Below is the discussion guide on JOY for families with younger kids, along with a craft idea. Don't forget to go back to the main Advent page for the LOVE IN ACTION weekly challenge and this week's videos on JOY.
Advent Wreath: Light the first, second & third candle
Start by going around the table and sharing the most joyful moment of your day with each other.
SAY: Joy spreads when you smile! We're going to take a piece of ribbon or string and cut it to match the
width of your smile. (Measure with a ruler to determine the size of your smile.) Try to
smile at 10 people (or more!) tomorrow.
SAY: Joy is often confused with "happiness." Many things in this world can make us happy, such as a new toy, a delicious slice of cake, a blanket of fresh snow to make snowmen out of, or better yet, a snow day! All these things can and do make us happy. But they are only temporary.
ASK: Can you think how these things can only last for a little while? (see what answers kids come up with before you suggest...The toy gets old and broken, the cake gets eaten, the snow melts and school starts again the next day.)
SAY: But ...joy is something different. True joy does not end when a life circumstance ends. In the Bible, joy is most often recognized to and tied to the actions of God. For instance, the miraculous conception and birth of John the Baptist became an occasion for joy and gladness (Luke 1:14). Shepherds hear that the birth of the messiah is an occasion for great joy for all people (Luke 2:10). Throughout the Bible we see that joy has more to do with what God has done and is doing in us, not just a situation in life or a thing that brings us happiness.
Read Luke 2:8-20 and how the angles declare a message that would bring “joy to all!”
1. In what ways would this bring joy to everyone? (because God has made a way for there to be forgiveness, even when we do bad things (sin) and he's brought peace between God and us. Otherwise we would have no direct connection or way to talk to God, other than making sacrifices and going through a priest like in the Old Testament)
2. What are some things that make you happy? what about things that bring you joy? (even during COVID...)
3. Can you think of some ways that knowing God has brought you joy? Or how have you have seen him bring joy to other people?
4. How can we know the difference between temporary happiness and lasting joy?
PRAY: Jesus, may your Joy fill us, strengthen us and flow through us to others. Amen. Help us see the joy in each situation and not allow temporary unhappiness to steal our lasting joy in what God is doing in our lives every day.
CRAFT IDEA: make edible christmas snowflake ornaments or make some out of popsicle sticks:
Recipe for Edible Christmas snowflake ornaments here.
(Don't forget our LOVE IN ACTION challenge this week: bake/buy a treat for a friend or neighbor that will bring joy, or leave a surprise treat somewhere 0 like a candybar for your mail carrier) Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you did and how it impacted people.
Devotional ideas taken from https://thisfulllife5.com & https://www.inmanparkumc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Weekly-Advent-Devotional-Packet-2015.pdf