advent and, with the lighting of each new candle, to contemplate all that led up to the birth of Jesus. It usually is made up of four or five candles. UALC uses four blue candles, lighting a new candle on each Sunday of Advent. The candles are often positioned in the shape of a circle or sometimes a line. Many people add a fifth candle, called the Christ candle, which is white and is placed in the center and lit on Christmas Day.

Centering Prayer

Pray this prayer for your family as you begin your devotion.

Lord, we thank you that you are faithful. We thank you that you are bigger than all struggles and difficulties of our lives. Help us to come together right now, to forget about everything else, and hear your words of love and forgiveness for us. Amen.

Worship Video

Listen to this Scripture reading for this fourth week of Advent from Isaiah 55:1-13.

Family Discussion Prompts

Questions to Discuss as a Family

This passage of Scripture is an invitation to people who are hungry and thirsty for God. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have food to eat or water to drink, but it means that they feel like they need something more. Whatever they have in this world is not enough. We are like that too—we need more than what’s in this world. We need God.

  1. Have you ever gotten an invitation to something really exciting or enticing? How did you react to that invitation?

  2. Reread Isaiah 55:12-13 together. What do you think it is that God is inviting you to?

  3. What is it that God offers us that no one else can offer?

Prayer For Others

Take a few moments to think about or share about someone in your life who you know needs an invitation to God’s kingdom. God calls us to share his love with others by inviting them in and showing them the way to the Bread of Life and the Living Water. Who needs that invitation in your life?

Pray this:

Everlasting God, we pray now for _________, and for all those who need to hear your invitation. Guide our steps so that we can share your love with others and invite them into your family. Thank you that you have invited us, and that we are welcomed in. Amen.

Closing Blessing

Turn to someone in your family and speak this blessing over each other:

"Lord, bless _____________ this week.

Show them how much you love them, and help them to see it.  In Jesus’ name, amen."

Family Devotion for Week 3 of Advent

Introduction

Centering Prayer

Pray this prayer for your family as you begin your devotion.

Merciful God, you sent your messengers and prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant us grace to listen to their warnings, receive the forgiveness of our sins, and greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Jesus, thank you for rescuing us. You have done all the rescuing work, we have only to remain quiet and watch in wonder. Holy Spirit, give us eyes to see and ears to hear your word that declares that the work is finished, and we are set free from darkness. Amen

Worship Video

Scripture Intro

In the book of Isaiah, chapter 40 marks a big turning point. The first 39 chapters contain Isaiah’s words of warning that Israel’s rebellion against God would lead to their destruction. Isaiah told the people that they would be overrun by the nations of Assyria and then Babylon, they would be taken from their homes in Israel, and be made to serve the king of Babylon instead of the One, True, God. This announcement of judgement in the first 39 chapters of Isaiah was not without hope. But the first words in Isaiah 40 are the announcement that all that Israel hoped for is coming true. To the people who had seen their sin and failures exposed, to the people who had been conquered and led into exile, through the voice of His prophet, God makes this amazing proclamation!

Listen to the Scripture reading for this third week of Advent from Isaiah 40:1-5

Family Discussion Prompts

Questions to Discuss as a Family

The word “weary” means to be overtired, exhausted, or burnt out. It comes from an Old English word that means, “to wander.” Think of a time you felt weary. Was if after a long day at school or after a slew of after school activities? Maybe it was after a long car ride when you just wanted to be home to sleep in your own bed. Maybe it was the emotional battle of a friendship breaking. Or, maybe it was the helpless feeling of watching a loved one endure an arduous battle with cancer. The feeling of weariness is often accompanied by unexplained or uncontrollable tears; when things like hunger, loneliness, and tiredness can push you right over the emotional edge and you can’t stop yourself from crying.

 

The passage of we Scripture we just read was first proclaimed aloud to a very weary and homesick group of people.

 

  1. How do you think these people felt when they heard that first, repeated, word, “comfort” spoken aloud to them? What does the word “comfort” mean? What does it tell us about God’s love for his people?

  2. In the words we just read, the prophet explains what it means to be forgiven. Can you explain forgiveness in your own words?

  3. Verses 3-5 speak of God coming to us. Explain the comfort that may come from the message that God is coming to us. If we are weary, what joy comes from receiving this message.
     

  4. Possible extension: Listen to the song, “Every Valley (It’s Hard to Wait),” which was written with the words of this passage in mind and reflect as a family. 

Prayer For Others

Take a few moments to silently consider the people God has put in your life. Think of your family members, your neighbors, classmates, teammates, people with whom you attend clubs or other activities. Have you witnessed weariness in them? Of these people who seem weary, why do you think they are experiencing life this way? Do they know that Jesus has come to bring them comfort? Do they know that Jesus lived, and died, and rose again to forgive them of their sins? Do they know that the forgiveness God offers brings joy? Or are they still waiting to experience joy? How could you share this news of great joy with them? Consider a few people you and your family could pray for together, right now. Share those names with your family.

Loving and generous God, we are thankful for ________. We pray that you would continue to grow my relationship with them. We acknowledge that _________ is weary and in need of the joy that comes from Jesus. Help me to love ______ the way you love them, and show _____ that the forgiveness of sins you offer is real by forgiving _______whenever you create the opportunity for me to do so. Jesus, help me to forgive other as you have forgiven me. Help me to remember and cherish the joy your Good News brings.
 

Amen.

Closing Blessing

Turn to someone in your family and speak this blessing over each other:

"Lord, bless __________ this week.

Give _________ joy this week.  

In Jesus’ Amen."

 

Family Devotion for Week 2 of Advent

Introduction

Centering Prayer

Pray this prayer for your family as you begin your devotion.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Jesus, you are the hope of the world. You heard the prayers of your people and you have rescued us. We love you and your Kingdom, and we love it when you get your way! Thank you for your gift of peacefulness. Thank you for saving us. Amen.

Worship Video

Listen to this Scripture reading for this second week of Advent from Isaiah 10:33-11:10.

Family Discussion Prompts

Questions to Discuss as a Family

This passage we just listened to together is from a prophet named Isaiah. Isaiah had seen a lot of powerful people doing very hurtful things. But he had great news from God. The Lord was going to send a new King, Jesus, and he would be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. He would make this right and peaceful again.

  1. Have you ever been in an argument with someone? How did that make you feel? What are some reasons we might argue with each other?

  2. Why do you think it is important to Jesus that we don’t fight with each other? What does it mean to call Jesus the “Prince of Peace”?

Prayer For Others

Take a few moments to silently think of a time when you had an argument with someone. Did they hurt your feelings? Did you hurt them? Share with each other the person that came to mind. If you would like to forgive that person, ask a family member to pray about forgiving them with you. If you have already made up, pray with your family, thanking the Lord for that person and your relationship with them.

Prince of Peace, we are thankful for ________. We pray that you would continue to grow my relationship with them. Help me to love ______ the way you love them, and say things to them that are kind and loving. Thank you for my relationship with _________. Thank you, Jesus, helping us love each other better.

Amen.

Closing Blessing

Turn to someone in your family and speak this blessing over each other:

"Lord, bless __________ this week.

Give _________ peace this week.  

In Jesus’ Amen."

 
 

Family Devotion for Week 1 of Advent

Introduction

Centering Prayer

Pray this prayer for your family as you begin your devotion.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, the light that shines in the darkness. Jesus, you are the hope of the world. You interrupted the darkness of the night so long ago by being born into this world as a tiny baby. Bring us light in our darkness and hope to our lives today. Your coming brings us joy! Amen.

Worship Video

Listen below to the Scripture reading for the first week of Advent from Isaiah 9:1-7

Family Discussion Prompts

Questions to Discuss as a Family

This passage we just listened to together is from the Old Testament, where God’s people were suffering and longing for a savior and a king to come and make things right. The candle we lit tonight was the candle of hope.
 

  1. Have you ever hoped for something that is not just for you, but for your whole family, or your whole church? Or even your whole community? What is that hope?

  2. How does Jesus’ birth bring us hope today? What does it look like?

Prayer For Others

Take a few moments to silently think of one or two people who may be experiencing stress, fear, or loneliness right now. Share with each other the person who came to mind and why and ask your family member to pray for them or take turns having each family member pray for the people who came to their mind:

Gracious God, we are truly grateful for ________. Right now, they are experiencing stress/fear/loneliness. I ask that they feel your presence, comfort, and peace today. I pray that you would deliver them hope in the darkness. Help us to love _______ like you love them.

 

Amen.

Closing Blessing

Turn to someone in your family and speak this blessing over each other:

"Lord, bless __________ this week.

Give _________ hope this week.  

In Jesus’ Amen."