The Weary World Rejoices – A Devotional Resource for Advent

Week Two – Peace: 2020 Advent Week 2 Devotional
Week Three – Joy: 2020 Advent Week 3 Devotional
Week Four – Love: 2020 Advent Week 4 Devotional
Week Five & Six: Christmas
Welcome to This Advent Season

We are entering the season of Advent. A time the Church throughout history, and the world has used as a time to prepare our hearts and lives to welcome the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas.

Advent has its roots in the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming or arrival” During Advent, we anticipate and celebrate the “coming of Christ” in three different ways: first, we remember the physical arrival of Jesus in Bethlehem. Second, the reception of Christ in the heart of the believer, and last Jesus’ return and second coming.

This time of preparation has several ways and traditions for us to engage with God and come close to the wonder of Christmas. One of these traditions is lighting candles each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas day, with each candle having a traditional meaning: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Other traditions can include keeping an Advent calendar at home, following a Scripture reading plan, and decorating our homes and Christmas trees.

This year, our Advent focus is also the title of our devotional, “The Weary World Rejoices.” The World is Weary. In Christ, the Weary World Rejoices. As we intentionally carve out time to examine Advent’s common themes – hope, love, joy, peace, and light – we will be confronted with two opposing things: the weariness of the world and the joy of Jesus.

We will have opportunities to participate in a spiritual discipline such as fasting and feasting. These will help form and shape us into people who rejoice and are formed by the grace of Jesus. Jesus confronts the weariness of the world by infusing a new song into our hearts. Jesus partakes in the rejoicing, inviting others into the sacred celebration.


Weekly Scripture Reading

During the season of Advent, we invite you and your family to join us in daily Scripture readings as part of our preparation for Christmas. We will be sending a weekly Scripture Reading PDF. This PDF will have three sections. The first page will have a chart that you can use as a quick reference to the daily readings, the spiritual practice, and a recommended song from the Weary World Rejoices playlist. The next section will have suggestions for both old and new traditions and holiday activities to consider adding to your Advent preparation. The final section is the daily readings with a bit more detail and an explanation of that day’s spiritual practice.

Here are a few ideas that could bring a deeper engagement with the passage. Consider trying one or two of them during this Advent season. These are suggestions and not a checklist. Some can be done as part of a personal devotional time. Other suggestions are for parents to help their children participate in the family devotional time to make the experience memorable.

  • Come to the passage to learn. Ask yourselves, “how does this point towards what I know about Jesus?” Then talk about it. Ask children what they think the passage means. Have a dictionary (or a phone) nearby to look up new words or ideas that are unfamiliar to you.
  • After reading the Scripture, have everyone draw, sketch, or write the events, ideas, or questions based on the passage for about 6-10 minutes. Then journal about the experience. If you are reading with your family, have a storytelling time to share with each other.
  • Choose a small portion of the passage, about four-eight verses, to reflect on. Read the Scripture several times – out loud, silently, with different pauses and inflections, and in different translations. Pause between each reading for silent reflection. Then journal about the experience. If you are reading with your family, have a storytelling time to share with each other.
  • Build the scene with playdough, popsicle sticks, or anything you have around the house. “Show and Tell” one another what is in your scene.
  • Divide up the characters, assigning one or two to each person, then go to your closet to pick out an outfit to represent this person in the scene. Have a “Reader” read through the scriptures as the “Actors” play their part. Or another time, visit the toy box and use dolls, Legos, or other toys, and let these be the “puppets” for the story


The Playlist

Music and Christmas go together like cookies and milk. As part of the preparation of Advent, “The Weary World” has a song for each day included in a playlist. The weekly PDF has the songs for that week listed. Or you can find the full “Weary World Rejoices” playlist on YouTube or Spotify.


These songs for Advent are selected for their role in building the narrative or exploring the theology of Advent and Christmas. The songs listed within this resource are not necessarily traditional “Christmas” songs; however, they carry theological and narrative weight for our Christian faith. Listen to the words sung and to pay attention to the emotions brought to the surface within you. Let these songs guide your personal worship this season. The specific artists and their arrangements are listed for emphasis, contrast, or to demonstrate a specific facet of the story of Advent as portrayed by the artist. If this arrangement is different from what you have heard before, lean into this difference, embrace it, and compare and contrast it with what you have heard and sung in the past.

Spiritual Disciplines & Activities of Fasting & Feasting:

There is a rhythm to spiritual practices. We see examples in Scripture of these patterns. Jesus modelled for us the practice of time alone with God before going out to serve others. In the creation story, we are shown the way to balance work and rest.

Fasting and feasting also have a rhythm. In fasting, we say, “No, not right now,” to something good for the sake of pursuing God, and then to re-engage with that good thing at the end of the fast.

Fasting, especially from food, is a traditional practice in Christianity that is based on Scripture. Jesus fasted and told us, “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16). Note that he says “when you fast,” not “if you fast.” Fasting is not dieting or purging. Fasting is not giving up unhealthy things. Binging and purging urge us to overindulge, over-participate, overeat, and then reign it in and restrict afterwards.

Fasting, which is followed by feasting, moderates and regulates intake by delaying satisfaction and gratification, refocusing attention on God and the blessings and goodness of God. Then, after the fast is over, we may participate in the feast set before us.


The fast of Advent leads to the feast of Christmas. As we journey through Advent this season, engage in these weekly rhythms of fasting:


Sundays of Advent – Fasting as Darkness

Mondays of Advent – Fasting as Vacancy

Tuesdays of Advent – Fasting as Hunger

Wednesdays of Advent – Fasting as Empathy

Thursdays of Advent – Fasting as Frugality

Fridays of Advent – Fasting as Pause

Saturdays of Advent – Fasting as Self-Denial


Fasting is not meant to be easy. If it were easy, perhaps we would do these exercises all the time. Let the tension within you, your housemates, or your child lead to prayer, not to arguments and strife. Acknowledge the tension, talk through what needs are behind the tensions, pray about it, and move forward in peace.

After the time of fasting, we turn to the time of feasting. As we engage with Christmas and Epiphany, we encounter the reversal of the fasts with these feasts:


December 24 & 31 – Feasting as Light

December 25 & January 1 – Feasting as Sacrament

December 26 & January 2 – Feasting as Celebration

December 27 & January 3 – Feasting as Shared Space

December 28 & January 4 – Feasting as Generosity

December 29 & January 5 – Feasting as Rest

December 30 & January 6 – Feasting as Reconciliation

Engage in these fasts and feasts and their respective activities as you reflect on the scriptures listed each day of Advent and Christmas. Journal about what you learn and ponder and what is changing and being shaped in your soul. Each week you will find the details about the fasting


The material we are using to prepare for Advent “The Weary World Rejoices,” including our Sunday Advent candle readings, the graphics and bumper video, the weekly Scripture readings, Fasting materials, and this introductory invitation was written by Rev. Emily Hines. We have made minor changes in formatting, editing choices to fit our church, and the inclusion of family advent activities. However, the core of the resources was created by Rev. Emily Hines and is offered as a free resource to churches and pastors by the Wesleyan Church. We thank both for sharing these resources generously with our community of faith.


Blessings on you as you journey through this Advent Season,

North Grenville Community Church