Daily Archives: December 19, 2018
“Advent is one of the hardest seasons of the church year to celebrate in today’s culture. As soon as Thanksgiving arrives, we are bombarded by Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas everything. We are so saturated by Christmas that we often skip over one of the most important parts: the preparation. You wouldn’t throw a party without preparing the food and drinks; you wouldn’t visit a friend without getting dressed and ready. We are about to remember the most awe-inspiring thing that happened in the whole of history: God becoming man in the glory and mystery of the incarnation. We need to set aside time to prepare ourselves for this – internally and externally” (excerpt from Rachel Telander’s “Let Us Keep the Feast”)
Join us as we prepare for Christmas with an Advent Study based on Selah Woody’s “A Traditional Advent Calendar: 28 Days of Devotions and Activities”. Each day of the study, we will post the scripture to focus on, ideas for discussion and activities with your family, and an example SOAP from our team based on the day’s scripture. If you’d like to see the full daily devotion from Selah Woody’s study, you can get the free download through Focus on the Family HERE.
Join our study by reading today’s scripture below and journaling about it using SOAP (click on the “What’s SOAP?” link above to learn more). Then, read and discuss the verse with your family around the dinner table, in the car, before bed, or another time when you can be in intentional devotion to Jesus. We love hearing from you! Please use the comment section of our website to share your SOAP, thoughts on the verse, discussion with your family, or your favorite Christmas traditions. Join us as we build unity and community through God’s Word!
Advent Study Day 20
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Have your family draw pictures of the Magi (a.k.a wise men from the East). Talk about how the wise men came to worship Jesus, just as we can still worship Jesus today. Continue lighting two purple candles and the pink candle this third week of Advent.
Gifts for a King | Rebecca Hoyt
Although the text does not record the number of wise men, the fact that 3 gifts were presented has led to the tradition of 3 wise men. My Bible notes Mary and Joseph had moved to a permanent dwelling in Bethlehem. Jesus was referred to as a child instead of baby, suggesting that Jesus could then have been about 2 years old.
The wise men gave Jesus gifts fit for a king. Gold was prized for its beauty and worth. Frankincense, a fragrant spice, was taken from the bark of trees and used in incense. Myrrh was a costly perfume often used for embalming the dead. A few years ago I wanted the presents we give my kids to mean more. So to show them we give gifts to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. I started grouping them in 3 groups and calling them wise men gifts. It was fun in our family study to learn a little more about the wise men.
Dear Father, I love celebrating Jesus’ birth by giving presents; it’s so fun for me and my family to think of a loved one anticipating the joy they will feel when they unwrap it. I also love that I get to use this time of year to teach my kids about giving; we usually love picking out items for Operation Christmas Child, but this year we missed the deadline so I saw something we are going to try this year for a countdown to Christmas. Every day we put an item in a box, then in January we are going to take it to the food bank.
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.