“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 25
7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
In years past, Christmas Eve was the traditional night for the hanging of the greenery in the church, though nowadays most congregations and families decorate long before Dec. 24. This delayed decoration represented the transition from a time of waiting and preparation to one of exuberant joy. To go along with this idea of waiting in anticipation, have your child make a baby Jesus figure out of tissues, but wait until morning to place Him in the Nativity scene. Use 10 tissues and wet them. Then form them into a sleeping infant—a circle for the head and an oval for an infant’s body wrapped in cloth. Set it in the sunlight to dry. When it dries, have children paint their infant to look more like they think Jesus looked. Advent ends at midnight on December 24 as we officially move into the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Today, continue to light all 3 purple candles and the pink candle.
Helpless Child | Becky Newman
Luke 2:7; Matthew 18:4-5
When Jesus was born, he gave up the privileges of being fully God and took on being fully human. God didn’t place His Son in a family with the worldly privileges that come from wealth and status, but He did place His Son in a family who exemplified love — love for God above all shown through their obedience to God’s plan and love for their child shown throughout the Christmas story and here as a mother gently wraps her baby in cloths and lays him down to rest in the best place she could find for him in the circumstances. When Jesus became man, he was helpless and fully dependent on Mary and Joseph to love and care for him. A child must be dependent on a caretaker, and that’s why Jesus points to children as the example of what we must be like to be great in God’s Kingdom. As children of God, we must be fully dependent on God, helpless without Him.
I think so many of our Christmas traditions are focused on children to remind us to be God’s child, to depend on Him like my kids depend on me. And Christmas has that extra special component of awe and wonder through a child’s eyes that God wants to remind me to see when I see His creation and how He works through it all. In an especially busy Christmas season this year, where I find myself all out of balance with home and work and health, I need to make sure there is margin for these awe and wonder moments to ensure that I’m reminded and my kids are experiencing how our dependence within our family mirrors the relationship we should have with You.
Lord, guide my steps to the margin to have these moments as we celebrate Christmas. Thank You for my family. May we celebrate Christmas well.
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.