Week Three: Advent Family Toolkit

Theme: Joy

Joy is new life beating in a heart that has been broken. Joy is awakening to a fair morning from a nightmare of reality. Joy is a flight sunward on wings you had forgotten you had…Joy is God’s melody amid the discord of life, a song carrying the lilt of eternity and touching the chords of longing in our souls.

—David E. Butler, from Seasons of Hope: Readings for the Liturgical Year

Scripture Text | Luke 1:46-55

Three Wonderings

1

Can there be both sorrow and joy at the same time?

2

What brings you joy?

3

What might be happening in the world that makes it hard for some people to feel joyful?

Reflection & Music Video

Join Claire Klein as she invites you to reflect, wonder, and connect through a creative telling of the scripture story and music.

Story from Luke 1: 26-56; Interpretation by Claire Klein; Costumes provided by Rosetown Playhouse; “Turn the World Around” is a folk song from Guinea made popular by Harry Belafonte, recorded with Columbia Records.

Home Advent Candle Lighting Ritual

Use this document for guidance on daily rituals, and listen to Claire’s beautiful Light One Candle song. Audio guide to Wednesday’s Blue and White family spiritual practice.

Contemplative Practice for Parents

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina, Latin for “divine reading,” is an experiential way of reading that engages the mind, heart, and imagination. This practice encourages you and your family to listen beneath the text rather than reading for comprehension or information – noticing what captures one’s attention and touches one’s soul.

Lectio Divina Week Three

Creative Project / Game

Cookie Creation Game

How to

  • Use your favorite decorated cookie recipe, or Dylan’s tried and true family recipe to make some quirky cookies!
  • Come up with a few categories for your contest (think outside the cookie cutter!). For example: Ugliest sweater, Most out-of-proportion, Squiggliest, Most eyeballs, A made-up animal or monster: a frangipestoad or a three-footed happsilo;
  • Do this project in your home with family members, or share the categories with friends and meet on video chat to share your creations and vote for the winners.

Materials

  • Ingredients and materials for your chosen cookie and icing recipes;
  • Decorating materials (cookie cutters, food coloring, sprinkles…)

Tips

  • An old-fashioned garlic press works great for gingerbread hair or squiggles
  • Use cookie cutters as a starting point: try making a mash-up of different shapes or cutting out your own!
  • If you really want a challenge, try a time limit!
  • Remember, the purpose isn’t to make the most beautiful cookies, it’s to spend joyful time together! If you want some inspiration, check out Nailed It, a Netflix show that revels in the delight of baking failures.

Caring for the Common Good

Spark Joy and Share Warmth

Altruism and generosity bring joy to the giver and the receiver. Consider this fun, simple way to make a difference for others. Gather your family to create simple “no-sew” fleece blankets while you listen to holiday music, sip on hot chocolate, and chat. These blankets provide security, warmth and comfort to children who have been traumatized or are seriously ill.

Materials

  • fleece fabric (amount varies with blanket size) or a fleece blanket kit;
  • fabric scissors or a rotary cutter;
  • optional but helpful: masking tape and a T-shaped ruler

How to

  • Search online with your kids to buy soft fleece fabric with patterns your child likes — or purchase a fleece blanket kit.
  • Follow these instructions for creating your blanket. Or use these video instructions.
  • While you work, ask questions to reflect on the project: Do you have a special blanket or stuffed animal? How does cuddling with it make you feel? What else makes you feel safe and comforted? How do you think a child who is scared or ill might feel when they receive the blanket we made?

If you live in the Twin Cities, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP) in Plymouth is seeking blankets. Contact Ashley Wyatt for delivery information. No matter where you live, you can contact your local chapter of Project Linus; they will distribute blanket donations to organizations with the greatest need. It’s helpful to contact these agencies prior to beginning your project in case they have specific guidance to offer.

Children’s Books

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2021