Music and the Gospel: “That’s Christmas To Me,” Pentatonix; 4th Sunday of Advent

With the holidays come family, friends, food, and presents. Also with the holidays can come stress, materialism, and fatigue. It can be really difficult to step back and remember what’s really important: being grateful for what we have. We don’t have to be stressed out and tired, trying to find the perfect gift and spending money we may not have just to show our appreciation for our loved ones. We can instead spend something more precious: our time. We can give something more precious than any present: our unconditional love and support.

Key Lyrics: I’ve got this Christmas song in my heart / I’ve got the candles glowing in the dark and then for years to come we’ll always know one thing / That’s the love that Christmas can bring / Oh, why? ‘Cause that’s Christmas to me

Questions: How does your family celebrate Christmas? Does your family have any free or inexpensive Christmas traditions? If so, what are they? If not, how can you go about starting a new tradition? What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

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Prayer of the Week

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Music and the Gospel: “Sound and Color,” Alabama Shakes; 3rd Sunday of Advent

This week’s Spirit begins with a girl feeling how unfair life always is: she didn’t have enough toys as a child, not enough new clothes now. Everyone else has more than she does. Then she helps her brother out at a food kitchen in a poorer neighborhood and realizes that her hardships are minimal compared to others. Her eyes open up to a whole new world where fairness takes on a different meaning. She develops a new standard: everyone is deserving of compassion and kindness – no questions asked.

Key Lyrics: This life ain’t like a book / Sound and color / I wanna touch a human being / Sound and color / I want to go back to sleep / Sound and color / Ain’t life awfully strange / Sound and color

Questions: What does the idea of fairness mean to you? What do you think is unfair? How has life been fair or unfair to you? How can you change this attitude? Who affects your attitude about fairness or unfairness? Do you or your family have any holiday traditions that involve volunteering?

Music and the Gospel: “Hollow,” Tori Kelly; 2nd Sunday of Advent

In light of what’s happening in our world today (the multiple school shootings that seem to occur with alarming frequency, the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut), we’ve been hearing voices calling out for compassion, even forgiveness towards those who have hurt us, our loved ones, our neighbors. Tori Kelly acknowledges that some voids can only be filled with love and forgiveness, and it is in those moments we are sometimes closest to God.

Key Lines: I confess (yeah), my weakness / Til you pick up the parts that are broken / Pour out your perfection on me now / And hold me / Wrap me in love, fill up my cup / …Cause I’m hollow

Questions: What is a difficult thing for you to forgive? What are some actions you consider unforgivable? What are some examples of forgiveness that you see around? How have you been forgiven?