Daily Archives: December 22, 2018

December 22 – Advent Study Day 23

“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 23

Luke 1:26-38, 46-55

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid,Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Discussion/Activity Ideas

One of the central figures in the Christmas story is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her life was an extraordinary example of sacrifice, humility and obedience. Read the story of Mary’s visit from the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38). Talk with your children about how difficult it must have been for Mary to suddenly give up her life and her body to God. Then read Luke 1:46-55, which is referred to as “Mary’s Song.” Discuss the joy that Mary expresses in this passage, and talk about how you and your children can cultivate hearts full of love and obedience, just like Mary’s. With your children, write a prayer or a song
that expresses their desire to be obedient to God. Take the time to be intentional with your words, helping your children convey their desire to learn from Mary’s example as a servant of God. Continue lighting two purple candles and the pink candle this third week of Advent.

SOAP Note

Lamb of God | Kathy Page

Scripture

Luke 1:38

Observation

Equipped with God’s promise, Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel says, “I’m available, my life is yours, my body is yours, my womb is yours.”  In this act of complete surrender, Mary offers herself to God as a living sacrifice.  She was willing to be used of God for His purpose; willing to endure the loss of reputation that was certain to follow when people realized she was pregnant.  Willing to endure labor pains, giving birth to the Child, the Christ Child, the Son of God!  Mary was willing to give up her own plans and agenda to link arms with God in fulfilling His agenda, no matter what the cost.
God put a challenging circumstance in Mary’s life.  She would either worship or whine.  When Mary was faced with a drastic change in plans- she responded with worship.  In her beautiful song, she worships God for His wonderful acts, for His mercy and for choosing her to be a part of His great redemption plan.   She was blessed because of her knowledge of and her obedience to her God.  This is where true blessings come from.

Application

After all is said and done, after I have explored all the possibilities, I must decide, am I a servant or a master?  Is my allegiance to my Lord or to my own desires?  Will I obey or take the easy  way out that avoids difficulty or pain?  Is my heart available for Him?  Will I whine or worship?  I must listen to the voice of Jesus, ‘deny self’, that I may, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, always live as one in whom self has been crucified with Christ, and in whom He now lives as Lord and Master.  Let me say with Mary, “Let it be to me according to your word.”

Prayer

Lord, do you ask of me a hard thing?  Help me to count it an honor to be your servant and an honor to be asked to serve you in a particular way.  Help me to serve with joy, with worship, not a grudging or complaining attitude.  Help me to be a willing, faithful, obedient servant in the palm of Your hand, to be used however you choose.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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.

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