Words of Hope-Advent 1

Years ago, I was asked by a church to lead a four-week Advent study. I’ve always loved the ritual of the Advent candle lighting, so for the study I decided to explore where does the Bible mention hope, peace, joy, and love. Each Sunday in Advent, we met and opened our Bibles together. It was such a rich experience that I’d love to do that again here on my blog. Each Monday morning, I’ll share Scriptures for the next week of Advent. I do my sharing a week early to help out any clergy friends in need of inspiration. Bring your Bibles and read through the Scriptures listed.

I’ll invite us all to reflect on these questions-

What surprised you about how and where hope/peace/joy/love is mentioned in the Bible?

Where do you find hope/peace/joy/love this Advent season?

How will you share hope/peace/joy/love this Advent season?

And since Advent begins on Sunday, we’ll start right away with hope.

 

Hope

 

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,   his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

                                               Lamentation 3:21-25

 

Psalm 33:18, 22- God’s eye is on those who hope in God’s steadfast love.

Psalm 39:7 – My hope is in the Lord.

Psalm 42: 1-5 – My soul longs for God.  God is my hope.

Psalm 71: 5, 14 – “I will hope continually.”

Jeremiah 17: 5-13 – verse 7 trust can be translated as hope. Hope/trust?

Romans 4:13-25 – Abraham’s hope

1 Corinthians 13:13 – faith, hope, and love abide

 

What surprised you about how and where hope is mentioned in the Bible?

Where do you find hope this Advent season?

How will you share hope this Advent season?

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Book Review- Waiting for Christmas by Kathleen Long Bostrom

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For the season of Advent, one of the book reviews each week will be for a children’s book. I think Advent and Christmas have inspired some of the most lovely children’s books. I suggest you go to your local library and check your bookshelves and find a children’s book to read this time of year. If you have a child to read with, please do. If not, it is perfectly okay for adults to read children’s books!

Waiting for Christmas: A Story about the Advent Calendar Kathleen Long Bostrom

Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zonderkidz, 2006.

This book tells us that the season of Advent is our time to prepare and wait for the season of Christmas. As Christmas seems to begin earlier and earlier each year, this book may be good way to remind us of the important of waiting. Having an Advent calendar is a great way to visualize how long we must wait for Christmas.

The book includes many options for counting down to Christmas. The only problem I have with this book is that Advent is not always 24 days. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. People like to start counting down to Christmas on December 1. This year Advent begins on November 30, so there are 25 days in Advent in 2014. Nevertheless, this is a good read for all ages about the season of Advent as we all wait for the birth of Jesus.

Worship Words-Advent Candle Lighting Week 1-Hope

Advent is the season of the church year that prepares us for Christmas. Advent is four weeks leading up to Christmas. One way that Advent is celebrated is through candle lighting. To participate in this candle lighting ritual, you’ll need three purple candles, one pink candle, and one white candle. You could make a fancy Advent wreath (see pintrest for many ideas) or you can purchase 5 votive candles and light them. Any way that you decide to do this is fine. I just hope you’ll participate in the season of Advent as we prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus on Christmas.

The first week of Advent is all about hope.

Think about hope as you read Lamentations 3: 21-24,

“But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,

God’s mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in the Lord.”

 

Light one purple candle

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Gracious God, As the Advent season begins, we cry out to you. We come to you looking for hope. When everything else we rely on fails us, our only hope is in you. When we do not understand what has happened, we hope in you. We can hope for better days because we trust you. We know you and we know you are here with us no matter what we are facing. Some of us see only darkness this time of year. Some of us find life overwhelming. Some of us are filled with Advent joy. Wherever we find ourselves today, Loving God, remind us that our hope is in you. Be with us on this journey. Amen.

Also published in liturgy link on November 11, 2014.

Book Reviews

How my book reviews work-

1-I evaluate the books based on two responses. Each response can receive up to 6 points.

     Emotional Response

Did I enjoy reading it?

Was I moved?

     Scholarly Response

Did I learn something?

Did I find what I was reading to be well-researched and correct?

2- I’ll share some my thoughts on the book including the groups or people to whom I’d recommend the book

3-I will conclude with some insights or quotes I found useful from the book.

What You’ll Find Here

Welcome to my new blog.

Here you will find book reviews, worship words (liturgy), and recommendations for a good cup of tea. I hope you’ll find books you’d like to read. I hope you’ll find words that help you connect with God. And, I hope you’ll find a new tea to enjoy. I’m looking forward to walking this journey with you.