- Holidays and Celebrations
Advent - A Season of Promise
Daily Readings for the Advent Season
God has been making promises since the beginning of time. He made promises to Adam and David and gave signs to many of His people. Beginning with the trouble in the Garden of Eden, God promised to send a solution to predicament that Adam and Eve had created.
Prophecies are a traditional element of Advent. Their words paint a beautiful picture of the Messiah. And those prophecies offer even more promises of One who would give us life abundant and everlasting. Below you'll find a preview (The Sunday Readings) from a full set of Advent Readings designed to be read every day beginning four Sundays before Christmas.
What is Advent?
Advent begins 4 Sundays before Christmas. The word Advent is taken from a Latin word that means "to come" or "coming". Christians use Advent to prepare for the celebration of Jesus' "advent" or coming to earth. This season is often used as a reminder that Jesus said he would be coming again. It's a time of looking back to God's gift of love to us with Jesus' birth as well as looking forward to our final reward, a place in heaven for all of eternity.
Especially in this era of commercialism and falling away from Christ, Advent is even more important. By using these 28 days as a season of remembrance, we can focus on what's really important. With advent being a time of spiritual preparation rather than a time of rushing around buying gifts and going to parties, we can celebrate in the true spirit of the season and avoid the burnout and disappointment the holiday often brings.For years the Modranski family has celebrated Advent by taking 5 minutes every night before bed, lighting a candle and reading a short Christ focused devotion. We take every Christmas card we've received that day and pray for each name on those cards. In the midst of Santa, parties and wish lists, this practice helped our girls stay centered on the true meaning of Christmas and it helped their mother actually feel like she was celebrating Christmas again.I pray if you've never truly celebrated Advent, this year will be a first for you. I hope you'll discover the true peace, joy and love that the holiday promises, traits that are truly only found when we worship the One the holiday is all about, Jesus Christ.
Advent for 2015
- Advent Readings for 2015 - John's Christmas Story
Here's the preview for the 2015 Advent Devotionals - Most read the Christmas story from the book of Luke with details added from Matthew's gospel, but what does John have to say about Jesus' birth?
The First Week of Advent
The Candle of Promise
A Reading for the Sunday Morning Congregation
Did you know that the Bible contains more than 5,000 promises from God? He has given us so many words that can bring us encouragement when we're going through a rough time. Things like"I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to give you hope and a future" and"I will never leave you or forsake you.""[Nothing] can separate us from the Love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord"
Because humans with even the best of intentions sometimes break promises, we may be tempted to forget or ignore the promises God made in the Bible, but if you check history, you'll find that every single promise God ever made, He has seen through to completion. Sometimes those promises didn't happen as quickly as humans would have liked, but every single one was right on time.God promised to always be with us, and He promised to love us without end. He promised to carry our burdens and renew our strength, but most of all God promised to send a Son who would be a blessing to all nations. He told his prophets the Son would come as a baby and that the baby would be born in Bethlehem. The greatest promise God has kept to date is sending Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.Today we will light the Candle of Promise. (You can light the front left candle now or when you're doing with the reading) It's a light to remind us that all of God's promises are true. This week, when you're tempted to give up or feel discouraged, remember God's promises, His promises to always be with you, to care for you and to love you with a never ending love.
Advent Readings on your Kindle
The Second Week of Advent
The Candle of Prevenience
A Reading for the Sunday Morning Congregation
READER 1: Today we're going to light the candle of Prevenience. Prevenience is a big word that means coming before. Throughout scripture God sent sneak previews of His plans, signs that "came before" His Ultimate gift, a baby in a manger.
READER 2: Thousands of years before we were born, God knew it would be impossible for us to live a sin free life. He understood our human nature would lead us to selfishness, pride and greed. God knew that no matter how hard we tried, we'd fall short of His glory and never be worthy of a life in heaven.
READER 1: That's why thousands of years ago God acted in prevenience. Before He sent a baby, He sent signs and prophets. Then, before we were born, before we committed our first sin, our Heavenly Father sent a baby whose life would be a picture of His love and death would be the payment for those sins. (Light the two front candles as Reader 2 mentions them in the next paragraph)'
READER 2: Today we'll relight the candle of promise because we want to make sure we never forget all of the beautiful promises God has made for His people. We'll add the Candle of Prevenience, we might also call it "the Candle of Coming Before" to remind us that God has been working for thousands of years, going before us, preparing, planning and promising so that we can have an opportunity to have life forever with Him.
The Third Week of Advent
The Candle of Prophecy
A Reading for the Sunday Morning Congregation
For three people - Two Readers and One to Light the Candles
READER 1: God spent thousands of years preparing the world for Jesus. He made promise after promise (light the first candle) telling Adam, Abraham, Jacob, David and more that He would one day send a boy who would be a blessing. His prevenience (light the 2nd candle) sent that blessing hundreds of years before you and I would need a redeemer
READER 2: This week we're going to light the third candle, the Candle of Prophecy. (Light the shorter of the back two candles) The Old Testament has so many prophecies telling us what to expect in a Savior. Over and over again God spoke through His servants to help us know that the one who would come to save us would be a servant. Isaiah told us He would be gentle, yet a king. Micah and Isaiah told us where and how he would be born and David gave us a haunting picture of how He would die.
READER 1: A lot of times we think prophecy is too difficult to understand. We have a hard time reading Isaiah and Jeremiah and even those shorter books written by men who heard God speak to them about things they didn't completely understand and would never see.
READER 2: But Praise God, the Bible is full of Prophecy. Over and over again God told His people about the things that would come. He told them He would send a Messiah, a Savior, and He told them and us about heaven and the beauty we can find there.
READER 1: This week, as we move closer to our Christmas celebration, remember that God is a God of promises. He's been making them and keeping them for thousands upon thousands of years.
READER 2: Enjoy God's prevenience, be confident that He has gone before you and just like He prepared the way for Christ, He is preparing the way for all that He's called you to.
READER 1: And finally, find some time to enjoy God's Prophecy this week. Read his word, enjoy His words and Praise Him that He has given us these verses to help us recognize that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the World.
For Your Kindle
Much of Luke's version of the Christmas story must have come Mary. She's the only one who could have told him about the visit to Elizabeth, and who else would have been left to tell about Simeon's prophecy in the temple. These 28 daily devotions help focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
The Fourth Week of Advent
The Candle of Provision
Reading for the Sunday Morning Congregation For Two Readers and Two Candle Lighters
READER 1: Christmas is only one week away. Where did the time go?
READER 2: I know! It's hard to believe! I'm not sure I'm ready!
READER 1: What do you mean "you're not ready?" How can you not be ready?! What is there to be ready?
READER 2: I didn't send any cards yet, and I haven't bought all my presents. I don't even have any cookies baked. I have a lot to do this week.
READER 1: Wait! Do you think those are the important things about Christmas?
READER 2: Exactly! If I don't get them done, who will?
READER 1: Well, it is nice to have all of those things, but everything we NEED for Christmas God has already provided.
READER 2:What did God bring? Did he give you some sweet potatoes I don't know about?
READER 1: No, God gave us Jesus. That's all we need to celebrate Christmas. Do you remember what we called our first candle?
READER 2: I think we called it the Candle of Promise. (Lighter 1 lights one of the front candles)
READER 1: Exactly! That's because God made promises to Adam and Abraham and even David that He would send someone to rescue everyone. What about our second candle.
READER 2: I think I remember. It was that weird word. The Candle of Prevenience. (Lighter 2 lights the other front candle)
READER 1: That's exactly right! The Candle of "coming before." We light that candle because God had a great plan to send His Son, and He sent us a lot of messages so we'd know exactly what to expect. Let's see how you do with the third candle.
READER 2: We called that one the Candle of Prophets. The prophets were men who lived before Jesus came. They told the world all about what was going to happen. (Lighter 1 lights one of the back candles) The prophets told all about Jesus.
READER 1: That's exactly right. This week we're going to light the Candle of Provision. We'll light it, not to remember everything that we need, but to remind us that Jesus is all we need. God has provided us the Savior would be our redeemer. He gave him to suffer for us and He has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us. This candle reminds us that God provides (Lighter 2 lights the last of the four colored candles). He has everything under control and provides for everything we need as long as we are following Him.
More Devotions for the Advent Season
- Advent Readings - Jesus is . . .
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Light. These are the themes of the four weeks of Advent in these Daily Devotions for the season.
- Advent Through the Eyes of Mary
Advent is a time to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ. This year we'll focus on the season through the eyes of the Mother of Jesus.
The Candle of Christ
The Fulfillment of the Prophecy, the Ultimate Provision
It’s amazing the way God managed to use this single event, the birth of His Son, to begin the ultimate fulfillment of all of His promises and provisions. Every promise God made, each prevenient act, all the words of prophecy have the roots of their culmination in this quiet night in Bethlehem so many years ago. Jesus Christ is the promised Savior, He is the realization of God’s preveniency through the ages, the fulfillment of every word of prophecy and God’s plan for providing a way for His children to live with Him forever. We’ve taken four weeks to look at just a few scriptures that can help us understand Christ’s coming into the world as well as His second coming. As we light the final candle tonight, let’s never forget the promise, prevenience, prophecy and provision of our Lord. Celebrate the baby, enjoy the holiday, worship the Savior and be the people that God has called us to be, people of the promise, people who enjoy God’s prevenience, believe the prophecy and appreciate the provision we receive from our gracious Father.