Thursday, December 3, 2009

Preparing for the Big Day, Part 1 & 2

Advent...the word means "coming". Specifically, it's a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. Growing up, Advent was a special time during the four Sundays prior to Christmas in church. Families would lead a time of devotion and light the advent candle in the advent wreath.

This year, we are doing something new (to us) with our kids at home, the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from its roots." The branch is a symbol of Jesus Christ. You can read more about it here.

Of course, I had grand visions of my children all sitting quietly, listening attentively, soaking it all in. So, picture Abby scooting around on the floor mad because she couldn't hold the Bible and poor Ben laying on the couch because he's sick (yes, again!), but pay attention and participate, he did! Emily helped lead the devotion time by reading the Scripture. (Having a 9 year old is so much fun!) I continue to cling to that Proverb... "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." I just hope I'm doing enough.

I thought I'd post something each day from our Jesse Tree devotions and you can watch the tree fill with decorations. While we have only read two, the kids are really enjoying it (& so am I).

We are reading from this book. It's a great Advent devotional book, beginning with December 1st as Day 1. There is a children's devotional and an adult devotional for each day. (Click on the image to link to Amazon.)

Day 1: The Light in Creation
(Ornament: green/blue ball to represent the earth)

Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Prior to this creation, the world was dark, but God was there. When God said, "Let there by light," there was light!

Did you know that Jesus was there with God when the world was made? Read John 1:1-4. Jesus is the Word that is mentioned in these verses. In the beginning, the Word was with God... This very same God that created the heavens and the earth created you!

I love how this devotional book ties the creation story to our lives spiritually. "Outside of God, life has no purpose. We are in darkness. The Light comes when we give ourselves to Christ. Our lives now become meaningful because we have found our purpose - to glorify Him!"

My friend, I pray that your life is filled with the Light of Christ today!

Day 2: The First Sin
(Ornament: apple with a snake wrapped around it)

I am a sinner. I hate that I am a sinner, but I am definitely one. In fact, the Bible says that we are all sinners. (Isaiah 53:6: We all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.") No one is exempt from sinning. This sin separates us from God. When God created the first man and woman (Adam & Eve), they walked closely with God as they were without sin. However, one day, Satan disguised as a snake, approaches Eve and convinces her through his lies that she can eat of the fruit tree God had specifically instructed was off limits. Through her disobedience, she brings the fruit to Adam and they both take a bite. This is the first sin. This is the first separation from God.

The only way to get back to God is to take the sin away. God's amazing plan provides a Way for us to come back to Him. In Genesis 3:15, God's plan for redemption is revealed. From the very first sin, God set forth a plan to bring us back to Him.

I pray that I will not put my own will above Your will today, O God. Thank you for loving us even in our sin and for providing a Way (Jesus) for us to be with you again!

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