Come, Lord Jesus: Devotions, Prayer Journal and Prayerful Coloring for Advent and Christmas is a booklet I created for and with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS). It includes seven devotions linked to the Sunday before Advent, the four Sundays of Advent, Christmas Eve, and the Twelve Days of Christmas. The prayer journal offers dated boxes to note prayer prompts between November 25 and January 5. The line art in the booklet invites prayerful coloring. Request free print copies or download pages online. To print the devotional in a booklet format, save this PDF and print double sided, flipping on the short edge. To print out just the prayer journal, save the PDF and print double sided, flipping on short edge. Below, find additional information and ideas to help individuals, families and congregations use the devotions and prayer journal. Blessings! Sue
WHAT IS ADVENT?
Advent—the four Sundays before Christmas Day—is a church season of repentance, longing, anticipation, waiting and preparation. Contrary to the busy-ness of preparing for Christmas celebrations, Advent is a time to pause and prepare our hearts for Christ, God incarnate, our Savior who is and is to come.
IT’S A DATE
The dates of Advent—the four Sundays before Christmas Day—change from year to year. It will be helpful to note this year’s dates on the devotions and prayer journal. Christmas Eve (12/24) and Christmas Day (12/25) remain constant from year to year. The Twelve Days of Christmas always begin on 12/25 and conclude on 1/5.
|DAY||Devotion Title Word||2015||2016||2017|
|The Sunday before Advent (Christ the King Sunday)||GRATITUDE||11/22||11/20||11/26|
|The Sunday before Advent (the fifth Sunday before Christmas Day) is the last Sunday of the church year. At Thanksgiving time, we are reminded to be grateful for God’s abundant blessings. Commit to nurturing an attitude of gratitude by including thankful petitions in the prayer journal.|
|The First Sunday of Advent||REMEMBER||11/29||11/27||12/3|
|The Second Sunday of Advent||HOPE||12/6||12/4||12/10|
|The Third Sunday of Advent||TEARS||12/13||12/11||12/17|
|Mindful that Christmastime can be difficult for many people, some congregations offer a Blue Christmas service steeped in grace and reminders that Jesus, Emmanuel, is God-with-us. Sometimes these services are called “Longest Night” and held on the first day of Winter, usually December 21 or 22.|
|The Fourth Sunday of Advent||EMMANUEL||12/20||12/18||12/24|
|Christmas Eve (12/24)||JOY|
|The 12 Days of Christmas (12/25–1/5)||WISDOM|
|How would it be different to think of December 25 as the first day of Christmas instead of the last day of Christmas?|
- Use the week before Advent to prepare for the season. Find your Advent wreath and check the candles. Think about what you want to do, and what you do not want to do, during the weeks before Christmas.
- Make this devotional work for you. Maybe you want to read one devotion a week. Maybe you want to sit down and read them all. Forget to light your Advent wreath and read a devotion on Sunday? Do it when you remember.
- Families might want to keep a common prayer journal and make individual copies for personal use. Stand-alone prayer journal PDF (print double sided, flipping on short edge).
- Extended families and groups (for example, the bell choir, church council, a women’s circle) could customize the prayer journal with member names before duplicating it for the group.
- Use the prayer concerns listed in your congregation’s Sunday bulletin in combination with the prayer journal.
- Make the prayer journal work for you. Many will make daily entries. Others will pre-fill the boxes with names and concerns. Some will focus on one or two petitions each day, others will also remember the prompts from previous days.
- Help those who do not read use the prayer journal by pasting small pictures in the boxes.
- Invite children to create a “God bless” list using the prayer journal. Ask, “Who should we ask God to bless this day?” Prompt them to remember extended family, teachers, caregivers and friends—especially those who are ill. Write these names in the journal.
- Consider “praying the news” in addition to personal petitions. Turn headlines into prayers for peace, healing and recovery.
- Congregations may want to include a devotion or the prayer journal in a Sunday bulletin. Request copies to distribute at an adult forum held on the Sunday before Advent (see “It’s a Date”). Discuss ways to observe Advent and celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. Introduce the practice of prayerful coloring.
Come, Lord Jesus: Devotions, Prayer Journal and Prayerful Coloring for Advent and Christmas. Booklet created for Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS), 2015. Request free print copies and download pages from the LSS webpage. Full-booklet PDF (print double sided, flipping on short edge). Prayer journal PDF (print double sided, flipping on short edge).