Advent Calendar Devotions - Our Gift to You!
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Advent Calendar Devotions - Our Gift to You!

Friday, November 30, 2018 - 12:26pm
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Are you ready for Christmas? If you are like most of us, the answer is something like, “No way! There is way too much to do.”

Building Boys, Making Men wants to help you and your family prepare your hearts for Christmas. There is nothing about Christmas more important than understanding the gift of Jesus in new and deeper ways. To help you understand and enjoy this gift, we have designed a daily advent devotional for families to do together. (For tips on family devotional time, check out our recent blog.)

 

We understand Christmas is busy, so we have designed this devotional to be something you can do as part of your daily life to build relationships in your family—not another thing to add to your busy schedules. Here’s what each day will include:

  • A short Bible passage to read today (usually about 5–12 verses)
  • An explanation of what we’re focusing on in those verses
  • A couple questions you can discuss as a family
  • A challenge—a simple way for your children to start living out what you discussed

You can find each day’s content posted that morning on our Instagram and Facebook feeds— we’ll post it early for those of you who would want to make it part of your morning routine. And we’ll also email all the week’s content out the Saturday before that week.

Every week will have a special focus or theme. For the first week (December 2–8), we’re talking about how to make your Christmas matter. To see why Christmas matters, we are looking at how Christmas fits into the story of redemption—a story that stretched from creation into eternity. When we zoom out and see the whole story, we see the real reason that Christmas is so wonderful: it’s when God himself stepped into our broken world to bring forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.

All the content for this upcoming week is attached below. For those of you who like to prepare in advance, we have also attached a daily calendar of all the Bible verses we will read through over these next three and a half weeks.

We pray this helps you and your family love each other more and love Jesus more this Christmas.

Our gift to you! Merry Christmas,
The Building Boys, Making Men team

 


Devotions

Week 1 • Dec 2–8: Making Your Christmas Matter

This week, we are looking at how Christmas fits into the story of redemption—a story that stretched from creation into eternity. When we zoom out and see the whole story, we see the real reason that Christmas is so wonderful: it’s when God himself stepped into our broken world to bring forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.

December 2: The Creation

Genesis 1:26–31

When God created the world, it was amazing. He made so many unique and complicated and beautiful things. But the most wonderful part of his creation was his plan for people. God gives people a special role and a special relationship with him.

  • In whose image are humans (men and women) created?
  • What do these verses tell us that God is like?

Challenge: Go outside and enjoy God’s creation. Talk with your family about what you saw, heard, smelled, or felt outside today that was beautiful, surprising, or interesting.

December 3: The Fall

Genesis 3:1–13

Even though God had created them and given them such a wonderful garden to live in, Adam and Eve disobeyed him. They rejected God’s plan for them, and that broke their relationship with God. But notice that God didn’t give up on people. He went looking for Adam and Eve in the garden, and he’s been seeking out and saving disobedient humanity ever since.

  • What did Adam and Eve do wrong?
  • How did their disobedience change their relationship with God?

Challenge: Just like Adam and Eve’s sin hurt their relationship with God, our sin hurts our relationship with God and with others. If you hurt a friendship recently—or if you mess up today—apologize to that person, and apologize to God. Praise God he hears our prayers and forgives us over and over and over!

December 4: The Promise

Micah 5:2–5a

Even after sin came into the world, God didn’t abandon humans. He chose a special group of people, and he guided them through many leaders. But because people’s hearts were still sinful, they kept rebelling against God. Today’s reading is a promise that God would send a better leader: his own Son, Jesus, who would change people’s hearts and be the sacrifice for their sins.

  • Yesterday, we talked about how people’s disobedience broke their relationship with God. What do you think it means that Jesus will be our peace?

Challenge: At the start of December, it can feel like a long wait until Christmas. But after Jesus’ birth was prophesied, the Israelites had to wait hundreds of years before everything was ready for Jesus to be born. Do something to get ready for Christmas, like making cookies, wrapping a present, or practicing Christmas songs.

December 5: The Baby

Luke 2:1–7

After centuries of waiting, God the Son became a human so he could save humans from their sin and bring them into God’s family. Jesus was finally born! But he didn’t come as a king in a palace, a general with an army, or a superhero landing with a flash of lightning …

  • Imagine you were one of the Jews living in Jesus’ time, waiting for the Savior promised in Micah 5 (yesterday’s verses). What would surprise you about where or how Jesus was born?
  • Verse 4 says that Joseph was of the house of David. Who was David? Can you think of why it matters that Jesus came from David’s family?

Challenge: With your family, map out a simple tree. Talk about how people in your family met God, and thank God for how he’s worked in your family. It doesn’t matter if your whole family tree loved Jesus or if your family is just getting to know Jesus—both of these stories show God loving us and changing our lives.

(Want to go further? Look at the family tree in Matthew 1:1–17 and count the generations between David and Jesus. Notice the amazing names and history. Praise God he hears our prayers and forgives us over and over and over!)

December 6: The Cross

Romans 5:6–11

God is just—he doesn’t let bad things go unpunished. But God is also forgiving. How does that work? By God sacrificing himself on the cross and taking our punishment so that we can be forgiven. What do you think it means that Christ died for sinners? Are you a sinner? What is the good news in these verses?

Challenge: Talk to God today and thank him for his love and his sacrifice on the cross

December 7: The Empty Tomb

Matthew 28:1–10, 1 Corinthians 15:20–22

Sin twisted the world with a lot of horrible things—like crying, hunger, sickness, and even death. But when Jesus died and took the punishment for our sin, he conquered sin and death! We can know for sure that he conquered them because he overcame death and rose again. That means that, if you trust in Jesus for forgiveness, you will be raised again after you die, and you’ll live with Jesus forever.

  • Because of sin, our world is hurting, and people suffer and even die. Where have you seen hard or difficult things in your life?
    • (Parents, explain to your children that, because Jesus died and rose again, he destroyed the power of sin and death. Those who trust in him will rise again and live forever with Jesus, and he will end every bad thing, like hunger and sadness and darkness.)
  • Matthew 28:8 says that the women felt “fear and great joy”—why do you think they felt those two things?
    • When have you felt these things?

Challenge: Go outside and look at the trees or the plants. Talk about how they look now and how you think they will look in the spring.

December 8: The Restoration

John 14:1–7

It’s been about 2000 years since Jesus went back up to Heaven—but he is still at work! He’s getting a place ready for us to come and live with him forever some day.

  • What parts of Heaven are you looking forward to?
  • What do you think Jesus means when he says he is the way there?

Challenge: This Saturday, help your family prepare the house for Christmas—and remember that Jesus is preparing a place for you!


Week 2 • Dec 9–15: What We Learn from the Nativity

How do you decide who to invite to your birthday party? The people we choose to hang out with says a lot about us. This week, we are looking at each of the people God invited to be part of the story of Jesus’ birth. We can learn a lot from each of them — and we can also learn about what’s important to God.

(Parents, if you have a nativity set in your house, you could show your younger children each person as you talk about them this week.)

December 9: Jesus’s Humility

Philippians 2:5–11

Jesus is God the Son, so he has always existed. But at Christmas, we celebrate something wonderful that he did: he became a human and was born as a little baby. Think about that! He left the beauty of heaven, where he was worshipped, and he became a tiny, helpless baby. He worked as a carpenter until he was 30 and then taught and helped people around Israel. And then he died (in an embarrassing, public, and painful way) to take the punishment for our sins. That’s what humility looks like—loving somebody enough to put them in front of yourself.

  • Did Jesus’ story start at Christmas?
  • Humility means putting others first—like thinking of who needs a friend, not just who it’s easy to be friends with. Can you think of anybody you know who might need a friend (even if you feel too embarrassed or shy to be their friend)?

Challenge: Talk with that person who needs a friend—whether that means eating lunch with them, hanging out after school, or asking about their day at dinner time.

December 10: Mary’s Obedience

Luke 1:26–38

God is in control of everything, and he loves you more than you can imagine. You can trust him to give you good instructions, even when they are tough or confusing. Think about a little kid whose mom tells him to stop playing in the street. The little kid might not want to move, and he might not know that cars drive down that street—but if he trusts that his mom loves him and knows more than he does, he’ll move, and that will keep him safe!

  • How do you think Mary felt when the angel appeared to her?
  • Mary trusted God, so she obeyed him even when it was scary. What is something God wants you to do that is scary or hard?

Challenge: Think about that thing God wants you to do, and do it!

December 11: Joseph’s Compassion

Matthew 1:18–25

Joseph didn’t understand why Mary was going to have a baby, and he thought Mary had done something wrong. But he didn’t want to embarrass her. Even though he was scared and confused, he knew that God showed compassion to him, so Joseph chose to be compassionate to Mary. He was compassionate. He wanted to protect her. Matthew 1:19 calls Joseph “a just man,” and his actions show us that justice isn’t only about being fair. God’s justice is about treating others with compassion and mercy, even when they mess up. Joseph treated Mary with compassion even when he didn’t understand, and eventually, an angel told Joseph in a dream that Mary had done nothing wrong — in fact, she was carrying in her belly the very Son of God!

  • What does it mean that Joseph was a righteous or just man?
  • How does God show compassion and mercy to you?

Challenge: It is hard for us to know the purpose and motive of others’ actions. Look for a way to show compassion today when someone does something different than you want or expect.

December 12: The Innkeeper’s Generosity

Luke 2:1–7

Can you hear the bustle of Bethlehem in the details of these verses? Caesar Augustus had ordered a census across the whole Roman empire, so thousands of people were on the move, returning to the towns their families were from so they could be counted. The inns were packed. About to have a baby, Mary and Joseph needed a place to stay. The innkeeper didn’t have any open rooms, but he gave what he could: a stable. He offered what he had, even when it wasn’t much, and God used his gift. That night, the stable housed God.

  • When Mary and Joseph asked for a room, what were the innkeeper’s options?
  • Are there any places where you feel like your help would be too small to matter? (For example, maybe you feel like you’re too young or too busy to help someone, or maybe you think you don’t have enough money to get the gift that’d really help someone)

Challenge: Round up the spare change in the house and add it up—you might be surprised by how much money is hiding in overlooked places in your house! As a family, choose a ministry or organization (or your local church) where you can donate the money so it will help people who need a meal or a place to stay.

December 13: The Angels’ Joy

Luke 2:8–14

Did you know that when verse 13 talks about a “heavenly host,” it literally means a heavenly army?

People sometimes imagine angels with long hair and flowing robes, like the angels in paintings and movies. But when angels appear in the Bible, they have to tell people not to be afraid of them. However, God’s heavenly army didn’t appear in the Bethlehem sky to fight something. These awesome creatures were celebrating God’s awesome plan for defeating sin and death through Jesus’ birth.

  • How would you summarize what the angels said to the shepherds?
  • What kinds of things you do sing about? Why do you think people sing?

Challenge: As a family, sing a Christmas song about Jesus today. If someone in your family plays an instrument, that’s a great way to start. Or you could turn on some Christmas carols while cleaning the kitchen, getting ready for school, or driving somewhere together.

December 14: The Shepherds’ Welcome

Luke 2:15–20

The angels could have appeared to anyone—to King Herod, to the priests and scholars in Jerusalem, to the rich merchants and tax collectors. But God sent them to appear to some shepherds working through the night. In Jesus’ day, shepherds were not who you’d expect as guests at the most important birthday party in the world. They were poor, they smelled like their sheep, and a lot of people didn’t trust them. In other words, they were outsiders. But God chose these outsiders as the first people to hear the news of Jesus’ birth and share it with others.

  • Are there times when you feel like an outsider? How does it make you feel to remember God found the outsiders and invited them to his celebration in Bethlehem?
  • Can you think of people who seem like outsiders to your group of friends? How could you reach out to them this week?

Challenge: Find one way to reach out to someone outside your group of friends.

December 15: The Wise Men’s Worship

Matthew 2:1–12

What kind of gift would you buy for a toddler? The wise men brought Jesus pretty weird gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But each gift shows a reason the wise men had traveled so far to worship this baby. Gold shows that Jesus is our king. Frankincense was part of the incense that priests offered to God, so it shows that Jesus is our priest, offering sacrifices to God and mediating between God and us. And myrrh was used in burials, showing that Jesus would not just offer any sacrifice—he would offer himself as a sacrifice for us. The wise men hadn’t just come to see a baby. They were here to worship their king, their priest, and their sacrifice.

  • Each of the wise men’s gifts shows us a role that Jesus fulfilled. Can you think of any other roles he fulfilled or continues to fulfill? What are gifts that would symbolize those?
  • What has Jesus given to you?

Challenge: Think of something that God has given you (like time or talents or things) that you can give back to him—and then make a plan for how you’ll do that. For example, you could give back some free time by helping a friend, or you could give back some things by donating toys and clothes.

Last modified on Friday, 07 December 2018
Howard Graham

Howard Graham is the Chaplain at PDS and is the Executive Director of the Building Boys, Making Men program. He is married to Kimberley and they have a girl and three boys. He can be reached at hgraham@pdsmemphis.org

Building Boys, Making Men is a PDS-created program designed to give boys a godly vision and definition of manhood. We believe that boys should be intentionally taught about authentic manhood and have a biblical framework for making wise and edifying choices during their teenage years and beyond. The definition of manhood we teach our boys:

A real man glorifies God by seeking an adventurous life of purpose and passion as he protects and serves others.

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