Monthly Archives: December 2015

Christmas Has Arrived

Christmas has arrived — the day we celebrate the advent of our Savior Jesus Christ. Tonight and tomorrow, enjoy your family, food, and sharing gifts with one another. However, make sure to designate time to remember the reason we celebrate. Jesus has come and is coming again.
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Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read the Christmas story.
Luke 1:26-56
Matthew 1:18-25
Luke 2:1-40
Matthew 2:1-12

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The Nativity

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read about the kings who came to worship Jesus.
Matthew 2:1-12
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Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • What do you think it would have been like to be right in the middle of that? What stance or position would you take in that scene?
  • The wise men worshiped Jesus by kneeling. How does just being on your knees change the position of your heart?
  • The wise men also worshiped by offering their best gifts. Think of a creative way to offer worship today that has nothing to do with singing.
  • Look at the pieces of a nativity set and consider the features the artist used to show that the scene is centered on Christ. How can your worship be more centered around Christ this week?
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Immanuel

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read these passages regarding Immanuel.
Matthew 1:22-23
Isaiah 7:10-15
John 1:14
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Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • Immanuel means “God with us.” How is Jesus still “God with us” even now that he’s not walking on the earth?
  • How is God “for” us different than God “with” us? What are some ways you sense God with you?
  • Talk about a time in your life when you felt the closest to Jesus. Make plans to do something today to get closer to God. How important is it to seek to experience that closeness all the time?

Consider making a sign that reminds you God is with you and hang it somewhere where you’ll see it often.

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Lights

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read these passages regarding Jesus being the light.
Matthew 4:12-17
Isaiah 9:1-3
Matthew 5:14-16
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Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • How is Jesus the light of world? Think about the scientific facts you know regarding light. In what ways is light the perfect illustration God created from the beginning to illuminate who Jesus is?
  • Why do you think Jesus refers to His followers as the light of the world? What would it mean for your life to be a light in your relationships and situations?
  • How has your life been a light to those around you? Make a point to be light during this season.

Research the beginnings of the tradition of Christmas lights. Drive around town with a group of friends or family and look at the different expressions of lights.

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Decorations

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read God’s detailed instructions for the decoration of the Tabernacle.
Exodus 25
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Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • Why do you think God was so specific about how to decorate the temple? What significance or symbolism do you think these decorations must have had?
  • Go through your home and examine the Christmas decorations you have. If you haven’t decorated, take this time to decorate to celebrate this important season. Talk about the meaning and significance of your existing decorations. How can your decorations speak to the focus you’ve placed on Christ?

Consider creating a new ornament or decoration that represents how you feel about your relationship with Jesus this year.

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The Gift

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read these verses regarding giving.
Acts 20:35
1 John 4:10
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Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • What is the real point of giving a gift? How is Jesus the best gift you have ever received?
  • How generous are you with your time, treasures, and talents? Do you live as if it truly is more blessed to give than receive? How can you live this out more fully this Christmas season?
  • Talk about a time when you blessed someone with extreme generosity or a time where you were blessed by someone else’s extreme generosity. Spend time in prayer asking God to help you become more generous by better comprehending the gift of love he has given us.

Consider Christmas shopping for someone who is not a part of your immediate family − like a patient in a nursing home or hospital, your mail carrier, your garbage collector, or a foster child.

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Terrified

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read the account of the shepherds who became witnesses to Jesus’ arrival.
Luke 2:1-20
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Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • Wonderful and terrifying at the same time! What do you think was going through the shepherds’ minds when the angels appeared?
  • How would you have felt if you were given this news?
  • Have you had an experience where God interrupted your life with an important message? How was that a combination of terrifying and wonderful? If you are discussing this with your family or friends, take time to share your answers with each other. It is important for us to learn from one another.
  • As you pray today, take time to listen to what God may be saying to you.
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The Annoucement

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read the opening chapter of the New Testament — the account of Joseph, the earthly father God chose for His Son.
Matthew 1
Note for parents: If you’re reading this with your children, you may want to paraphrase verses 18 and beyond. Please read in advance and determine what is appropriate for your children.
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Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • How would the weight of generations of expectations of the coming Messiah affect Joseph’s ability to step into such an awesome role.
  • What do you think was going through Joseph’s mind when the angel showed up and told him about Jesus?
  • How would you have felt if you were Joseph? What would this announcement mean to him? What does this announcement mean for us?
  • Have you had an experience where God asked you to do something that seemed ridiculous? Make a plan this Christmas season to do something ridiculous that you know God wants you to do. If you are discussing this with friends or family, what could you do together?
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His Names

Bible (with shadow)
On your own or with friends/family, read these passages regarding Jesus’ first coming and His second coming.
Isaiah 9:6-7
Revelation 19:1-16
1 Timothy 6:11-16
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Headphones
Listen to the “Hallelujah Chorus” or “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” from Handel’s “Messiah.” Click here to watch Handel’s Messiah on YouTube.
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Light Bulb
Journal on your own or discuss the following questions with a group of friends or your family:

  • As you read these verses and listened to this song, did you notice how prominent the names of Jesus are? Think for a minute about how important your name is to you. What does a name mean?
  • Take a few minutes to write down each name of Jesus mentioned in these passages. If you are doing this on your own, journal about what each name means to you. If you are doing this with a group of friends or your family, ask each person to share what each name of Jesus means to them. Answer the question, how does Jesus express himself in these various ways in your life?
  • As we celebrate Jesus’ first coming, and look forward to his return, let us remember to live as Paul describes in 1 Timothy 6:11-12. As you prepare for this season, reflect on what it would look like for you to live this way.
  • On your own or as a group, pray looking forward to Jesus’ return and thanking God for the various ways Jesus has impacted your lives.
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