Read Philippians 4:4-9
Peace is a word that has a lot of meanings because it can be spelled in different ways and mean different things. The peace we’re talking about is not like a piece of pie – even though that’s great. But this kind of peace is so much better.
Ask: What is the opposite of peace?
Well, it depends on what kind of peace you’re talking about. You could think that the opposite of peace is war, but that’s not really the kind of peace we’re talking about either.
Ask: When we say that Jesus brought “peace” what do we mean?
Jesus gives us peace in our heart. We didn’t have war in our hearts before. But we may have had something called chaos or turmoil.
Ask: Do you know what chaos or turmoil means?
Chaos and turmoil are when we feel stressed out or overwhelmed. When we feel like there is too much to handle. Or when we feel like making a decision might be way too hard for us so we feel all yucky inside.
Jesus gives us peace and helps to calm that chaos and turmoil because we know that he has greater things for us than the craziness we face.
I want you to close your eyes and picture a big storm. Picture the rain, the wind, the thunder, and lightning. You might even picture waves crashing around. Now picture the thunder and lightning stopping and getting quiet. Now let the waves and the wind slow down. And now let the sun come out and the rain dry up. This is kind of like when Jesus gives us peace.
Ask: Who is someone we can offer a little bit of peace this week?
This week’s readings:
12/17 – Isaiah 40:1-11
- Verses 1 and 2 talk about God’s people being comforted because their sins had been forgiven. What are some things that are comforting to you?
- Verses 3 through 5 are not prophesying about Jesus. In fact, they’re referring to a person who “prepared the way” for Jesus. Do a little research together to determine who this person was and any other information you can discover. (Hint – He was related to Jesus.)
- Verse 9 tells some of the Israelites to be messengers that say to others, “Here is your God!” How can you be a messenger that tells other people about God?
12/18 – Isaiah 53:1-9
- Isaiah said that Jesus wouldn’t be noticed because of his looks. From what you know about Jesus, what did cause people to notice him?
- Verses 4 through 9 talk about someone suffering for us and how we made mistakes, but he took the blame for us. How does this help confirm that Isaiah is talking about Jesus? And what events do you think these verses are talking about?
12/19 – Isaiah 64:1-8
- In verse 1 Isaiah is desperately asking God to somehow come to the earth. God did come down to earth in the form of Jesus. That’s why we call Jesus “Emmanuel”, which means “God with us”. What are reasons why you know that God is with you?
- Verse 4 talks about God blessing people who wait on him. Are you currently waiting for God to do something? (Think – answer a prayer request of some sort. Feel free to take a look at your prayer log you made on 12/8.)
- Verse 8 talks about God shaping us like clay. Give every family member a small jar of play dough and have them form a shape that represents a way God has shaped or taught them.
12/20 – Matthew 1:1-17
- Wow! That was a lot of names! What names did you recognize? Talk briefly about those names and what you learned about them earlier in Advent.
- This was the whole list of Jesus’s family all the way from Abraham (remember him?) to Jesus. In Jesus’ time, it was very important to know all your ancestors. As a family, talk about the different people in your family who have shaped your faith to get you where you are today. When you’re finished, take a few minutes to thank God for those people and their faith. (If there is minimal faith history in your family, take these minutes to pray for your family members to come to faith. Maybe someday you’ll be a part of their faith story!)
12/21 – Luke 1:26-45
- How did Mary find out she was pregnant with God’s child?
- What are the different things the angel said to Mary and what was Mary’s reaction? What do you imagine Mary was thinking as all this went on?
- Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who she visits, was already pregnant. Do a little research to find out what child Elizabeth was pregnant with. Then go back and reread Isaiah 40:3-5 to remember what that baby later did for Jesus.
12/22 – Luke 2:1-21
- Where was Jesus born? Do you remember who else was from there? If not, go back and reread 1 Samuel 16:1 to find out.
- Shepherds got to come to the birth of Jesus. Shepherds tended to be dirty and not respected. Like so many other times, God included people who would normally not be included in important events. Are there people who aren’t normally included that you can care for and include?
- Have one family member stand up high (i.e. top of the stairs, a step ladder, etc.) and joyfully proclaim what the angel said in verses 10-14. Have everyone pretend like they’re hearing it for the first time and let them see how it makes them feel.