Celebrating Advent with Your Family: Week 4 Love

This is the fourth and last Advent service for our family this year.  Again, if you enjoyed any part of it, head to Poets & Saints blog for more of Sara’s thoughts, meditations and creative genius!

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When we feel unloved.

When we feel empty.

When we feel alone.

Jesus is the ultimate gift of love for us.

His unconditional, unending love.

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Family Advent Celebration Week 4: Love

You can download the pdf Week 4 love here.

Items Needed:

  • Baby Jesus
  • Cross
  • Advent Wreath and Candles
  • A heart (ornament, candle, or otherwise)
  • Paper and pencils
  • Blessing Box

Visual:

The cross and heart serve as reminders as his love for us. DSC02055

Service

Today we celebrate the gift of your amazing love.  Love that brought us the baby Jesus.  Love that showed mercy to the sinners and the sick.  Love that hung on a cross and died.

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Open the blessing box and take out the heart and lay it in the center of the table as this is read:

Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,

for they have been from of old.

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

according to your steadfast love remember me,

for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! 

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 

He leads the humble in what is right,and teaches the humble his way.

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,

for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. (Psalm 25: 6-10)

Take out the cross from the blessing box and lay it in the middle of the table and read:

Just as Abraham was willing to give up his only son, so you were willing to give up your son Jesus.  This is how you showed your love for us. As it says in Genesis 22:

Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.

“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”

“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”

“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:1-3, 9-12)

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Sing or listen to “In the Bleak Midwinter.”  During the song, light all four Advent candles on the wreath.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart. -Christina Rosetti

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Take out the baby Jesus as well as the paper and pen.  Write a short love note to Jesus thanking him for the gift of love he has given us.  Thank him for his grace and forgiveness. Fold up your love note and leave it next to the manger or put it in your Christmas tree or Advent wreath.  Read:

 As we look forward to your coming, we remember your birth.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
 She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
 which means ‘God is with us.’”  (Matthew 1:18-23)

God gave us the ultimate gift of love—he gave us Jesus.

As it says in John 3:16-17:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Pray:

Lord thank you for your gift of love this Christmas. Thank you that your son died for our sins.   Help us with courage to show your love to others.

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