Second Sunday of Advent — Family faith formation for December 5, 2021


Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy as a way to begin your time of learning together.

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?  

One:    Christ, the light of the world.

(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?

One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.

(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place)

All:      Who is with us?

One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the scriptures  

(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?

One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God

(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?

One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the Table.

(Place a symbol of Communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread and grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.   

God sightings and prayer offerings

Invite each person to share where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something a person, community, experience, event, etc. for which they want to offer prayer.

Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world … [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for … [Invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier.]. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

Connecting with Scripture — John 18:33-37

Read the scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

For the second reading of the text, invite those gathered to act out the parts on the scripture as the narrator reads it. Encourage John to stand on a box or stool or someplace elevated to bring the good news.

Connecting through story

Watch this story from Steve Hartman’s On the Road:

  • What was the good news Frank Grasberger was hoping to receive?
  • How did the good news show up for Frank?
  • Why do you think it was good news for Frank?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue

  • What does the word “proclaim” mean?
  • What is John proclaiming?
  • How is this good news and for whom?
  • Why do you think John used the words of the prophet Isaiah?
  • What does it mean to “make his path straight” mean?
  • Why do you think every valley should be raised up and every mountain be made low?
  • Why is it good news?
  • Where do you hear good news proclaimed?
  • How can you tell if it is good news or regular news?
  • What good news does Advent proclaim?
  • What things get in the way of your union with Christ?
  • What needs to happen in order for those stumbling blocks to be removed so you are ready for the Advent of Christ?
  • What good news do you have to proclaim now that you know Christ has made our paths straight?

Teaching Points that can be incorporated into your discussion

  • The theme for the second week of Advent this year is “proclaim.”
  • There are so many ways to approach Advent. Some focus on the characters — angels, shepherds, angels, magi. Others focus on traditional words – wait, prepare, joy, hope – to name a few. The thing they all have in common is Scripture. The biblical text is the source of the Advent story and shapes our understanding of the season. This year we focus on four interconnected words that emerge from the bible’s narrative: promise, proclaim, love, and rejoice.
  • The word “proclaim” can simply mean to declare or announce something important. When it comes to matters of faith, to “proclaim” means to announce good news. A sermon each week proclaims God’s greatness. A prophet in Scripture proclaims God’s word to the people.
  • In today’s passage, the story of John the Baptist is one where he is proclaiming the good news that the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus, would soon arrive. He wanted everyone to know that the hope of Israel was fulfilled in the coming of Christ.
  • John took on the words of Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet, and proclaimed that Jesus was the one about whom the prophet foretold.
  • John wanted the people to be ready to receive the savior that Israel prayed, hoped and waited for to bring their restoration and salvation.
  • The last part of the text is a quote from Isaiah. John is like the prophet Isaiah; he was chosen by God to proclaim a message to God’s people — Prepare! Get ready! Put everything to rights! The Isaiah passage encourages people to remove anything that would cause you, or your faith, to stumble or turn away from God.
  • In Isaiah 40, the prophet was telling the ancient Israelites their time in exile was almost over. They were going home. John is proclaiming our time of exile, because we broke the covenant relationship with God, is almost over because of the advent of Jesus Christ. We are coming home to God through Christ. Making paths straight, evening out hills and valleys means everyone is coming home — no matter how far away or how far marginalized or how left out one feels, the path of the Lord’s return is accessible to everyone. All stumbling blocks are to be removed.

Listen to the final verses of today’s text in Handel’s Messiah “Every Valley.” This may not be as familiar as the traditional Messiah, but it makes space for new ideas. This version, “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration” was produced by Quincy Jones, arranged by Mervyn Warren, and is sung by many familiar black artists. Pay attention to the tone and style of the music — what does this song proclaim? How does it convey this message?


Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world. Extinguish the candle.