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Hopeful Anticipation

Advent

Life Night Outline

Goal of this Night

The teens will examine how the hopeful anticipation of the season of Advent compares to their own feelings regarding their hopes and dreams for the future.  They will be encouraged not to wish to speed time up or “fast-forward” into their future, but to enjoy the time of anticipation as a gift from God that helps prepare us for the future and reminds us to prepare for the coming of Christ.

About this night

Every year it seems that “preparation” for Christmas begins a little earlier; “after-Thanksgiving sales” now start on Thanksgiving, people race to complete their Christmas shopping months in advance, and the onslaught of holiday activities seems endless. In between Christmas concerts, plays, and cookie baking it can be easy to forget the season of Advent. This liturgical season is a blessed time of waiting for Christ, and calls to mind the incredible reality of the incarnation and looks forward to the time when Christ will come again. This Life Night challenges teens to dive into the season of Advent. The night begins with each teen receiving a gift that they need to wait to open, and a video from Busted Halo that gives an engaging overview of the season of Advent. The Proclaim will provide teens with a basis for understanding the season of Advent and how it can impact us spiritually. During the Break teens split into separate grade levels for discussion. The night closes with a reflection on the Annunciation and a time of prayer that gives teens an opportunity to turn their hopes and anticipations over to Christ.

Parental Notice

This night asks the teens to examine the complicated emotions surrounding the hopeful anticipation of the Advent season. Joy, fear, excitement, anxiety – this myriad of emotions is familiar in the uncertainty of the teen years. Teens will connect these emotions with how Mary may have been feeling upon the announcement that she was going to have Jesus, and be encouraged not to wish the time away, but to enjoy the periods of anticipation in their lives just as we engage wholly in the hopeful anticipation of Christ’s coming at Christmas and at the end of time. Take some time to discuss this night with your teen using these questions:

1. What are you excited about for the rest of this year and next year?

2. What are you nervous, uncertain, or fearful about?

3. What hopes, dreams, and plans have you been waiting and praying for?

4. How does the hopeful anticipation for your future compare with the hopeful anticipation of Advent?

Environment

Create a Christmas morning living room in your main meeting area. Include a mock fireplace made out of cardboard or wood with stockings hung up, and an empty plate with cookie crumbs. Have a decorated Christmas tree with several presents underneath. There should be enough gifts for every teen at Life Night to take at least one. Inside each of the gift boxes place a copy of the Magnificat prayer card. You may want to vary the sizes and weight of the boxes (using rocks) to keep teens guessing as to what might be inside. (Have Core Members or parents help wrap the gifts before the night.) Have Christmas music playing in the background as teens enter and serve Christmas cookies and cider or eggnog to the teens. The Core Team should be “buzzing” about opening Christmas gifts and how excited they are.

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