Rejoice in the Lord Always! Philippians 4: 4-7 Advent 3C, December 13, 2015

 

20130822-223454.jpgGather the children while singing this song:

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice! 
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice! 
Rejoice! Rejoice! And again I say, Rejoice! 
Rejoice! Rejoice! And again I say, Rejoice! 

*Here is the link for the music: http://www.hymnary.org/media/fetch/104118

Teach them the song as they get settled. Ask them how many times a day they say the word rejoice? What does the word “rejoice” mean? Do you always feel happy? No, and that’s ok. Life can have some hard days where we don’t feel happy. But rejoicing isn’t necessarily about feeling happy.

20130822-223633.jpgPaul tells us in the letter he wrote to some people who lived a long time ago that even when they are having a sad day or a hard day to rejoice. He’s not telling them to be happy or just smile, but to remember that Jesus promises to be with them always and loves them no matter what. He’s telling them to give thanks that even when life is sad or hard to know that God knows that they are sad and will be with them. Paul also tells them that they should always talk to God about everything. There is no question that they cannot ask. When we talk to God all the time, we keep God as the most important thing in our lives. When God is the most important thing in our lives, we remember that we are the most important thing to God AND that ALL PEOPLE are the most important thing to God! We can remember to treat each other how God treats us: as very important!

If you could ask God something what would it be? (Warning adults: this could be loaded! Be sure you follow up with any families if something difficult arises. Great opportunity for pastoral care and connection!) What would tell God “thank you” for? God wants to hear it all! Most of all God wants us to always talk to God AND talk to each other. When we share our happy days with other people, those days are even happier and when we share our sad days with other people, our sad days might be a little easier.

20130822-224425.jpg Dear Jesus, thank you for hearing all of our prayers. May we share your love and peace with everyone we meet. May we care for our neighbor and make sure that no one is hungry, lonely, or cold. You love all people very much and we are grateful. Please help us to love everyone as much as you love them. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship Station 1: Have hearts cut out of card stock with a variety of colored markers on a table. Ask people to write/draw a prayer on the heart. What do they want to ask God for or give thanks for today? Have a large wooden cross in a location where the prayers of their hearts can be taped to the cross. You may want to have this available at your Wednesday evening Advent worship if you have one. Offer a time in your worship for people to gather at the cross to pray some or all of the prayers.

Station 2: Have a bowl of “worry rocks.” Have several permanent markers  (black or a dark color) and invite people to write a worry on the rock on one side and the word “peace” on the other. (Or they could draw a cross as a reminder that “the Lord is near.”)

20130822-223908.jpg+The Lord is near+

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