Week Three: Help Along the Way
Here are this week’s Pilgrim Steps: real practices you can do on your own or with friends or family as you continue your journey toward Christmas.
Are your wisemen getting any closer to Bethlehem? Where did you end up placing the shepherds and the sheep? Setting up a Nativity (creche) is a fun way to build a family tradition that is shared with Christians all over the world. In Italy, one tradition calls for the most senior member of the household to place the Christ child in the manger on Christmas Day. And another tradition has the children of the family placing wisps of straw in and around the crib each day until Christmas in order to prepare the bed – and their hearts – for the Holy birth. Then, when the Christ Child arrives on Christmas Day, He will find a soft bed of straw to protect Him from the hard surfaces of the manger.
The Spiritual Practice of receiving and giving HELP
“A pilgrimage is never a solitary journey. It is an experience of being helped, and of helping the people God places on your path.” There are many scriptures that speak to the God-given community we have with other Christians (pilgrims), they are called “the One-anothers.”
- John 13:34 – I [Jesus] give you a new commandment: Love each other, just as I have loved you.
o Pilgrim Step: Let yourself be loved. Love the other.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:18 – So encourage each other…
o Pilgrim Step: Embrace those who would encourage you. Look for ways to encourage
- Romans 15:7 – Accept each other, in the same way that Christ also accepted you, for God’s glory.
- o Pilgrim Step: Live in the truth that God loves and accepts you just as you are today. Offer that same acceptance to a person who annoys you…For God’s glory.
- Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
o Pilgrim Step: There is no greater feeling of freedom than to know you are forgiven…stop beating yourself up…accept the HELP of God’s forgiveness. Ask God for the willingness to forgiven that person you resent…offer them this blessed HELP along their way.
HELP! This week we are talking about helping. How we get help from others and how we can give help where help is needed. This week work together as a family to make a coupon book. Brainstorm together “what are things we all need help with?” These things can be something you do every day or things that are very specific. Below are some ideas:
· Help with the dishes
· Help with my homework
· Help giving the dog a bath
Once you have your list completed, start making your coupons. Feel free to be creative as you want, using markers, stickers, glitter, and more. After you’re finished, be sure to put the coupons in a place that is easy for everyone in your family to use them. Throughout the week use the coupons to help each other when you, or someone else needs it! Asking for help can be hard for everyone. Hopefully using these coupons will make it a little easier for everyone.
Here are some questions to help dig deeper into helping.
What is something you have needed help with?
Who are the people who have helped you?
Who is someone you have helped? What did you help them do? Can you think of ways God has
helped you in your life?
Journey into our Community
This week, put on your God-given super powerful noticing glasses. Look around.
Who is helping you? Thank God for “help along the way.”
Where do you see a need you might be able to fill? That need may come up spontaneously, or it might be something you have noticed for some time. Either way, ask God to show you what help is needed. Then, ask yourself the question Julia Carpenter asked herself, “Am I willing to disrupt my plans to offer help?”
Lighting the Third Advent Candle – a Family Advent Activity
This week we light our third Advent Candle. As you light it, read the verse from Psalm 28:7
“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”