Advent, just wait...
I tweeted the other day about the Advent Experience i was doing with my students. I ended the tweet & facebook post with “... just wait!” A clever pun on the idea of experiencing advent. I had one person say something but other than that i’m not sure anybody really caught the start to my Advent Experience but then again i don’t think many people really catch Advent in general. Which is why we had an Advent Experience!
And if your wondering what i’m talking about... you’re not catching it either! Just wait
Advent is all about waiting, anticipating, it’s all about getting ready for the One who was, and is, and is to come! I decided that i could just preach a message about this, there are TONS of scriptures about Advent, about waiting and anticipating but i wanted my students to experience it!
So here’s what we did...
We started our service off with with a countdown, all the student with one robust voice counted down the last 10 seconds and then... another countdown started. They WAITED 3 more minutes, counted down once again and we continued.
Then we played a game, kinda. I picked students, had them come up on the platform, picked some random pieces that they thought were going to be apart of the game and then i told them i had forget some of the pieces to the game and they were going to have to WAIT.
I also had one student come on the platform, I had found out his absolute favorite snack, honey BBQ wings from Pizza Hut. I told him we were going play a little game, he had to sit with the wings in front of him but we weren’t ready yet... he would have to WAIT!
I let all the students sit down, they would have to be PATIENT. I let the student stay on the platform with his wings though. Our worship leader came forward to lead us. He tuned... and tuned... and tuned some more. He continued to say, “Sorry guys, just be PATIENT, HOLD ON, we’ll be ready SOON.”
I then came up and said i would just give the message and we’ll worship later. By this time, those that were really paying attention (and most of them actually were) began to realize the theme.
I opened my bible and began to flip through, trying to find the passage i was looking for, “my bookmark must have fallen out, just HOLD ON, i’ll find it.” “I think i actually left my notes in my office, just be PATIENT.” I walked of the platform and this little video i make began to play.
When the video was done i walked up and began to share. My middle school students were engaged, they got it, they knew what we were talking about. Matthew, the student on the stage with his favorite wings quickly became my goto illustration. Because sometimes it’s really hard to wait, isn’t it! I preached, we worship together, it was a really great night!
The one nugget i wanted to communicate through my message and through the experience was that we know as Christians we need to learn to pray, to read our bible, even to live in community... but how often do we teach students the art of waiting, being patient, holding on for the Lord. We don't’ typically see this as a Christian practice worth giving any attention to but the more i studied and looked around bible the art of waiting is central to the Christian life. And what better time then Advent to usher our students and our churches in the Christian practice of patience.
We talked a bit about the double Advent we embrace. First we WAIT for the birth of Christ but we also WAIT for the return of Christ, knowing that He will return and make all things new, redeem our suffering, and quench our thirst once and for all.
We talked about trust and faith. It’s easy to think that God must not know what he’s doing because things aren’t happening on our timeframe or the way we think they should go. But learning to WAIT is essential for the Christian life, it teaches us to trust that God actually knows what he’s doing, he has a plan, that God is actually good and is with us! It’s not always easy to wait but often times that which we wait for is far better then what we could have had sooner. Our culture teaches immediate gratification but our Lord teaches us to WAIT! To Trust! To have faith that God has a plan!
There are a lot of culture implication that we talked about. Faith implication and a general challenge to WAIT ON THE LORD because he promises to hear our cries!
Here some some scriptures that i used...
Isaiah 64:1 // Luke 1:78-79 // Psalm 40:1 // Proverbs 16:32
Romans 8:25 // James 5:8 // Revelations 1:7-8
You can also check out some of my Advent posts from last year...
And finally if you looking from some great Advent ideas & videos check out Advent Conspiracy - they do some great stuff!
And look at their old stuff on YouTube -- really good!
w/Grace and peace