ADVENT PRAYER JOURNAL

Do you like to wait?  I’m guessing that’s a “No!”  Whether it’s instant oatmeal, high-speed internet or the express lane at the grocery store, we want it now. And if we have to wait, the journey from bored to aggravated to downright angry happens very quickly! The weeks leading up to Christmas only accelerate the pace of life, and yet the plan of the God of eternity cannot be rushed. “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (Galatians 4:4-5).  Jesus arrives right on time, but perhaps it seems like you’ve been waiting a long time for the Gift He brings?

This year we hope you’ll join us on an advent prayer journey. Like the wise men of scripture who followed the star in search of the Christ-child, we’ll seek to personally encounter the King. The centuries-old practice of Advent (which means “arrival”) invites us to embrace the waiting as we align our hearts to the true north of Christ’s coming.

In these pages you’ll find a thought and a scripture for each day. There’s space to jot down whatever God brings to mind as you talk with, and listen to, Him. We trust that the Lord will meet you in transformative ways as you spend a few minutes each day reflecting and praying through the themes of Advent.  We know Christmas is a special time for children, so for Saturday of each week we’ve added a fun advent activity to do with the kids in your life.

This year as we wait in expectation for the arrival of Christ, let our souls join in the refrain of God’s people throughout the centuries proclaiming, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come.” And let us be here to receive Him, in our families and in our hearts.

KIDS CRAFTS

Every Saturday during our Advent season at FBC, we invite you to share in a fun craft opportunity with the kids in your life – whether it’s your own children, grandchildren or even kids you babysit for! Below, we’ve provided detailed instructions for each week’s craft, as well as additional resources not included in the Advent Prayer Journal.

For each week, we invite you to share pictures on Facebook or Instagram and hashtag #fbcadvent2018 – this will not only allow us to see your beautiful work, but could also provide others with inspiration for their own Advent season crafts! We can’t wait to see all of your creative handiwork as we celebrate the Christmas season together.

WEEK 1 // ADVENT PRAISE CHAIN

Throughout the Bible, we see a call to praise God for who He is. The angels model this attitude of praise for us. They remind us of what it looks like to focus on God and admire His holiness. This Advent season, we invite you and your kids to follow the angels’ example and spend time praising God every day.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Paper strips (get creative with fun paper!)
Container (jar, bowl, box, etc.)
Markers
Stapler or tape

WHAT YOU’LL DO

1. Write each of the 24 Scripture references (listed below) on a paper strip.
2. Put all of your strips into a jar, bowl or box – and keep it handy, you’ll be using it every day!
3. Each day of December, in random order, pull out a strip and read the verse together. Ask your kids, “What does this verse tell us about God?”
4. Spend time talking about and praising God for all of the attributes and characteristics highlighted in the verses.
5. As a reminder of your praise, interlock and secure your strips into a paper chain (as pictured). By Christmas Eve, you’ll have a beautiful Advent Praise Chain!

We’d love to see your praise chains! On Christmas, post a picture on Facebook or Instagram and include the hashtag #fbcadvent2018

Isaiah 9:6
Hebrews 13:15
Matthew 1:21
Hebrews 12:2
2 Corinthians 8:9
John 14:27
Isaiah 53:6
Ephesians 5:2
Luke 1:30-33
Romans 10:9
Matthew 19:14
John 8:12
Acts 1:11
Hebrews 13:8
Hebrews 4:14
Philippians 2:10
John 20:31
1 John 3:16
Isaiah 40:11
2 Corinthians 1:3
Ephesians 2:19-22
Philippians 4:6-7
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Matthew 1:23

WEEK 2 // KIDS’ STAR ORNAMENT

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (per child)

5 popsicle/craft sticks
2 pipe cleaners
1 pom pom
2 googley eyes
Glue
Foam or decorative letters for your kids’ names

WHAT YOU’LL DO

1. Add a drop of glue to the end of a craft stick and attach the end of another – continue this step to form the shape of a star (as shown).
2. Arrange the star so that the top stick (the last applied) is lengthwise across your star (this will be for applying the letters of your child’s name).
3. Glue the eyes onto the outer/lower two stick intersections, as shown.4. Glue the pom pom nose onto the bottom stick intersection, as shown.
5. Cut the pipe cleaner to form a smiley face and glue each end to the bottom of the star, as shown.
6. Twirl a pipe cleaner around a pen to create a spiral, then wrap one end around the top point of the star to secure it, as shown.
7. Glue (or stick) your letters to spell out each child’s name across the top (horizontal) stick, as shown.
8. Bring your completed star ornaments to church on Sunday to display on our FBC Kids tree!

We’d love to see all of you making your star ornaments! Take some pics while making your ornaments together and post them on Facebook or Instagram and include the hashtag #fbcadvent2018

WEEK 3 // PAPER PLATE CHRISTMAS TREES

In the traditional Christmas carol O Christmas Tree, we sing “Thy leaves are so unchanging.” During Advent season, the Christmas tree’s “unchanging” leaves can represent God’s unchanging presence in our lives (Hebrews 13:8). This craft is not only fun to make, but it can also help remind you of God’s unchanging promises and the important people He has placed around you.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Paper plates (1 per child)
Scissors
Paint, markers or crayons
Glue or tape
Stars, sequins, glitter &/or ribbon

WHAT YOU’LL DO

1. Have your kiddos paint or color their paper plates free – this will become their tree!
2. Once dry, cut the paper plates into three equal wedges (as shown)
3. Glue or tape the wedges together to form your tree shape (as shown)
4. Using your stars, sequins, glitter, ribbon and other items, decorate your tree as desired.
5. Display them proudly on the wall, on your fridge, or even hang them on your Christmas tree as a reminder of God’s unchanging love and presence in your life!

We’d love to see your beautiful work! Post a picture on Facebook or Instagram and include the hashtag #fbcadvent2018

WEEK 4 // GRAHAM CRACKER NATIVITY

(used with permission from gluestickblog.com – click here to see the full blog post, including more detailed instructions and decorating ideas)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Graham crackers
Peanut butter (or royal icing)
Quart-size plastic zipper bag
Assorted candies
    gum drops, red hots, malt balls,
    mini candy canes, animal crackers,
    toasted coconut, fruit-by-the-foot, etc.
Cardboard base or sturdy paper plate

WHAT YOU’LL DO

1. To keep things easy and clean, put the peanut butter into the plastic bag and snip off the corner to use as a piping bag, as shown. (note: while peanut butter matches the color of the graham crackers, royal icing hardens better – so if you plan on transporting your nativity or want it more secure, use icing!)
2. Beginning with the base, assemble your stable – use full graham crackers for the bottom, back & top and use half graham crackers for the sides, as shown.
3. Begin creating your farm animals and characters! Have fun and get creative!
4. Decorate & arrange your nativity scene and display it proudly to remember that God loves you so much that He sent His only Son, as a baby, to save the world!

We would love to see your Graham Cracker Nativities! Post a pic on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #fbcadvent2018