31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. (Luke 1.31)
The first Sunday of Advent, my church has interactive prayer stations, an opportunity to engage, reflect, and meditate on this period of expectation, waiting, and preparation for the birth of Christ.
Below are ideas for interactive prayer stations focusing on centering our hearts on minds on the meaning of Christmas. The interactive prayer stations are meant to be intergenerational. There are also stations designed for ages 2-4. (For more specific instructions on layout, purpose, design, and more ideas, you can view previous posts tagged under “Interactive Prayer Stations.”)
Interactive Prayer Station #1: Ready-ing My Heart
Materials: 1-2 inch width Ribbons, Permanent Markers, Candle, Fake Christmas Tree
Discovering to ready my heart for God’s gracious promise – may my heart be open to what God offers me. Write on 2 ribbons 3-4 words that describe your desired heart condition. Tie one here & tie one on your Xmas tree, rear view mirror, refrigerator door handle or place under your pillow, to remind you of your readiness.
Interactive Prayer Station #2: Seeing God’s Capacity
Materials: Paper, Permanent Markers, Big Bucket, Sand, 8 x 8 x 4 Glass Blocks
Imagining God’s capacity to provide promise, find 5 words describing what limits your God-view – bury them deep in the sand, out of sight. Find 5 words to describe what enlarges your God-view – place them within the stronghold, to form part of God’s promise offered.
Interactive Prayer Station #3: Formed to be a Sign
Materials: Basket, Playdoh
Experiencing my formation as a visible sign of God’s gracious promise to others – God forms you to be God’s promise to others.
In what way do you feel God’s transforming power in you? Use play dough to form how God is reshaping you. Place it in the basket as an offering, a desire that others may know the promise through you.
Interactive Prayer Stations for Toddlers:
Activity one: There were many people at the birth of Jesus Christ. Look through the books and hear the story through different eyes.
Materials: A variety of Children’s Books on the birth of Christ, such as, Bright Christmas : An Angel Remembers by Andrew Clements and Kate Kiesler, The Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi by Dianne Hofmeyr, The Greatest Shepherd of All: A Really Woolly Christmas Story by Holly Gerth and Rosemary Harris, The Shepherd’s Christmas Story by Dandi Daley Mackall and Dominic Catalano, Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wangerin, Spirit Child: A Story of the Nativity (Aztec) by J Bierhorst and B Cooney
Activity two: Ornaments are used to decorate a Christmas tree. Sometimes an ornament has special meaning or symbols to tell a story. Choose an ornament. Write or draw a Christmas wish. Put it in the ornament. Take it home and hang it on your tree.
Materials: Clear Plastic Ornaments (I got mine from Michael’s), Strips of Paper, Markers
Activity three: Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time when we wait for Christmas when Jesus was born. Children all over the world count down the 24 days until Christmas using an Advent calendar. Make an Advent Calendar: 1) Take a tree bubble wrap; 2) Write 1 through 24 on each circle sticker; 3) Stick a circle sticker in order on each bubble; 4) Hang it in your house and each day pop a bubble.
Materials: Bubble wrap cut in the shape of a tree, Circle stickers, Markers