Advent

An Advent celebration from Fight for Your Family including weekly devotions.

Week 1 | November 29 | Hope

God promises to send Jesus to save the world!

Teach:

Hope—A Savior is Coming!

In the Old Testament of the Bible, there are books written by men called “prophets.” These men would write and speak about God’s promises and plans. Do you know what word the Bible uses to describe these promises? That word is “prophecy.” God uses prophecy to give His people hope. By sharing His plans and promises with His people, He lets them know He is in control, and He is with them.

Open a Bible to Isaiah 7:14 and read as a family. Does this story sound familiar? It’s the story of Christmas! In this verse, there is the young girl (Jesus’ mother) and her Son (Jesus). In this verse, it says her Son will be named “Immanuel.” The name “Immanuel” means “God with us,” and that is who Jesus is. This is the first sign of hope—that God will be with us on Earth very soon!

Now, open a Bible and read Isaiah 9:6 as a family. This verse is talking about the same thing as the last verse: Jesus! Jesus will be born as a human, and He will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace.
Now, there is something strange about these two verses. Both were written and taught over 400 years before Jesus was born! How did Isaiah know Jesus was going to be born that far into the future? Isaiah was a prophet, and God uses prophets to bring hope to His people. When we think about “hope,” we often think about something happening soon. Sometimes that thing happens, and sometimes it does not. With God, when He promises hope to His people, it always happens! So we can be hopeful about things happening soon and things far in the future.

Just as God used Isaiah to give His promise that Jesus was coming to save the world, He promises us that we will be saved if we believe and trust in Jesus. Jesus promised to return and make all things new, and we can be confident in knowing He will since God always fulfills His promises!

Ask:

Younger kids:

  1. When was a time you needed hope?
  2. What is something you hope will happen in the next year?

Older kids:

  1. What is prophecy? (A divine revelation of something to come)
  2. Why was it important that Jesus’ birth was prophesied/foretold?

Show:

Younger kids: Watch our on-demand video program for children, KidVue. Watch the episode for this week about “Hope” on kidvue.org.

Older kids: Watch BibleProject’s video (bibleproject.com/videos/yakhal-hope) about what the word “Hope” means in the Bible.

Table Activity:

Option 1: Parents, surprise your children with a mystery dessert. Tell them to make a prediction about what the mystery dessert is. Use this time to demonstrate prophecy from the lesson.

Option 2: Trim the Tree
Items needed: Green poster board/craft paper, thin tinsel garland or yarn, single hole punch, and pen.

Instructions:

  1. Cut the piece of poster board/craft paper into the shape of a Christmas tree. (Make four branches on each side and one point at the top.)
  2. Punch a hole at the end of each of the Christmas tree branches (nine total).
  3. At each hole punched, write a portion of this week’s verse—Isaiah 9:6. (For / a child / will be / born / for us, / a son / will be / given / to us.)
  4. Secure the starting point of your garland or yarn at the top of the tree. With the leftover poster board or paper, cut a small star shape for your tree as well.
  5. Thread the garland or yarn through the holes, saying each portion of the verse as you thread it through the whole tree. Use this craft to memorize the verse by tracing the yarn and saying the verse.

Parents:

As parents, life can get really busy, and one of the easiest things we sometimes compromise on is Bible reading. It is easy to think that we can fit it in at another point in the day, but if we’re honest, something usually comes up. We need consistent Bible reading to continue to instill hope and to be encouraged in a world that is fleeting and often times very hard to live in.

Think back to week four of Fight for Your Family (bellevue.org/family). The foundational truth was the Bible. The Bible is filled with prophecies, which are God’s revelation of things still to come. In fact, prophecy is what makes the Bible different from any other book.

Lead your family to write out some promises that God has made in the Bible. (Jesus is coming back to finalize His victory over sin and death, there is day coming when there will be no more tears and no more pain, etc.)

Sing:

Parents, pick your favorite version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and sing along as a family. This song is about God’s promise to send His Son, Jesus.

Week 2 | December 6 | Peace

Jesus brings peace to the world!

Teach:

Peace—An Angel Announces the Birth of Jesus!

What is an angel? Through the Bible, we learn that angels are God’s messengers. In this passage of the Bible specifically, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her something amazing and miraculous is about to happen to her.

Open your Bible to Luke 1:26–38 and take turns reading verses in the passage. The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is going to give birth to a son, and that Son is Jesus! But something doesn’t add up here. This is where the miracle happens. God places the baby in Mary’s womb, allowing her to give birth to the Son of God, Jesus Christ!

The angel Gabriel also tells her to “not be afraid” because the news that she is going to give birth to Jesus is not supposed to be scary but to bring peace. Gabriel wants her to know that God chose her and has called her to be the mother of Jesus, and by giving birth to Him, she will bring glory to God!

The birth of Jesus will be God’s gift of peace to the world. God sent Jesus to the world because He loves us and wants us to know and believe in Him.

Ask:

Younger kids:

  1. What do you think about when you hear the word “peace”?
  2. What did the angel tell Mary?

Older kids:

  1. What do you think a peaceful life is like?
  2. How does the Bible describe what a peaceful life is made up of? (Parents, contrast this answer from the first answer to show the difference.)

Show:

Younger kids: Watch our on-demand video program for children, KidVue. Watch the episode for this week about “Peace” on kidvue.org.

Older kids: Watch BibleProject’s video (bibleproject.com/videos/shalom-peace) about what the word “Peace” means in the Bible.

Table Activity:

Messengers of Peace
Think of the people you may see over the holidays. Do any of them not know Jesus? As a family, list the names of the people that come to mind. Make a commitment to pray for these people throughout the advent season.

Then, have your children write a few messages of peace and goodwill about Jesus in their life (Examples: God is with you. Peace to you and your family. God bless you!). These can be handed to someone on the previously written list: a friend, a teacher, or even a stranger. You can tell these people you are praying and hoping for peace this Christmas.

Parents:

In week two of Fight for Your Family (bellevue.org/family), the foundational truth was God: who He is and what He does. Of all the great things God has done for us, the greatest was sending Jesus to the world to save us from our sin. Jesus was both fully God and fully man, and the people who believe in Him become a part of the Church.

Parents, it is easy to get confused and assume that peace means rest. While rest is extremely important to our walk with Jesus, it is different than peace. Peace is contentment, and contentment is hard to attain in the world today. But Jesus’ death and resurrection bought our future, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore. We can have peace in a chaotic world because Jesus came to save us.

Lead your family to grow in the area of contentment this week. Explain what it means to be content and how a peaceful life follows contentment.

Sing:

Parents, pick your favorite version of “Angels We Have Heard on High” and sing together as a family. This song is about the angels telling about the birth of Jesus!

Week 3 | December 13 | Love
God’s love is revealed through the birth of Jesus.

Teach:

Love—Jesus is Born in Bethlehem!

Open the Bible to Luke 2:1–7 and read the passage together as a family. Each person has a place they call their Bethlehem. Usually, this is the place where you grew up and went to school or the place where you were born. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, was required to go back to his hometown, so the empire could have record of every person. Joseph was living in Nazareth so he and Mary traveled to Bethlehem knowing their Son could be born at any moment.

Remember in week one when we talked about prophecy? In this passage, a prophecy in the Bible is fulfilled. God promised to show His love to the world through a family from Bethlehem, and He did—through the birth of Jesus (Micah 5:2). In fact, Joseph was from the same family line as King David.

In this passage alone, we see three important parts of the Christmas story: Bethlehem, Mary, and Joseph. Each part expresses God’s love in a different way. Turn your Bible to 1 John 4:9. It says, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His one and only Son into the world…” God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to be born of Mary and then sent her to the town of Bethlehem where God’s love would take human form just as the prophecy said.

Ask:

Younger kids:

  1. What is something that makes you feel loved?
  2. How do we know God loves us?

Older kids:

  1. How is God’s love different than the world’s understanding of love?
  2. What does it mean that “God is love” (1 John 4:8)?
  3. How can you show God’s love to others this Christmas?

Show:

Younger kids: Watch our on-demand video program for children, KidVue. Watch the episode for this week about “Love” on kidvue.org.

Older kids: Watch BibleProject’s video (bibleproject.com/videos/agape-love) about what the word “Love” means in the Bible.

Table Activity:

Option 1: Have each family member go around the table and say one or two reasons why they love each person at the table. What better place to express God’s love for others than with our families?

Option 2: Graham Cracker Nativity
Items needed:

  • Graham Crackers
  • Icing
  • Animal Crackers
  • Gummy Bears
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Paper Plates
  • Plastic Knives
  1. Build the nativity stable with the
    graham crackers, using the icing to
    hold the graham crackers together.
  2. Use animal crackers to depict the
    animals present in the stable and
    use the shredded coconut to build
    a manger.
  3. With the nativity built and
    finished, read Luke 2:1-7 once
    again. Imagine what it was like
    in the stable that night when
    Jesus was born and remind your
    family of Jesus’ love for all people.

Parents:

In week seven of Fight for Your Family (bellevue.org/family), the foundational truth was Family. Look at the family of Jesus in the story this week. Mary and Joseph loved each other, but they also loved God. They obeyed Him and that obedience led them to serve each other. As a family, discuss how each of you can serve the others in your home and look for opportunities to serve each other in the future.

Sing:

Parents, pick your favorite version of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and sing along as a family. This song is about the special place where Jesus was born, Bethlehem.

Week 4 | December 20 | Joy

The Gospel is Good News and great joy for everyone.

Teach:

Joy—Jesus Brings Good News of Great Joy!

Weekly, we hear people make announcements. Whether our teachers are telling us about an upcoming assignment or field trip, or our pastor is talking about what is happening at church in the coming weeks. Announcements can also come through emails, letters, text messages, or on social media. But have you ever heard an announcement from an angel? Picture you and your family sitting in your living room together, when all of a sudden, an angel appears to tell you about Jesus and the joy that comes from knowing Him! You would be amazed, and if you didn’t know who Jesus was, you would most definitely want to find out! In this week’s passage, an angel appears to some shepherds who were extremely startled at first.

Open your Bible to Luke 2:8–20 and read this story together as a family.

You see in the story that the shepherds were so amazed by what the angel had told them that they went to Bethlehem to see the baby. They had been awaiting the promised Messiah to Israel and knew the prophecy from the book of Isaiah, so when they saw baby Jesus lying in the manger, they were overcome with joy. Their joy consisted of two responses. First, they went to see baby Jesus, who was God’s Son now in human form. Second, they went away telling everyone about what they had seen. Like the shepherds, we should constantly be giving glory to God for our salvation and going to tell others about Him.

The same Good News that the angel told the shepherds is what we should be telling others—The Gospel! Gospel literally means “good news,” and the Good News is all about Jesus! You can go and tell others about Jesus, so they can experience the same joy you have!

Ask:

Younger kids:

  1. What did the shepherds do when they heard about Jesus?
  2. When was a time you felt joy?

Older kids:

  1. What does joy look like? (Being in a relationship with Christ and living for Heaven.)
  2. How can you actively show others that Jesus changed your life?

Show:

Younger kids: Watch our on-demand video program for children, KidVue. Watch the episode for this week about “Joy” on kidvue.org.

Older kids: Watch BibleProject’s video (bibleproject.com/videos/chara-joy) about what the word “Joy” means in the Bible.

Table Activity:

Gingerbread Shepherds
Items needed:

  • Gingerbread men cookies
  • Multiple colors of icing
  • Sprinkles, candies, candy canes, etc.

Decorate your gingerbread man like one of the shepherds who would have been visited by the angels the night Jesus was born. Get creative by adding a candy cane as a staff and even making sheep cookies as well.

While decorating your cookies, discuss and write down as a family how you can show the joy you have in Jesus to those you spend the holidays with (friends, family, neighbors, etc.).

Parents:

Sharing the Gospel with others is one of the greatest things God has called each and every one of us to do. But, it can often seem difficult or terrifying. Why is that? Often, the fear of rejection keeps us from sharing the Gospel. Think back to week eight of Fight for Your Family when the foundational truth was Community and World. (Visit bellevue.org/family for reference.) All people in all places need the joy of Jesus just as much as we do. There is no better way to get out of your comfort zone and fight this fear of rejection than by telling others about the joy you have in Christ during the Christmas season. If you want your children to have an active faith, give them one to imitate.

The important thing about teaching your children to share their faith while they’re young is that it sets them up to live out their faith when they are older and even when others are possibly mocking them for it. Help your children see how Jesus changed your life and brought you so much joy that you would go and tell anyone about Him.

Sing:

Parents, pick your favorite version of “Joy to the World” and sing along as a family. This song is about joy coming to the world through the birth of Jesus.

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