As a church family, we want to remember together that we have hope this Christmas season, no matter what difficulties we may be facing.
We have hope because Jesus has come and is coming again.
This devotional guide is a 25-day countdown to Jesus’ birthday. The days ahead are what Christians call “Advent.” Advent is a word that simply means “coming”. It is about remembering the impact of Jesus’ coming to Earth on Christmas and waiting in hope for what the Bible calls “the second coming of Jesus” when He will return again.
Our hope is that this devotional will give you an opportunity to spend time with God once a day. If you miss a day, don’t stress or give up! The goal here is to get you thinking about Jesus this holiday season rather than just peppermint mocha and gift wish lists. It’s not meant to be a burden.
This guide is set up to take you through the Bible, mostly looking at the lives of Old Testament people who were waiting in hope for the Messiah (Savior) to come. They lived in a time before Jesus’ death and resurrection. They desperately needed hope for the brokenness in their lives. So do we.
For 25 days together as a church family, we will countdown to Christmas by reading God’s Words to us, thinking about what God is telling us, remembering the hope of the gospel, praying honestly, and applying what we’ve read. We don’t want you to feel as though our “apply” challenges are an obligation. Don’t feel like you must do each one. Instead, use the ideas as motivation to look for ways to think of others this Christmas season. Remember, Jesus didn’t come so that we could all get presents for ourselves. Instead, He gave us the gift of Himself so that we could give Him away.
So, choose a quiet place each day, turn off your phone, and grab your Bible, because hope is coming!
Day 1: Adam & Eve
Read: Genesis 2:4-9,15-25, 3:1-7
Hope: God created Adam and Eve and loved them too much to let their sins be the end of the story. In Genesis 3:14-15, we see God had a plan from the beginning to one day send Jesus to rescue us from our sin to bring us back into His family. He would make the world perfect again and rescue His children from the pain they had caused themselves. If you accept His forever love, He promises to one day wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will no longer have to wonder what it would be like to live in heaven with Him.
What would it be like if you had never felt sad or lonely or sick or afraid? What does it look like to trust God even when you mess up?
Pray: God, thank you for sending Jesus to rescue me so that my mistakes are no longer counted against me. Thank you that the lie that Adam and Eve believed is not the end for me or for this world. Help me to believe that you aren’t withholding good from me when you ask me to obey. Amen!
Apply: Start a thankfulness list and put it on the fridge. Keep adding to it each day until you reach 100 things you are thankful for.
Day 2: Noah
Read: Genesis 6:9-18, 7:17-24, 8:1,18-21, 9:12-17
Hope: Even though Noah was saved from the flood because of his righteousness, he was quick to change his mind after they reached dry land. As much as we wish we could be perfect, the Bible says that “no one is righteous—not even one.” —Romans 3:10 (NLT) The Good News of Jesus is that “God made Him who had no sin, to be sin for us (on the cross) so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV) What a relief!
What would it look like to have joy even when hard things are going on in your life? How can we still have hope when we mess up?
Pray: God, thank you for sending Jesus so we can have hope in our lives. Please forgive us for where we mess up and fall short of what you want from us. Thank you for loving us always.
Apply: Write 2 Corinthians 5:21 above on an index card and put it on your fridge or a place where everyone can see it easily and often. As a family, challenge yourselves to memorize it.
Day 3: Babel
Read: Genesis 11:1-9
Hope: Have you ever wanted to be famous? What do you think causes that desire?
This story of Babel, in the first book of the Bible, was about people wanting to be worshipped because of their pride. The pride of man divides but the humility of Christ unites. We see in scripture God will unite each of those languages to praise Jesus’ name: “I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10) (NLT)
Why do you think God values humility over pride?
Read Philippians 2:5-8 for follow up conversation.
Pray: God, help me see the value of humility and the hurt of pride. Thank you for sending Jesus to show us what humility looks like in our life.
Apply: Write a note of encouragement to each of your family members or to a neighbor or close friend and give it to them.
Day 4: Abraham
Read: Genesis 12:1-3,15:1-6
Hope: Abraham believed God enough to leave everything that he knew; he trusted that God would give him a son, even as an elderly man. Abraham was an imperfect man, but because he believed that God would keep His promises, he took a leap of faith and he had a son when he was 100-years old. Because of his faith, his great-great-great-great-great (you get the picture) grandson was JESUS!
What are some crazy things that Christians have done that required great faith?
Pray: God, my faith is small right now. Help me to trust you and step out this holiday season to obey you in what you are asking me to do.
Apply: It feels risky but invite someone to church this week. Ask the Holy Spirit for the faith to do it and leave the results to God!
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