Friday, December 19, 2014

Flashback Friday: Advent - Week 4

Here's this week's Flashback Friday where I dig up an old post. If you haven't seen it before, then it's new to you! These daily Advent readings help me set the proper tone for the Christmas season in my home. I hope you enjoy them as well! 

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: Telling the Christmas Story
  • Wreath
  • Candles: 3 purple, 1 rose, 1 white
  • Bible
  • Jesse Tree Ornaments (or pictures)
  • Chocolate/Candy (optional)

This week marks the fourth, and final, week of Advent. Even though I wrote the material, I still missed days here and there. So, great job to those of you that have stuck with the daily devotional! I hope reading through and reflecting on these stories have helped you focus more on Jesus during this Christmas season.

The last week of Advent represents "peace". The rose candle as well as all three purple candles are lit each day this week. There are some days that I feel anything but peaceful. In my home, my kids may be driving me up the wall with their crying, screaming, or constant demanding of my time and attention. Outside of my home, there is crime in our local neighborhood; our nation appears dysfunctional; and fighting lurks in many corners of our world. How can we celebrate peace with this happening around us? Enter Jesus. He came as a baby, but he is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). One of my favorite passages that Jesus said was:

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) 

God does not promise us an easy, uncomplicated life. On the contrary, he tells us that we "will have trouble". The Good News is that Jesus is the deliverer of peace. When I look in my home and at the world around me, I take refuge in the fact that Jesus has already won the battle and he is the provider of peace.

Christmas Question of the Week

Each week, I will attempt to answer a question about why we celebrate a particular Christmas tradition. I don't intend to answer all of the questions in my posts over the next few weeks, but I do hope to answer a few of the questions.

What do the Christmas colors (red and green) mean?

This is one question that I've honestly not thought about much before. I was surprised that most information I read was consistent in its interpretation. So, here is what I found:

Red represents the blood of Jesus.  At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a little baby, but we must not forget that it's Jesus' life AND death (as well as his resurrection) that makes him vital in the Christian faith. Jesus was not just a "good guy" that taught us important morals. He is the Son of God, and God sent Jesus to earth for a specific purpose: to die. The reason why he died was so that we can live. Jesus' perfect life qualified him to be a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for all the sins of the world.

Green symbolizes eternal life. During the Christmas season, the color green is oftentimes seen in evergreens (wreaths, trees, garland, etc.). Evergreens are green year-round, thus representing eternity. As I mentioned above, Jesus died so that we can live. Without Jesus, we are doomed to live an eternity separated from God.  By simply believing Jesus is who he said he was (God's Son), believing God resurrected him from the dead, and  giving Him control of your life, you will live forever in heaven with God (Romans 10:9) who created you, loves you, and wants to be with you. 

Advent Week 4 Daily Devotional

Day 22 (December 21st)

Day 22: Dove
Symbol: Dove
Scripture: Matthew 3:1-17
Explanation:  Another man named John lived during the same time as Jesus. God had a job for John, and it was to prepare the way for Jesus. John was "unconventional" in his attire and style, but people still flocked to him because he spoke God's truth. He baptized many people (which is simply being dunked in water to symbolize your "new life" in God), including Jesus! Immediately after Jesus was baptized, heaven opened and the Spirit of God descended on him like a dove. 
Question: Have you ever been baptized? If not and you believe in Jesus, is there something that is holding you back?

Day 23 (December 22nd)

Day 23: Star of Bethlehem

Symbol: Star of Bethlehem
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12
Explanation:  Jesus' birth is not only a big deal today when we celebrate Christmas, but it was a big deal when it actually happened. Magi (or wise men) from the east traveled an incredibly long distance to worship this baby, this king, that God sent. One bright star guided their travels; and the star led them to Bethlehem where they found Jesus. They presented this child with gifts for a king! 
Question: Have you ever traveled a great distance or paid a great price for something you valued?  

Day 24 (December 23rd)

Day 24: Baby Jesus in the Manger
Symbol: Baby Jesus in the Manger
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
Explanation:  The world had been waiting for The King to arrive, and the time had finally come. Jesus' anticipated arrival is finally here! Upon the announcement of his birth, the angels sang, the shepherds were in awe, and Mary and Joseph were mesmerized by this baby God called them to raise.  He had left his kingdom in heaven and humbled himself by becoming a baby in order to love us all.
Question: What is your reaction to Jesus' coming? What can you do to celebrate and rejoice in the birth of our Savior?


All Advent Posts: 

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