Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Family Advent Wreath - December 16, Week 3 - Joy

Because I forget, I am posting the next two early.  For more information on Advent, see my previous post on the Family Advent Wreath.  These meditations are for the weekly lighting of the Advent Wreath candles, so allow for more time for discussion.  December 2, 2012, First week of Advent; December 9, Second Week of Advent.

Light the candle you lit the first week week and say, "we light this candle to remind us that our hope is in Jesus."

Light the candle you lit last week and say, "we light this candle to remind us that God loves us and God wants us to love others."

This week we will be talking about joy.  Joy is great happiness.  Children generally have no problem with happiness, but they may have misunderstandings about what brings us joy or happiness.  True joy doesn't come from material possessions or status or money or power, although many adults confuse this also.  True joy comes from within, when we find peace and contentment, when we focus on what really matters and not on the things that are temporary. 

For Discussion with your children:

What makes you really happy?  (As they answer they may list "things." When they do this try to help them see past their things.  You may ask them if they could be happy without that specific item.  If they say, "no."  Ask them about something else you know makes them happy, such as a game they like to play or people they like to play with.)

What about if we don't have the things that we think make us happy?  What could make us happy then?  (This will get them thinking a bit outside the box.)

Sometimes our things make us happy for a moment, but Jesus brings us happiness even when we don't have those things.  How do you think that works?

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 32:11
“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart."

This is pretty straightforward.  You might discuss how we can be glad in the Lord.

One of the ways we experience joy is in excitement and enthusiasm.  This would be a good opportunity to allow the children to shout for joy!  Shout with them!  Woohoo!  Yippee!  Yahoo!  Hallelujah!  However you choose to express that joy!  When you have an opportunity to get them all wound up and excited, then ask them if they can feel their blood pumping.  Is their heart racing?  Are the 'feeling excited on the inside?'  This is one of the ways we feel joy is when we express joy.  Have them sing a favorite worship or praise song with you as part of the meditation.  Maybe even sing "Joy to the World" as loudly and excitedly as you can.

God wants us to feel joy!  True joy!  We only experience true joy with God.  God knew that we would have trouble understanding this, so God sent Jesus to teach us more about having a relationship with God.  Jesus calls this having abundant life, but we can call this happiness from the inside out.

Light the pink candle (or purple if you do not have a separate pink candle).  (For information on the order, please see last week's post.) Please make sure there is adult supervision for any child using matches or a lighter to light the candle.  Also, please supervise your child as long as the candle is lit.

Prayer:  Thank you God for giving us joy and happiness.  We thank you for the gift of Jesus who came so we could experience joy in you.  Alleluia!  Amen.

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