This year, we are trying prayer stations in the Church Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings that worshipers are invited to explore before or after (or during, I suppose) church services.
Here are the stations from Week 1 (December 1)
Station #1 Bubble Wrap Advent Calendars
Note: I borrowed this idea from Theresa Cho’s blog.
This is a great interactive station for families to do together. The objective: make a bubble wrap Advent calendar!
Ahead of time, I cut trees out of Bubble Wrap:
I also held onto the scraps and put them in baskets on the table because it can be hard for kids and adults to resist popping bubble wrap and I wanted the trees to be safe. Providing an alternative to popping the trees worked out well.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent starts today, December 1, and begins a period of time when we wait for Jesus to be born. Children all over the world will count down the days until December 25.
1. Take a tree-shaped piece of Bubble Wrap from the bowl.
2. Choose a sheet of circle stickers and write 1-24 on each sticker.
3. Stick a circle sticker on each bubble (in order or mix them up!).
4. Hang it in your house and each day, pop a bubble!
Prayer: Lord, waiting is hard! Help us to celebrate each day because it is a gift from you. Amen.
Prayer Station #2 Read About Advent
Ahead of Time: Gather a variety of books about the Nativity Story.
Objective: look through and/or read the books provided and consider the story from various points of view.
There are many present in the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible. The shepherds. The angels. The Magi. Mary and Joseph. The animals.
Take time to look through the books about the birth of Jesus, sharing and remembering the story of the birth of the one called Emmanuel.
Prayer: God, your story is amazing! Help us to learn it and to know you through it. Amen.
Station #3 Darkness To Light
I borrowed this station from my minister friend, Rev. AnnMarie Montgomery.
Set up: Blindfolds (bandanas) and tea light candles (I used battery candles)
Objective: Experience darkness. Celebrate the light that is coming into the world through God’s Son, Jesus.
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Our Advent journey begins in almost complete darkness. Darkness can come in the forms of depression, discouragement, loneliness, addiction, disappointment, broken relationships, grief, regret, sin, failure, or…
When you are ready, put on a blindfold. (If you don’t want to wear a blindfold, close your eyes and put your hands over them.) Think about the limitations of darkness. Sit in the darkness, even if it makes you uncomfortable, and consider what a gift light is. When you are ready, open up your eyes and welcome back the light and the ability to see.
Light a candle. The candle reminds us that Christ is our hope. We hope, we believe, we trust in God’s saving grace through Christ Jesus. Sit with the light as long as you like.
Prayer: Lord, let this candle be a reminder today of my hope in your coming. Amen.
Station #4 Words About Hope
Set up: I have a set of magnetic poetry, so I used that. And then I searched the kitchen for metal surfaces that were magnetic. These toasters were my find of the day!
Objective: Place hopeful words, phrases and sentences on the metal surfaces.
I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’
Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgement were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.’
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.
Prayer: God of all who hope and long to hope again, this Advent season, we need you. Amen.
These four stations made a great start to our Advent season.