Celebrating Advent with your Family: Week 3

This is week three of our family worship focus on Advent.  This week, it’s about Joy.  For more blogs, thoughts and reflections, check out my wife’s blog, Poets & Saints.
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When we are worn out, weary and wanting something more in life,

we seek the Savior–

our source of joy–

even in the hurt, in the busy, in the bleak midwinter.

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The third week of Advent is a celebration of joy

for those who feel joyless and overburdened.

Come, sit at the Savior’s feet, and begin to hear what the angels proclaimed:

JOY.

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Family Advent Celebration Week 3: Joy

Download the pdf Week 3 Joy.

Items needed:

  • Blessing Box
  • Angel from the nativity or Christmas tree placed inside the blessing box
  • Pink candle of joy for the advent wreath
  • Food that brings you joy, like Christmas cookies or other celebration foods

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Visual:

Just as the angels brought the news of Jesus’ birth and then proclaimed praises, so we represent joy with the angel.

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Service:

Christ is our joy.  Just as the angels brought news of Jesus’s birth with great joy, so we long for the joy that will come when he returns.

As someone takes the angel out of the blessing box, read:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:8-14)

The angels proclaimed their joy with the announcement of the birth of Jesus followed by worshipping God.  The Messiah’s much anticipated coming also brings us joy, knowing that He saves us from our sins and that he will come again and make all things right.

What is one thing that brings you joy?

Share these answers around the table. 

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As someone lights the 2 purple candles and the pink Advent candle on the wreath, readZephaniah 3:14-17:

Hurray! It’s time to sing, faithful daughter of Zion!

It’s time to shout out loud, Israel!

Be happy and celebrate with all your being, faithful children of Jerusalem!

The Eternal has cancelled His judgments against you.

He changed the course of your enemies.

The True King of Israel, the Eternal One, is standing right here among you; you have no reason to be afraid ever again.

On that day people will say to the faithful in Jerusalem, “Do not be afraid, Zion;

Hold your head and hands high,
and take courage.”

The Eternal your God is standing right here among you,

and He is the champion who will rescue you.

He will joyfully celebrate over you;

He will rest in His love for you;

He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.  (The Voice Translation)

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Sing “Joy to the World”

Joy to the world! The Lord is come

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns

Let men their songs employ

While fields and floods

Rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness

And wonders of his love

And wonders of his love

And wonders and wonders of his love

Pray:

O God, through all these faithful ones

you proclaim the unfolding of future joy

and renewed life.

Strengthen our hearts to believe your advent promise

that one day we will walk in the holy way of Christ,

where sorrow and sighing will be no more

and the journey of God’s people will be joy. Amen.i

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Read:  

Joy is not just for the Advent season, but all year long.  As Phillipians 4:4-6 states:

Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. (Living Bible Translation)

What is one thing that keeps you from having joy?

Share around the table.

Pray for these things that keep us from having joy. Finish with this prayer:

Lord help me to have joy in the everyday.  Lord help me to find freedom from those things that steal my joy.  Amen.

Sing or listen to “Joyful, Joyful we adore thee” (video)

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,

God of glory, Lord of love;

Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,

Op’ning to the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;

Drive the dark of doubt away;

Giver of immortal gladness,

Fill us with the light of day!

(Repeat last 4 lines)

Thou art giving and forgiving,

Ever blessing, ever blest,

Wellspring of the joy of living,

Ocean depth of happy rest!

Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,

All who live in love are Thine;

Teach us how to love each other,

Lift us to the joy divine.

(Repeat the last 4 lines)

Enjoy some Christmas cookies or other food that will bring you more joy.

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i Adapted from the Revised Common Lectionary

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