JOY for Today - First Sunday of Advent 2022
Amid the rush of Thanksgiving preparations, I find myself thinking about waiting. Waiting is hard. But the hope of JOY when waiting ends is what fuels us to persist. As we wash off our Thanksgiving platters and get out the Christmas boxes, let's fill our hearts and minds with thankfulness for His coming and in expectancy of His return!
|Advent photo (in background) by Dennis Skley via flickr. Shared with a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.|
JOY for Today Offerings:
- Did You Know... four we didn't.
- Wolfe Stew Connects to living a life of expectancy.
- Bible Verses and Quotes about Advent.
- Activity Suggestions to bring the holiday spirit into the classroom and home. Ideas for teachers and families.
- The Advent wreath is full of symbolism? The wreath consists of four candles (three purple and one pink) dispersed around the outside and a large, white candle in the middle. The candles around the outside represent hope (prophecy), preparation (Bethlehem), joy (shepherds), and love (angels) while the middle candle is the Christ candle. The colors of the candles hold meaning too: purple for repentance and royalty, pink for joy, and white for purity and light. The pink candle, then, is the candle representing JOY. (Learn Religions)
- Originally Advent was tied to baptisms in Spain and Gaul? At that time, new Christians would be baptized at the January feast of Epiphany - a celebration of Christ's divinity revealed to Gentiles through the Magi, His baptism, and the first miracle. But first, they waited in anticipation with 40 days of repentance, prayer, and fasting. (Christianity.com)
- Early Christians anticipated Jesus' second coming during Advent by remembering the anticipation of his first? While theologians remain divided on which meaning of advent was the initial focus, all early Christians came to spend this time in anticipation of His second coming. (Christianity.com, EarlyChristians.org and The Gospel Coalition)
- "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" evolved from a reverse acrostic? Eighth century monks would recite one stanza of the poem in the days leading up to Christmas. Each stanza began with "O" followed by a title of Christ. The acrostic spells out SARCORE which backward means "I shall be with you tomorrow." Each verse of the song's lyrics, translated by J. M. Neale, describe a title of God sequenced in the poem (Hymnary.org and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).
- Advent calendars began in Germany? To help countdown the days to Christmas, German families in the 1800's tallied down the days with chalk, hung up a series of pictures, lit new candles, or marked off each day on homemade calendars. In the early 1900's publishing companies and newspapers began printing advent calendars. Then, in the 1920's Gerhard Lang (commonly credited as "father" of Advent calendars) designed cardboard advent calendars with doors that opened and held a Biblical picture or verse. (Crosswalk)
We'd Love to Know:
- "So the Lord himself will give you this sign: A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [God Is With Us]." Isaiah 7:14 GW
- "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 KJV
- "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are the smallest town in Judah. Your family is almost too small to count, but the 'Ruler of Israel' will come from you to rule for me. His beginnings are from ancient times, from long, long ago." Micah 5:2 ERV
- "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean." Isaiah 11:10-11 NIV
- "So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." Hebrews 9:28 ESV
- "God of hope, I look to you with an open heart and yearning spirit. During this Advent season, I will keep alert and awake, listening for your word and keeping to your precepts. My hope is in you." - Matthew Kelly
- "The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord." Henri Nouwen
- "Advent: the time to listen for footsteps - you can't hear footsteps when you're running yourself." - Bill McKibben
- "The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come." - Dietrick Bonhoeffer
- "We celebrate the First Advent to whet our appetites for the Second. We long for the next coming." - Max Lucado
We'd Love to Know:
Which verse or quote awakens your spirit of Advent?
Our Nephew's Suggestion:
Get out an Advent calendar!
If you would rather make one than buy one, here are a few ideas for you:
- Of The Spruce's 50 DIY Advent Calendar Ideas, our favorites are:
- Let it Roll by OhOhDeco
- Make it Interactive by The House that Lars Built
- Cross it Out by Casa Watkins Living
- Fill your advent calendar with scripture (list from Titus 2 Homemaker), small gifts (ideas from Savvy Sassy Moms), or family challenges (ideas from Splash Learn).
In our Holiday Spirit post, we invite you to:
- Bless a Learner a Day - includes record-keeping and blessing ideas.
- Discuss the meaning of Christmas - all prompts are secular and start with well-known Christmas quotes. Find Christian prompts at Jules and Co.
- Issue a Kindness Challenge - includes display and challenge ideas.
- Write Notices of Good Cheer - small notes to communicate your appreciation of a learner's behavior.
- Outsource Kindness - pair learners as secret holiday pals who perform random acts of kindness. Includes brief instructions and a link to a more detailed article.
- Uplift Others - by giving compliments as positive presents. Includes instructions and a link to a more detailed article.
- Donate - includes ideas and a link to curriculum tie-ins.
- Pray - includes a list of verses to pray for your learners.
"Would You Rather...?" Questions
- Go to church or fast?
- Memorize songs or Bible verses?
- Get small gifts or do family activities?
We'd Love to Know:
Fighting the Good Fight with You,
Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.