Good morning parents!
Last night we ate pizza, played some games, sang some Christmas hymns, and learned about Advent!
After some quality time playing pool and carpetball, Eli led us in some Christmas themed worship to set us up for our lesson surrounding Advent! We sang O Come O Come Emmanuel, Joy to the World, and Silent night, and our students are steadily getting a bit louder when we worship!
As we moved into our large group teaching, we spent some time talking about the origins of the advent season we celebrate. The early church would spend the 40 days leading up to the feast of epiphany in a time of fasting, prayer, and confession before celebrating Jesus' birth and baptism on January 6th! Somewhere in the middle ages this tradition was modified by protestant pastors to specifically include the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas, and the Dutch reformed church further adapted it in the 1600’s to the celebration we are used to today.
The wreath and candles that we light are beautiful reminders that we live in a world where Jesus has already come, the battle is won, and that He is coming again! The candles symbolize hope, faith, joy, and peace while the central candle represents Christ. We spent the last few minutes of our large group teaching talking about why Advent matters, and how it can be a helpful reminder in a world that is incredibly busy around Christmas time.
In our debrief groups we discussed whether or not observing seasons like advent are helpful or not, and how we can practically celebrate the joy that is offered by seasons like advent.
Next week we are having our year end Christmas party, and then we will take a break for a couple weeks and I will see you all in the new year! Thanks as always for checking in
Happy Monday friends!
Last night in youth group we ate some grilled cheese, prayed for our pets, and talked about how Fortnite and MI football aren’t long lasting sources of hope!
After some quality time playing games together we gathered for prayer and dove into the last week of our “With you” series! This week we focused on the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, and how Eli was able to give her hope in a particularly dark time. We went off the rails a bit talking about things that we are hopeful for, with things like “a dub in Fortnite” and “MI winning the rose bowl” coming up more than once. The part of the night that stood out to me most was when I asked students how they would respond if someone came up to them and said “I feel hopeless.” The first response was “invite them to play fortnite,” but I doubled down and tried to get to the core of where our hope lies.
We live in a world full of hopeless people, especially given the last few years and all the garbage that came with them. We sit across from people every Sunday morning who are struggling with feelings of hopelessness, but we rarely know what to do about that. In my experience hopeless people rarely ask for help but we should know with absolute certainty where our hope lies, and be ready to invite others into that hope if the chance arises.
One of the questions I like to ask myself as a “heart-check” is “If someone were to look at the last 24 hours of my life, would they see where my hope lies?” What differentiates a student who doesn't know Jesus from a student who does? If both go home from whatever sport or extracurricular activity they are involved in, slog through homework, and then jump on fortnite or social media to pass the time… not much. Maybe their attitude? A quick prayer before a meal? Surely there is more to following Jesus than that!
We ended our large group time by reflecting on 5 practical ways to help our friends who need hope. I encouraged the students to pay attention to their friends and look for signs of hopelessness, ask honest questions, listen well, pray for them, and finally take care of themselves in the process.
We spent some time digging into where our hope truly lies in debrief groups before heading home!
Next week we are going to take some time and reflect on advent and the hope of Jesus before having our year end party on the 18th!
Thanks as always for checking in! Have a wonderful week!