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Advent Readings 2016: Week 3

You’re reading an Advent Devotional that is part of a series. You can find all the devotionals here.

Advent simply means “coming.” What was really coming at Christmas in this tiny baby? Hope was coming. Love was coming. Peace was coming. Joy was coming. Life was coming. And when we tell others about Jesus and when we serve others by being the hands and feet of Jesus, we are sending hope. We are sending love. We are sending peace. We are sending joy. We are sending life. What are you giving away this Christmas Season? Give away Jesus. And be prepared to know more fully what you are giving away.

The first devotion of each week will include a FAMILY CONNECTION and additional ACTIVITIES to do as a family. Decide which day of the week works best for you as a family to do that one. You can certainly do them all as a family but we want to challenge all families to do at least one a week with your children. Along with the devotions, you’ll find 5 coloring pages. We encourage you to take the time to reflect, rest, and refresh on the names of Jesus while working on these challenging coloring pages. These 5 pages form 1 larger image when put together. We’d also love for you to come to Hope Chapel, the Kids Connect wing, and color in our larger version which measures 6 ft x 10 ft.

Week 3: December 11 – 17

Image of God – 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15

Who in your family do you look like?  A parent?  Sibling?  Do you have kids who look like you?  Do you and your family members act alike?   Genesis 1:27 tells us that WE are made in the image of God; male and female.  We all have some of the attributes of our Heavenly Father, but not all.  Jesus is the only one who embodies all of God’s characteristics and is THE image of God.  So when people looked at Him, they were literally seeing God.  If you read further in Colossians chapter one, you read that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Jesus]” (verse 19).   Jesus encompassed all of God’s attributes (though you probably wouldn’t know it just by looking at him), all things were created by him and for him, and He reconciled all things to himself (God).  We know that God is all-knowing and always was and is and will be and these passages remind us that Jesus is the same.  Jesus is the Image of God.

So what attributes do you have that are Godly?  What are the Godly attributes you are working on so that people will see more of God in you?

FAMILY CONNECTION:  Read the highlighted verses in 2 Corinthians, Colossians, and also in Genesis.  Read the above devotional with your kids and have them say who in the family they think they look alike or act alike.   As a family, make a list of qualities you think God wants us to have.  Ask your kids which ones they think they have and which ones they would like to work on.

ACTIVITY: Play “Who Am I?” and take turns acting like someone else in the family.  Everyone has to guess who the person is trying to act or talk like.  (You can keep it to only family members living in your home or expand it to extended family members, too, if you wish!)  If you’re feeling artsy, take turns drawing each other!

As you color your coloring sheet together throughout the week, continue to discuss ways in which we can act more like God and be Godly to our friends and neighbors.  Take the opportunity when your kids tell you about their day to talk about how others can see God in them by how they act.

Everlasting Father – Isaiah 9:6; John 8:51-58

In Isaiah, the child born would be called the Everlasting Father or the Eternal Father. For the Jews, this meant that the child would grow up to be a great king with a great nation that would last forever. He would be the beginning of a great nation, restoring the Davidic Throne. They couldn’t image that this child could ever refer to God coming in the flesh. For them, there was One True God and He existed already and was already their spiritual Father. So when Jesus claims to be existing before Abraham and claims that He can give eternal life, it was confusing because that meant that Jesus was God. It meant that Jesus was the One True God. It meant that Jesus was their spiritual Father from the Old Testament. How can that be? How can the eternal God be also a man who was born as a baby like any other human? This child born was not going to be a great king with a great nation on earth as they envisioned it; but, because He was, and is, and will always be the Everlasting Father, God was setting up an astonishing kingdom that really would be everlasting.  He is the Everlasting Father.

Are your eyes focused on what God can do here on earth or do you see how God wants to work for heavenly and eternal purposes? He is the Everlasting Father that has far reaching goals, plans, and purposes.

Ruler/Lord of Lords/King of Kings – Matthew 2:6; Colossians 3:23-24; Acts 2:36; Revelation 19:11-16

Before the birth of Jesus, it was foretold that He would be a ruler, a leader, or a governor as some translate it. This was great news for the people who didn’t like the current ruler and government. Becoming a nation again with their own ruler looked like it was no longer just a dream. But as Jesus later dies and rises back to life and ascends into heaven, it’s clear that His rule was not what they hoped for. It was actually even better.  God was to be the ruler and leader of every person who believed in Him. God could be their master and their king even when there was another leader and king in power on earth. That’s because He is the Master over all masters. He is the Lord over all lords, and He is the King over all kings. You could also say that He is the President over all presidents. God would rule and lead from His throne in heaven. God would rule and lead through the hearts, hands, and feet of those who follow Him. And one day, during the end of times, Jesus will return to bring judgment, set up His direct rule, and show His power as that Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. He is the Ruler.

Who’s the boss in your house? Who’s the boss of your boss? What kind of attitude should you have knowing that God is the Ruler over all rulers?

Great High Priest – Hebrews 4:14-16

A priest in the Old Testament is someone who helped offer the sacrifices for the people’s sin to be forgiven. The priest was necessary in offering a sacrifice for sins. The High Priest would be the only one to have access into the Holy of Holies but only after he sanctified himself. The Holy of Holies was a special place in the temple or tabernacle that God’s presence would be. It was a place for the Ark of the Covenant which carried the special items of Israel’s relationship with God such as the 10 Commandments on stone tablets. This special place was set apart from the rest of the sanctuary by a big curtain. When Jesus died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for sins, there was no human priest helping with that sacrifice. Jesus, as God, did it Himself. So Jesus was not only the sacrifice, but He was the one offering the sacrifice. He was the High Priest. And because Jesus is God, He always has direct access to God’s presence. Also, when Jesus died, the big curtain split in half from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). That symbolized that everyone now has access to God’s special presence through Jesus Christ. Jesus made it possible for us to approach God directly. And we don’t need anyone else relaying messages to God. We can pray with confidence to God directly. He is the Great High Priest.

Have you ever had a fight with someone that you had someone else tell that other person a message? Why is face to face conversation better than writing letters to each other?

Jesus – Matthew 1:21

Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph, the engaged husband to Mary, both heard from an angel that the son born to them was to be named Jesus. Why Jesus? Was Jesus a special name? Jesus is a Greek word for the Hebrew name Joshua which means “Jehovah (YHWH – God) is Salvation.” Both Joshua and Jesus were not unique names. There were other boys and men named Jesus and Joshua during the days of Jesus (Colossians 4:11). But after Jesus Christ was given that name, it took on special recognition and celebrity status. Jesus was to be called Jesus because He was bringing salvation to the world. There is no other name in the world that represents that. It’s by the name of Jesus that we can and must be saved (Acts 4:12). The name of Jesus wasn’t just a name because God always liked that name, it was a name that would forever change the world. He is Jesus.

What does your name mean? Were you named after someone special?

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