Week Four:

You Are in

the Right Place

Pilgrim Steps

Where are we?  That might seem like a pretty simple question, but this week we are talking about how we are in the right place.  During this week, as a family, carefully take a look around and see where you are.  Talk about the ways your current location is just right for each member of your family at this time. One fun way to look more carefully at where you are, is to bundle up, grab a snack, and take a walk through your neighborhood one night.  There is so much to see when you slow down to look carefully! So many homes are lit up for the celebration of Christmas.  To make your evening walk even more fun, click on this link to a scavenger hunt list to do as a family.

Here are some questions to talk about as a family after your adventure through your neighborhood:

  • What house was your favorite?
  • The shepherds saw an angel, what do you think the angel looked like?
  • What is the best part about living in your neighborhood? How would each member of your family answer that question?
  • What is the hardest part? How would each member of your family answer that question?
  • What would you like to tell God about your neighborhood?

Practicing the Presence of God

Practicing the Presence of God flows from a desire to be open and aware of Christ’s presence living within us and in the world. C.S. Lewis wrote, “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowed with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
 Develop a way of living that brings God to mind throughout the day
 Stop for a few minutes during the day to check in with your heart and listen for God’s voice.
 Try seeing the other people in your life as Christ might see them.

A few of the benefits of this practice include:

 Having a deeper connection with God
 Living as if the present moment is the most important
 Remaining open and teachable in all moments
 Seeing yourself as God sees you, rather than how you think others see you.

From The Message – John 5:39-40
You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.

This is the week during which all your nativity characters finally arrive in Bethlehem. It has been quite a pilgrimage for each of them, but they made it. Now the rest of the story can unfold. Read Luke 2:1-7.

Are there physical locations you drive by which bring to mind certain feelings, songs, or conversations associated with a time you remember as being a “hard time?” Maybe it is a place at which you received some unwelcome news. Certain locations and spaces just seem to carry a heaviness with them, even today, all because you were at that place at just the right time to receive the life-jolting news.

This week, contemplate making a pilgrimage to one of those locations which evokes those thoughts of sadness, doubt, dread (insert added descriptor here). These would be the spaces you might have been deliberately avoiding. Once there, take time to sit in prayerful silence offering God those hurtful memories. Imagine yourself placing the bundle of your pain into Christ’s open arms. And while you are there, consider offering prayers on behalf of those currently in that location, or those currently involved in a situation similar to your own.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie,
Christ where I sit,
Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of it every one who speaks of me.
Christ in the ear of every one who hears me.
St. Patrick’s Breastplate

The Fourth Candle

This week we will light the fourth Advent Candle on Sunday December 20, and on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, we light the final candle – the Christ Candle.

The fourth Advent candle can sometimes be called the HOPE candle because it reminds us that with Jesus’ birth a new hope came into the world. The hope that in Jesus, God has come to be with His people. Also, that when Jesus comes again, at the end of time as we know it, God will make right all that was, is, and ever will be wrong in this world. As you light the fourth candle read this verse:
And [God’s] hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:5-6

The Christ Candle

Our final candle is called the Christ Candle. Jesus called himself, “The light of the world.” Before you light this final candle, turn out all the lights in the room. Sit in the dark for long enough so that you feel a little uncomfortable. Now light only the Christ candle. Notice what a difference the candle makes. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but
will have the light of life.”
Now light the other four candles.
Not only did Jesus say he is the light of the world, he wanted those who call themselves “Christians” to be lights in our world as well. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16