Today we begin Advent – the time of preparation and anticipation of the coming of Christ. We’re used to the build up before Christmas, but normally it’s in the form of tracking which stores will soon get a shipment of this year’s “it” toy, negotiating with family on who will bring which dish to Christmas dinner, and sending your spouse out for more Scotch tape at 11pm on Christmas Eve.
We know Christmas is about more than that, but sometimes, focusing on God becoming flesh takes a backseat to what feels more immediate.
This year, we’d like to help out! Each Sunday, starting today, we’ll send out a short Advent devotional with a week’s worth of Advent readings for you and your family to use. Use them at the breakfast table, bedtime, or whenever your family is all in the same room. Just make it (or whatever other Advent tradition you have) a priority.
Here’s today’s devotional:
Read Isaiah 40:28-30
Ask: Today’s Scripture says, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength”. What does “hope” mean?
One way of thinking about the word “hope” is knowing and believing there is something better to come. Think about the last time you were sick. A lot of people will say, “I hope you feel better.”
In Advent we have an even greater kind of hope than just getting rid of sniffles. When Jesus came to earth as a baby on Christmas, he brought hope to the world because God had promised a Savior and Jesus was that Savior.
Ask: What are some ways Jesus gives us hope?
Ask: What is a way we can help someone else have hope today? (Make a plan, as a family, to do something for someone else this week that might give them hope.)
Pray and thank God for the hope he gave us in Christ.
Week 1 Readings:
12/3 – Genesis 1:1-4, 26-31
- What happened in our reading today?
- What did God tell the people to do after He created them?
- Advent ends with Christmas when we celebrate Christ’s birth so all our reading will build up to that. How do you think our reading today is connected to Jesus’ birth?
12/4 – Genesis 3:1-13
- What did God tell Adam and Eve not to do?
- Why did the serpent encourage Eve to go ahead and eat what God had told them not to?
- Sins are the choices we make that don’t please God. Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit God commanded them not to eat. When are you tempted to make decisions you know wouldn’t please God?
12/5 – Genesis 12:1-9
- When God tells Abram to leave his country, what does God promise him?
- God says He will bless Abram so he can be a blessing. Since God has definitely blessed you, how can you bless others?
- Abram was the first of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Take a few minutes to look up who the Israelites were and what some of their story will hold.
12/6 – Genesis 24:1-10, 62-67
- Yesterday God made a covenant (think pact or agreement) with Abram and it involved his descendants. Isaac was his son, so he is involved. What happens to Isaac in this passage?
- Like Isaac was a part of the covenant God had with Abraham, parents, talk to your kids about promises you’ve made to God that your kids can be a part of. (Think – commitment to serve or give, etc.)
12/7 – Genesis 25:19-28
- Look back at the last few days’ reading. Who is included in the family we’re reading about so far?
- What were some differences between Jacob and Esau?
- Though Esau was the oldest, God continued the Israelite family through Jacob. This was unusual in their custom. Are there people in your life that God is using for great things that other people might not have expected great things from?
12/8 – Genesis 37:17-36
- Jacob had 12 sons and Joseph was the favorite. Have you ever thought someone else was the favorite? How did that make you feel?
- Why did Joseph’s brothers decide not to harm him?
- Reuben saved Joseph’s life by convincing his brothers to choose other actions. How can you use your influence to help others?