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Advent Readings 2016: Week 4

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 4: December 18 – 24

Mighty God – Isaiah 9:6

“Mighty” is another word for “powerful” or “full of might.”  We certainly see God’s might when He plagued Egypt, parted the Red Sea, destroyed Jericho and several other cities throughout history.  Jesus, as God, displayed His might, too.  He commanded the sea to be still (Mark 4:35-41), He drove out demons and performed many miracles.  Knowing that Jesus had all the power and might of God, we also know that He could have stopped His excruciating crucifixion.  He had the power to stop the soldiers or even to come down from the cross and amaze the crowds. There would’ve been no doubt that He was God. But He didn’t. The Almighty God chose to allow himself to be subdued, restrained, and nailed to a cross to the death. And He did it for us. How humbling and overwhelming that realization is. Jesus is Almighty God.

Have you ever withheld your power or influence to not take control of a situation? Why did you make that decision? What would it have been like if you just stepped in and took control?

FAMILY CONNECTION: Read the story of Jesus calming the sea in Mark 4:35-41.  Talk about how one of Jesus’ names is “Mighty God.”  Ask your kids: How does this story show that Jesus was mighty?  What other ways can you think of that show Jesus as mighty or powerful?  If Jesus really was so mighty, why do you think He didn’t stop the soldiers from nailing him to a cross and killing him?  (Lead kids in the direction that He loves us so much and knew that the only way we could be with him forever in Heaven is if He paid the price for our sins.)

ACTIVITY: God is so mighty that he made the universe and can control nature!  What is your favorite form of God’s mighty natural display?  The stars and moon?  The sun?  The ocean?  How about a thunderstorm?  (If your kids are older, consider reading God’s monologue in Job 38-41 where we read about God’s power.)  If you can, plan a time to either spend some time star gazing or try to count the stars!  Or simulate a thunderstorm in your house, or act out Jesus calming the storm (pretend to be disciples asleep in a rocking boat and one person has to be Jesus).  Now look at a picture or figure of Jesus as a baby.  Can you believe that this little baby who was born on Christmas had the power and might to do those things we just talked about?  Isn’t God incredible!?  As you color this week, talk about ways you’ve seen God’s mighty display this week in nature.

Lamb of God – John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:11-13

When God was rescuing His people from Egypt’s slavery, God had to use some harsh tactics including the killing of the oldest son of each family. In order to cause the Spirit of God to pass over your house, the household had to sacrifice a sheep or a goat that was without defect or blemish, and apply the blood around the door. The sacrifice of lambs continued in the rituals of forgiveness when Israel left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, and when they became a nation in the Promised Land. These types of sacrifices were necessary for the forgiveness of sins. It’s the way God set it up to show the seriousness of sin and the significance of a substitute for not sacrificing yourself (since you were the one that sinned, not the lamb). This type of sacrifice would not be enough to cover your sins once for all though. However, since Jesus was a perfect sinless man and because He was God, when He died for the sins of the world, it was enough. Jesus was the perfect lamb that was sacrificed as a substitute for your sins. He is the Lamb of God.

What does it mean if people call you a bull? How about a snake? Can you think of other animals that people use to describe someone?

The Way/Truth/Life – John 14:1-6

Any time there is something worth much value, someone will try to make a cheaper version or even pretend that theirs is the same. During the times of Jesus, many people were claiming to be the savior of the world or even teaching in the name of God. These were false prophets, false teachers, and false saviors. Jesus proved Himself to be the real deal through miracles, teaching things that no one could debate, and revealing the truth about someone’s life that only God would know. His disciples had seen so many amazing things. But even when Jesus told them about His upcoming death and His promise to prepare them a place at His Father’s house, some did not believe or understand. They wanted to know how to get to His Father’s house! Jesus says He is the road to the house. He is the true way. There’s no shortcut. Other people can promise all sorts of things, but only Jesus can deliver. In Him is life and that life is the light of men. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

What are some of the most valuable items you own? What would happen if you discovered they were fakes?

Light of the World – John 1:1-9; John 8:12

A small spark can create a consuming fire. The small twinkling of the stars at night can guide a ship crew home. Light can be so valuable and so powerful because most things are harder to do in the dark. The same is true for our spiritual lives. The light that Jesus gives, gives life. And the light that Jesus gives cannot be overtaken by a cloudy sky or a large area of darkness. The light that Jesus gives is not for exceptional people. His light is for everyone. He brought the light when He came to earth. And even though Jesus currently doesn’t live on earth, His light still shines all over. That’s because Jesus calls His followers the Light of the World (Matthew 5:14-16). If Jesus was the spark, we need to be the consuming fire. If Jesus was a star in the sky, we need to be the other stars that help people identify the Pole Star, the star that helps set the compass direction and find their way home. Jesus is the Light of the World.

List some of the things you did today. Would it be possible to do those things in the dark?

Messiah – John 1:41; John 4:7-26; Acts 10:38

Messiah means “the anointed One.” Another word for Messiah is Christ. Christ was not Jesus’ last name. Christ was a title like President or Principal. The Messiah was someone who was anticipated for a long time. Prophecies from the Old Testament pointed to a great King reigning again. There wasn’t a King over the nation for hundreds of years. Kings and even prophets often had oil poured or rubbed on their head when they were selected for that job. That anointing ritual represented that they were the Chosen One by God. Jesus was anointed with perfume before His death showing that He was the Chosen One and Anointed One to be the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus was the anticipated King and Prophet that would save His people. However, Jesus was not anointed with oil at His inaugural day. He was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism which was the beginning of His ministry on earth. His anointing was not with normal oil because His job was not normal. Jesus is the Messiah.

What kind of celebrations or ceremonies happened when you started a new job or a new season of life?

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