Today was the first Sunday of Advent. We used our hymnals and did a responsive reading from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3-5, 10-11 lighting the first candle of Advent, "hope". We talked about what it meant to "prepare the way of the Lord"- to be ready for the coming of Christ.
We then listened to a song Tera has been working on, and we sang as she played "Silent Night". Then we moved on to our "Destination Christmas Prayer".
We started, a few years back, to adopt a number of traditions for the Christmas season to help our kids focus on others during the Advent season. One of these is our prayer drive. The first time we did this we took slips of papers in various envelopes and hopped in the van. The kids took turns opening an envelope and reading a clue about where we would go next such as, "sick people go here" and they would guess, "hospital". This would be coupled with a related scripture reading and we would drive to the destination. In the parking lot, or nearby the area we would all take turns praying for the person(s) related to the destination.
This, of course, consumed a lot of time (and gasoline) so this year we put together a large map on posterboards with icons representing the destinations. We took stamp pads and stamps of large praying hands. Again we used the hints and scriptures adding many more destinations (the benefit of not having to drive there). We then took turns praying for each individual or group and then stamped on or around the spot on the map.
It was really neat seeing the map
fill up with praying hands.