Fullness of God/Fulfilled by God Advent Kit

Supplies: Week 1: Pen and Paper, Week 2: Favorite Beverage, Week 3: Candle, Week 4: Candle again Christmas: Note from Week 1

Week 1 Full of Prophesy

Reading

Ezekiel 37:1-14
37The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.

Activity: Write a Note to Yourself, something you want to hang onto throughout the season. It can be a hope, a feeling, a promise from God. Keep it simple and straightforward.

Week 2 Full of Purpose

Reading

Isaiah 55:1-13

55 Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
6Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; 7let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Activity: God has purpose for us and we shall not come away empty. Take 10 minutes with your favorite beverage and take the time to savor that fact that God has purpose for you. Surely a God who has given us so many good things to eat, has good plans for us to fulfill.

Week 3 Full of God’s Word

Reading

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Activity: Light a Candle and think about how you’ve heard God’s word or seen it fulfilled this week. Where have you seen God in action? Or maybe God is calling you to fulfill God’s word, and you need to take a moment to figure it out.

Week 4: Full of Good News

Reading

Luke 2:1-14

2In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Activity: Light the candle again if you wish. What is a sign of Good News Today? Have you heard or seen good news? Was it online? A story from a friend? Where was the good news? Did you tell that good news to someone else as well? Think about how you hear and tell good news. Did you forget to share it? Can you tell the story to someone? Do you have someone you can count on to tell good news to or to give you good news? Who are the Good News angels in your life.

Christmas: Full of Christ

Reading Luke 2: 15-20

hen 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.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Activity: Take out the card you wrote on, reflect on how God moved with you through the season. Does being full of Christ today make you think differently about what you wrote? Would you change it? Did you go in a different direction than you thought? Did God teach you something? This is your note, scribble, doodle and make notes on it as needed.

Feel free to Email me at Katyandtheword at gmail for a doc version of this Kit

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Christmas Blessing

With Credit to @blackgirlinmain Shay Stewart Bouley on Twitter who congulated those cooking their first Christmas dinner–with full empathy for how nerve wracking it is– her tweet inspired this.

A blessings on all those who had to cook, who aren’t usually responsible for Christmas dinner–blessings for those who did tacos or takeout or didn’t cook at all and just rustled up whatever was around.

A blessing for whom the Christmas rituals were too short this year, missing people and missing traditions, and a blessings for whom they were too long because the holiday is such a struggle.

A blessing for those for whom Christmas is the end of a very long and very tiring season and they are awaiting a little bit of a break or a restart, and a blessing for this for whom Christmas means no break at all, and often means double work and double stress and little grace or gratitude from those around you.

A blessing on those who have experienced a loss, for whom Christmas hits hard and lonely, a blessing for those who are dealing with infertility when everyone is screaming about babies being born.

A blessing for the families who don’t have the money to do Christmas, for the families that are too busy worrying about a roof over their head or food to eat to feel blessed in any way.

A blessing for the sick and those caring for them. In this time of trial, may there be compassion and moments, however brief, of respite.

A blessing for those who aren’t sure if they want to celebrate Christmas, for whom it’s complicated or carries too much baggage or carries too many to do lists or litmus tests of faith.

A blessing for those for whom this is their “first” Christmas of any kind, good or bad, because transition is tough and we need these blessings.

A blessing on those who are tired, alone, trapped, in danger. A blessing for victims of abuse, victims of state brutality, those who are imprisoned and those who are stuck in violent or unsafe situations, a blessing for those in the midst of war in what should be a season to pursue peace.

A blessing for those who are searching for hope: through family or friends or social media, a blessing because the search can be long and hard and you can get lost upon the way and talk to the wrong people as the magi can tell you.

A blessing for those whom I’ve forgotten, those who are at the corners of my mind, but somehow skipped over. I lift you up to God, because God knows your heart. God knows the blessings you need, so I pray that God gives you the blessings you need.

Christmas Blessings be with you all.
Amen.

Yearning For Christ

God you know between the last minute shopping for rosin (yes for a violin) and milk and eggs.

Between the accounting for presents, preparing for communion and making sure every single thing is in the car that we need for Christmas Eve (please God please) that all of this is my very human yearning for Christ.

We mix and clean and shop and sometimes forget to rest (oops) because this is some of the things we know to do to prepare for people coming.

And as we pray tonight, and then try to sing safely the carols in the car, I think of how worship is never beautiful or perfect, but it is always yearning for Christ.

And as I try to remember all of the things and take care of all of the people, let that stand as a yearning for Christ too. The scratchy zooms, the struggling uploads, the handwritten promissory notes for gifts, the wrapping, the decorating, the house that will never be free of crumbs this year.

Lord I’m praying: Let all that I have done and all that I have left undone. Let every word and thought and deed, yearn for Christ. Let it show every time I love my neighbor as myself, Let all of the imperfections in my heart bespeak my need and love and yearning for Jesus Christ.

Stretch my heart towards Jesus, I pray, because it’s the Christmas thing to do!

Amen.

More 800 Yearning Synonyms. Similar words for Yearning.
Image

Bulletin Christmas Eve: Short, No singing

Hey folks we are doing Christmas Eve where we light a bunch of Candles and then doing carol singing in our cars afterwards. Feel free to adapt or use.

Welcome
Psalm 62:5-8For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honour;
 my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
Selah

Second Reading Luke 2:1-4
Light Candles

Third Reading Luke 2:5-7
Light Advent Wreath

Reflection Roger Held

Sermon “Christmas Disasters” Pastor Katy

Holy Communion
Invitation from Christ
The Lord be with you
And also with you
Lift up your hearts
We lift our hearts to the lord
Give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give our thanks and praise….(prayer continues)

Jesus, you are here. In the manger and the elements, and the Holy Spirit. We confess we do not know how to fully imbibe your presence. So we pray that we can practice taking you in as we experience communion: we pray that it binds us together, that the taste on our tongue tastes like grace, and we pray that you send your Holy Spirit to bless us as we do. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer (unison)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Bread & Cup
Prayer after Communion

Luke 2:8-14 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, ‘Fear not; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 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!’

Matthew 2:8-12
Light Candles

Luke 2:15-20
Offering

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being
.
What has come into being in him was life, & the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.

Light Candles

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Prayer

Lord God, this is the first year I’ve been able to write Christmas cards to the Congregation.

You know that I just don’t have the mental acuity to do it usually, too many details.

And God, you know that sometimes I lose the details. Especially in Advent and Christmas.

Usually my mind is boggled with Pageants and Parites and Decorations and Huge Lists of traditions, so I lose track.

I wonder if Mary and Joseph felt that way. If in planning their trip to Bethlehem, they weren’t able to think everything through.

Or if they ended up staying longer than they thought they would, and she reached the “fullness of her time.” then.

Or God, I wonder if baby Jesus came early! Anxious to be a part of the world he came at 8 months!

I remember being pregnant, God. I would not be surprised if Jesus coming was a surprise or not, because even with a scheduled C-section, birth continues to be a surprise.

I often think that Mary and Joseph might not have been the type to write Chrsitmas cards most years too.

Each and every card was a prayer, like this one, I put my whole heart into the card

I listed

Safety and Protection, calling upon the angels to come down

I encouraged comfort: and tried to say both comfort in cozy PJ’s with tea, and comfort like the warm hug one needs when the stress or hurt or anxiety overwhelms

and I prayed for some measure of joy.

And God, I resisted the temptation to just write “tidings of comfort and joy” and assume everyone knew what that meant.

I confess, I don’t know what that means. When we say have a merry, little Christmas, what do we mean by this?

Can any Christmas be Little? Is Christmas really about being merry?
Or is joy more serious than that!

Did the shepherds dance and the magi sing? Did Joseph cry in wonder? How fierce did Mary feel when she was giving birth?

God I’m still praying for some measure of joy.

Whatever that means

I’m praying for safety and protection, and all the kinds of comfort, and some measure of joy.

I’m praying it over and over again. Holy Spirit grant this to us all, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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