Advent is a time of holy mystery — a time to slow down and notice our longing for God. Waiting and Wondering, this year’s Advent At Home worship guide, focuses on Scriptures in which people have questions for God. The prayers and activities are adapted from the worship resources developed by the Advent 2019 writing team from Mennonite Church Manitoba for Leader magazine.
We invite you to bring your questions and respond to God’s questions as we share weekly prayers and activities. You can also download the full Advent At Home worship guide.
The following items can help make a holy space in your home and your hearts for Christ this Advent and Christmas season. Feel free to adapt them to suit your home.
- A Theme Poster: Title the poster “Waiting and Wondering.” Begin your poster by drawing or stamping a series of question marks in the center, perhaps even creating the shape of a Christmas tree with them. Draw background lines from behind the center to create six segments to fill in the six weeks.
- Advent Candles and Wreath: This guide includes the lighting and snuffing of candles. Lit candles are a traditional sign of Christ’s presence. Also, children love to light candles and blow them out! Find four candles of the same size plus one “Christ candle” that is a bit larger or fancier. A simple arrangement of candles in inexpensive holders on a plate with greenery around them works well.
- A Simple Crèche: If you don’t have one, create a simple A-frame with rough lumber or bark and add appropriate toy or play dough figures to the scene throughout the season.
- A Family Advent Journal: The activities section will have a reflective question for each week’s theme. If you haven’t kept a journal before, consider starting one for this season.
- Mennonite Hymnals such as Hymnal Worship Book (HWB), Sing the Journey (STJ), and Sing the Story (STS).
- A Bible and this booklet.
Week One Worship Guide
Call to Worship: Oh God, our God, we cry out to you and wonder, “What are you waiting for?” We call on you in our longing and waiting. Wake us up, gather us into your goodness, and bring us your peace. We worship you.
Candle lighter: (light the first candle, then say) This first Advent candle reminds us to wait and join with the good things God longs for.
Leader: Blessed be our God, who invites us to wait and walk in the light of the Lord!
Listening to God’s Word: Reflect on God’s dream through these texts this week: Isaiah 2: 1 – 5, Psalm 122: 1 – 5, 6 – 9, Romans 13: 11 – 14, Matthew 24: 36 – 44, Luke 1: 26 – 38, 39 – 45.
• What questions did you notice in today’s reading?
• I wonder what they were longing for.
• I wonder what things God longs for in my life.
Sing or play: STS 3 Come, Light of the World, STS 10 Come! Walk in the Light
Prayer: In our longings and fears, may the God of peace carry us, bind us together, and make us ready for God’s breaking in of peace.
Candle snuffer: May God’s longing for peace shine in and through us, even as we blow out this candle. Amen.
Activities to choose from
- Create the title for your poster and add pictures or words for the things you really long for in the first background section.
- Respond to someone else’s deep longings by helping them feel accepted and loved.
- Imagine what God’s longing for creation is for your community this Advent. How can your celebrations fit in with that plan?
- Start setting up a Christmas crèche. Add the figures of those who were waiting for the Messiah.
- Start out on God’s Advent path by trying to look at your home and neighborhood with God’s eyes. Record the things you notice your Family Advent journal.
- When you wake up, ask yourself if you dreamed about something for which you are waiting. Think about it and then tell your family about your dream when you gather around the Advent wreath.
- Find a project that helps you respond to God’s longings that make a difference for families and congregations in Israel/Palestine this Advent. Invite other families to join your giving project.