Advent at Home | 2023 Weekly Devotionals

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ADVENT AT HOME (205) 933-1830




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Art by Naomi Seamon, Age 7


Advent at Home INTRODUCTION Welcome to “Advent at Home,” a devotional booklet with contributions by IPC’s staff and children. Each weekly devotion involves lighting your Advent wreath, a scripture, a wondering question, a reflection, a prayer, and a suggested donation item to bring to church. Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” and along with Lent, is one of our two seasons of waiting in the church year. In our weekly lighting of the Advent wreath, we are reminded of both the past and the future. We light a candle to reflect that “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light” (Isaiah 9:2) when Christ came into our world. At the same time, we wait in anticipation towards a time when “the wolf will live with the lamb,” (Isaiah 11:6), when Christ will come again, and God will be all in all. One of my friends recently shared something like, “I’ve come to accept that I will never have the tidy, perfect space I envisioned for my daily time with God. Light the candle anyway.” You do not have to have a beautiful Advent wreath; lighting any candle will do. Your family does not have to have perfect behavior, attendance, or timing. If you forget one day or week, pick it up the next. Light the candle anyway, as we pause this Advent season to wonder at the presence of Christ that is both here and now and yet to come. Written by Maegan McRoberts, Director of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd




HOPE LIGHT Light one purple candle for hope.

READ Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. Hebrews 11:1-3


Art by Susie Wykle, Age 8

I wonder what “God sightings” you can see when you look at the world around you?

REFLECT “Faith is the assurance of things unseen…” God knows that it will be hard to believe in things that are not in plain sight. It’s okay! That’s why he gives us little clues, little “God sightings” all around us to remind us of His ever-present spirit. Mark Burrows, a composer of children’s music wrote the anthem, “I See You God.” (Our children choir has sung it here at IPC.) In this anthem, the composer speaks of these “God sightings” in our world and how, while God may not be visible to us, the things and actions that God has created all point back to Him. This is how we can see Him in the world!




REFLECT, CONT. My favorite line goes…”I see you in a hand reached out in friendship, I see you in a baby’s smiling face, I see you when your people work together to make this world a better place. Who said you’re invisible? I see you more and more.” These acts of kindness and caring show God’s love to us and to those around us. God is in the lamb as well as the grizzly bear. They make God visible in our lives, the large and small and in the miraculous and simple. God goes from a thought or an idea to a touchable, feel-able, knowable force in our world. And, if we can take the time to look for those things, we can truly see “more and more” evidence of God in our everyday lives. Thanks be to God. Written by Beth Middleton, Director of Children’s Ministries

PRAY Dear God, thank you for giving us hope in you and many other things. We all have hope in you and love you. Amen. Prayer by Millie Seamon, Age 9

BRING Hope is something that normally we can’t see with just our eyes, we have to go deeper and see hope in a new way! Bring some hand sanitizer or soap to help our neighbors wash away the germs we can’t see.

Art by Cat Samuels, Age 8

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1


WEEK 2 (DECEMBER 10 - 16)



Light the first candle for hope, and a second purple candle for peace.

READ The wolf shall live with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the lion will feed together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6-9

WONDER I wonder what the Earth will look like being “full with the knowledge of the Lord?” What do you think will be the same? What do you think will be different?

Art by Eva McRoberts, Age 8

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9

WEEK 2 (DECEMBER 10 - 16)


PEACE REFLECT The prophet Isaiah spoke to God’s people about peace. He said the wolf would live with the lamb, and he even said a little child would lead them. When I think about peace and what I can do about bringing peace, I think about a song written by a young girl many years ago. She had been to a camp for students from many different neighborhoods. She wrote, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our father, children all are we. Let me walk with my siblings in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Jesus preached about peace, too. In fact his first sermon was from Isaiah. He preached about bringing good news of peace and freedom to God’s people. How will you use your words or songs to share about hoping for God’s peaceful kingdom here on earth? Written by Rev. Melissa Self-Patrick, Director of Community Ministries

PRAY God, thank you for your words through Isaiah that show us what the world will look like when you are all in all. Please help us to spread Your peace and love in our homes and our world. Amen.

BRING Bring Chapstick to church this week to share with our neighbors and remember that the words that come from our soothed lips can bring peace to all that we encounter.

Art by Cat Samuels, Age 8


WEEK 3 (DECEMBER 17 - 23)



the first two candles for hope and peace. Light the third purple candle for joy.

READ And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant. Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name; indeed, his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has come to the aid of his child Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Luke 1:46-55

WONDER Mary gave an example of a prayer of joy. If you were to lift of a prayer of joy and celebration to God, what would you say? Is there another way you can express thanks to God?

REFLECT I’ve always been captivated by the Mary’s role in the Christmas story. While the conception and birth of Jesus Christ was certainly miraculous, I can’t help but wonder how Mary felt. Was she scared? Hesitant? Confident? According to Luke, her response to the angel Gabriel’s news that she will bear a son is actually one of joy! Mary bursts out into song, known as “The Magnificat,” which is Latin for “magnify.” Like a magnifying glass that helps us see what is often unseen, Mary praises God, confessing the dark state of the world, but insistent that God will not leave it that way. The Magnificat has been called “The Most Revolutionary Document in the World.” It’s a calling for a radical alteration of everything that is. In fact, Russian czars refused to have it sung in worship.

WEEK 3 (DECEMBER 17 - 23)


JOY REFLECT, CONT. They were terrified of the people praising a God who “brings down the mighty from their thrones and lifts up the lowly;” who “fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty.” Mary’s song is pretty radical, but it isn’t angry. It’s joyful. She’s not scared or vengeful, but hopeful, expansive, and free. “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she says. I wonder what that’s like? I wonder if that’s sort of like having your imagination expanded. I mean the God of the universe who brought all things into being, is going to come into the world through her! The world will know God’s grace, mercy, and love through her! It seems like that might magnify your soul, not your ego, but your heart. It seems like it would expand and transform you. How could it not? Of course God’s revolutionary work didn’t stop with Mary. God is still transforming this world. God’s is still working on rearranging our imaginations and magnifying our souls, so that the world may know God’s grace, mercy and love through us! That might not always feel like that’s true, but the thing about joy is that there’s a defiant quality to it. Even when things seem at their darkest, we can still sing. Because God is midwifing something new, expansive, and free. And this Christmas, our souls can magnify it to the world. Written by Rev. David Seamon, Associate Pastor

PRAY Dear God, Thank you for all the stuff that you made that brings us joy. Amen. Prayer by Millie Seamon, Age 9


Art by Cat Samuels, Age 8

When you give someone a high five, how much joy does that bring you? As you give high fives this week, remember our friends and neighbors who need to keep their hands warm during the winter months. Bring a pair of gloves to church and pray for our community members who don’t have adequate heating.





Light the first three candles for hope, peace and joy. Light the fourth purple candle for love.

READ Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:7-9; 19

WONDER What stood out to you in that scripture? What signs of God’s love have you seen or felt lately?

REFLECT During the Advent season, we remember that God loved us so much that God sent his only Son into the world. In Jesus, we see God’s love take on human flesh. We hear God’s love spoken through the voice of Jesus. Jesus came to pour out God’s love on each one of us and the whole world. Jesus healed those who were sick. He fed those who were hungry. He forgave people when they had done something wrong. Jesus taught us that God is love, and his love for us is strong and constant. Jesus loved us so much he even went to the cross so we could know how deep God’s love for us is. Jesus calls us to love God and each other. We can love each other by praying for each other, making friends with each other, forgiving each other, helping people when they are sick, hungry, lonely, afraid or sad. We can show God how much we love him by coming to church, by praying to him, by reading the Bible, and by helping others. God is love! And we love because God first loved us and sent Jesus to be our Lord, our Savior and our friend! Written by Rev. Susan Clayton, Associate Pastor



LOVE PRAY Dear God, Thank you to all the love that you give to us. We will give you all of our love. Prayer by Millie Seamon, Age 9

BRING They sometimes call the feeling of love the “warm fuzzies”. Donate a pair of warm socks to our neighbors who need a little extra of the love that only Jesus can bring!

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God. 1 John 4:7

Art by Eva McRoberts, Age 8





Light the four purple candles for hope, peace, joy and love. Light the one white candle for Christ.

READ In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:8-20

WONDER Why do you think God chose to come into the world as a tiny baby in an animal’s food bowl?

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people...” Luke 2:10



CHRIST REFLECT Shepherds were not very popular people. They lived outside with their animals so they did not smell very nice, and they never had clean clothes. When people saw a shepherd walking toward them, they probably held their nose and walked by on the other side of the street. Being a shepherd must have been very lonely. I bet they felt like nobody cared about them, like they had no family. So I think it is interesting that shepherds were the first people the angels told about the birth of Jesus. Maybe it is because God wants everyone to know how much they are loved and that Jesus came just for them. He did not come to save only the popular people or the smart people or the beautiful people. Jesus came to save all people because God loves all people, especially the ones who feel lonely or unpopular. As the angel said to the shepherds, “To YOU is born this day in the city of David a Savior.” It does not matter who you are or how much people care about you or how many people are in your family. Jesus was born just for you so that you could be a part of his family and know that God loves you more than anything. Written by Rev. Kevin J. Long, Pastor

PRAY Dear God, thank you for showing us that you came into the world for all people, even those we may not like or admire that much. Thank you for providing us with a perfect example of how to love one another. Amen.

BRING All previously mentioned items will be collected at IPC throughout the advent season. Thank you for bringing gifts to those in need.

Art by Naomi Seamon, Age 7


We hope you enjoy this Spotify playlist with traditional, contemporary and family selections throughout your Advent season.

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