Family Devotional: Hope

Each Sunday you will find a devotional designed for families to use with an Advent Wreath.  If your family is like mine we often sit down together for supper, and this is usually the time I plan to begin discussions about God in our lives.  Isn’t that all a devotional really is?  An opportunity to talk openly about how God is working in our daily living.  I want to encourage you to take the time, sit with those you love and talk about Jesus.  Merry Christmas!

First Sunday of Advent

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”–Isaiah 7: 14

The prophets spoke of a coming Savior.  Challenging the Israelites to turn from their sinful ways.  They did not and the prophets all died, and God was silent for 400 years.  What did the people do during the silence?  They waited and hoped.  Hope is a hard word to define.  Webster’s dictionary defines hope as “cherishing a desire with anticipation, to expect.”  The people were hoping for a Savior.

(Light the first candle of your Advent wreath or any candle will do.)

As you light the candle ask those around you…what are you hoping for in your life?

Read Matthew 1: 18-25

Immanuel means “God with us”.  And isn’t that the hope of all persons…that God would be with us.

Discussion Starters:  Do you think God is with us?  How do you know?  What happened today that proved that God was with you?

Closing:  We celebrate this season because Jesus is God with us.  God himself, wrapped in skin, born as a baby.  The hope of all the world.

Prayer:  Ask the youngest in your family to give a thanksgiving prayer for the baby Jesus.

Waiting Around

Advent Wreaths…

Take some time this month to make an Advent wreath for your home.  Four colored candles and one white candle are the only must haves…the rest is left up to your own creativity.  There is symbolism found in using an evergreen circle, and color of the candles.  It is a long time tradition and you can find tons of information about it.  Families can make it as complex or simple as they want.  
My plan is to create one that will be a center piece for the dinner table.  Each week we will gather over a meal or before bed…light the candle for the week and talk about the word it represents.  A way to keep us focused on the celebration of Jesus in the midst of our holiday bustle.

Each candle represents one week in the Advent season, each paired with a meaning of hope, joy, love, and peace.  All candles are lit on Christmas Eve including the Christ candle (the white candle in the center of the wreath).

During Advent the posts each Sunday will be a devotional to go along with your Advent wreath.

Before the Rush

Christmas cards…

Consider this week… the first of November… who you would like to bless with a Word of His coming…

Make it a spiritual discipline…
praying for those who will receive the Word…
that they might know His peace…

Select cards that convey the heart of the message of the Season… ask Him to guide in your selection and preparation…

Begin now… with a goal of having all addressed and blessed… before Thanksgiving…

Then early December… at the beginning of Advent… you can send them on their way… to make ready a heart to celebrate Him…

All you have made will praise you, O Lord;
your saints will extol you.
They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Psalm 145:2

In the Waiting

In the quiet of my laundry room, the sacred space, I picked up an old journal.  I flipped through and stopped on the 46th lesson.  Nothing special about it except one word in the title…wait.

You can find the story in 2 Samuel.  David has settled in as king and the nation is experiencing a time of rest.  It left a king, used to constant battle, with nothing to do.  It is the sort of calmness that keeps David’s mind wondering…what now?   And so he finds himself a project.

He decides with Nathan’s blessing to build the Temple.  Most often God’s ways are not ours, and David was not chosen for this task.   Instead God promises David that his son will be the one to build it.  David must wait…not for weeks, or months, but for an entire lifetime.  He doesn’t even get to see the dream come to pass.

What does David do while he waits…he makes a plan.  He prepares and stores up all that will be needed for the season of building.  This in itself was an act of worship.

Thirty short days remain until the Advent season begins.  Maybe like David we should make a plan for the season.  Organizing our calendars and making a gift list could be a time of worship, couldn’t it?  Have you considered sharing scriptures at dinner time during the Advent season?  Or maybe creating a special Advent calendar.

During the month of November you can come here to find ideas for just those things.  Ways to keep our focus on the true meaning of the season. 

And so join us in the planning…as we wait.


Waiting for…
and the beginning of Advent…
Sunday, December 2, 2012…

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.