Advent 2017

A Moment with the Messiah: Day 2

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Luke 1:26—33

26In 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.”

Reflect: First off, you are highly favored. Favor wasn’t just for the mother of Jesus. God saw fit to seek you out and use you for His purpose, just like Mary. This was the work of the Holy Spirit in you. The Son of the Most High is not only your Savior; He sits on His throne and has granted you citizenship in His eternal kingdom. Oh, how glorious! 

Respond: Savior of the world, thank You for preparing my heart and sending Your Spirit to speak to my brokenness. You were sent to this earth for me, and I want to not only honor You as my King, but also remember that You are Most High and Most Holy. I stand in awe of You. 

Tot Time: Talk about the child’s name and how it was given to him or her. Then, teach the child how Jesus’ name means “God saves” and how God named His Son, just like the child was named. Names are a special gift and are given in love–just like God gave Jesus to the earth as an act of love.

A Moment with the Messiah: Day 1

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!

Read: Luke 1:11—17

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  

Reflect: Merriam-Webster helps us define the word prepare: “to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity.” Just as John the Baptist was sent before Jesus to prepare the hearts of the people for the Lord, we must also prepare our own hearts for His coming and make ready the way for others.

Respond: Gracious Lord, fill me with Your Spirit and prepare my heart this season. Anchor me so I’m not distracted by the noise and the hustle around me. I want my heart to be still so I can clearly hear Your righteous Word and obediently respond.

Tot Time: Holiday baking creates wonderful memories. Talk with the wee ones about a time they baked a cake or cookies with you (or someone they know) and walk them through how all the ingredients were gathered, the oven was preheated, hands were washed, etc. Each of those acts were preparation (getting ready) for what they were about to do. In the same way, we want our own heart to be ready so we can hear His instructions. How can we get everything ready so we hear from God?