This Sunday marks the beginning of the second week of Advent and for us the week of Peace. As our candle lighting reading reminds us; Jesus offers peace both to our hearts, our lives, and our world. Peace. It is a word that we often see and hear at this time of year. It is written on cards, decorations, and sung in songs. For me it invokes visions of the Nativity with the shepherds and kings gathered round a baby in a manger, a warm fire glowing, gentle words being spoken, and love being shared from a quiet and listening heart. And yet, one only needs to look at the news or even within one's own home and family to know that peace seems hard to find. Much like life during the time when the Christ Child came; he himself being forced to flee in the night with mama and daddy from a jealous and crazy man who wanted his life. And yet, somehow, he brings peace. For, he is peace. And so although peace seems hard to find, we cling to that.
Peace is often seen as passive, quiet. Even my statement above describing my mental image of peace seems to be that. But, "...blessed are the peacemakers...". That calls for action, for activity. In our hearts, in our families, with our children, in our communities, and in the world. That doesn't always mean a quiet voice (sometimes it does) and it doesn't always entail a quiet fire at home (sometimes it does). Sometimes it means speaking out against injustice and giving voice to those who can't be heard. It can mean getting involved in things that aren't pretty and neatly wrapped. And that is why as we continue to walk through Advent toward Christmas, we want to keep trying to look both inward and outward as we journey toward PEACE.
Week 2: Peace
Verse: John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you….
O Come Emmanuel: Continuing with the first and including the second verse.
Light the first Candle of Hope: We light the first candle to remind us of the hope that we have in Christ; the hope that he brings to the world.”
Light the second Candle of Peace: “We light this candle to remind us that Jesus comes to bring Peace to both the world and to people's hearts.
Story: We will continue the story of Jesus, reading a few verses a day. (Using the pieces from our nativity to tell the story)
The Promise of Jesus:
Sunday: Luke 2:1-5 (to Bethlehem)
Monday: Luke 2:6-7 (Jesus is Born)
Tuesday: Luke 2:5-13 (The Shepherds and the angels)
Wednesday: Luke 2:15-20 (The shepherds and the baby)
Thursday: Luke 2:21 (They named him Jesus)
Friday: Luke 2: 25-28 (Simeon)
Saturday: Luke 2: 36-38 (Anna)
This year we are continuing in our tradition begun last year of starting a change jar for the Freedom Network, saving our pennies for the Dalit children in India. We will put loose change in it until the Epiphany (or maybe a little longer).
Some other resources:
http://kristadawne.blogspot.com/2011/12/advent-readings.html Krista over at One Beautiful Life has shared some great resources and ideas that she created/gathered last year and has suggestions for activities and ways to do Advent with children.
The Story of Christmas and Advent wall calendar My mom sent this for the girls to start on December 1st. Each day is a little illustrated board book that has a brief paraphrased Bible verse or two that unfolds the story. Often we read through and then Aneliese likes to read the verses from the Bible. Over the past few days I have heard her repeating the stories to Cecily and her babies.
I also have a couple other sites that I can't seem to find the links to but will post them when I do.
May you be filled with hope as you walk through this second week of Advent. Please, share what you plan or would like to do this Advent season...or any thoughts you have really. I would love to hear all about it.