For the next 24 days I plan to include you in a family tradition. I hope to do it in addition to my regular “foodie” and “all natural solutions” posts which I know my readers love most; consider this an extra helping of hope for a season that for many is stressful, busy, and…dark.
In 2005 I made an Advent Box (a shoe box covered in gold paper) containing a devotional booklet that I wrote inspired by Kay Arthur’s book Our Covenant God. She explains beautifully in her book a progressive revelation of Jesus through the covenants God made with various Biblical peoples…and ultimately, thanks to Christmas, with us!
Based on information in that book, I took Biblical characters and some symbolic imagery and made magnetized Advent Calendar pieces to cover the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day. I used a gingerbread man as a template for Adam and Eve, Moses, even Jesus Himself (!) My stepdaughter, then only 8 years old, helped me to decorate them with wool, paper, and glitter glue.
For the calendar itself, I used a poster board, covered it with gold tissue paper, sequins, and glitter. On the back I made a “Covenant Game” to be played on Christmas Day itself, with Quiz/Activity Cards that covered the information from the devotional to reinforce its connection to Christmas day. We hung the calendar up using 3M Velcro strips during Advent and then took the calendar down to play the game on Christmas Morning. Everything except the calendar: the game pieces, the calendar pieces, and the devotional booklet nestle snugly in our Advent Box, the delights of which I hope to unpackage for you this Advent 🙂
I hope you will allow me to draw you into our family gatherings through these posts as we take the 24 days leading up to Christmas to discuss God’s Plan of Redemption for humanity. The Ultimate focus is Jesus as our Covenant, the basis for an enduring relationship with God, our Hope for enjoying our everyday life.
Today, December 1st’s devotional is “Let There Be Light”. (You can click on the Pinterest image above to see information on Today’s Calendar piece). I will make this more condensed than it appears in our booklet because I’d like to make it available as an eBook in the future. Here are all the verses you will need for today’s devotional; please read them before reading the devotional. Since our booklet is written in a way that appeals to children, I’ve tried to make this excerpt more adult-friendly: I hope you won’t find it overly simple or patronizing.
Bible Background: God has three parts! Moses wrote the book of Genesis in ancient Hebrew. The word he used for God in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim”. Elohim has two parts: the first part is “El” and it means mighty or strong. The second part is “him” which means three or more things (Arthur, Kay. Lord: I Want to Know You. Random House Digital, Inc., Nov 21, 2000. p.9). Elohim literally means “the mighty three”. We call this “mighty three” the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. The Father is the will and personality of God; Jesus is the body or “interface” of God; the Holy Spirit is the power of God. Together they make one Mighty Being of Light.
Bible Study Question: Compare Isaiah 9:1-2 (which was written over seven hundred years before the first Christmas) with Matthew 4:15-16. How did Jesus act like a light?
Today’s Devotional: Light shows us the truth. Sometimes we don’t want others to notice how “messy” we are; we want others to think that everything is OK (sometimes we try to convince ourselves that we are OK) so they will leave us alone. So what do we do? We “turn out the lights” by trying to hide our thoughts and actions. We may be able to fool people, but As King David pointed out, it is impossible to hide from God! There is no point trying! Jesus is our Light; sometimes when He comes into our lives He reveals the truth about things we have been trying to hide. Even though He can see the deepest, darkest places in our hearts, He still loves us completely!
Application: Hiding our problems will make them worse. This Christmas season, when our weaknesses are tested by stressful situations and people, be determined face your problems, admit your faults, hold realistic expectations of yourself, and accept that God loves you no matter what. His love for you reaches far beyond what presents you buy, what food you cook, or what others think of you. He knows the secrets you are hiding from friends and family and what your secret hopes and dreams are. Confess all these things to Him in private prayer and invite Him to shed His light on those areas that need to be released from the grips of inner darkness. Be a child of light this Christmas and allow His light to penetrate every area of your life.
Prayer: “Father God, thank you for sending Jesus to be my Light. Please help me to face my problems and my weaknesses with Your strength. Please don’t let any darkness be found in me; help me to love the Truth and to follow the Light of Jesus. In Jesus’ Name; Amen.”
Activity (for families): Make Stained Glass Windows. Cut holes in black construction paper and cover them with colorful tissue
paper. The tissue paper should be larger than the holes so you can glue it to the construction paper. Write 1 John 1:5 on some card and stick it to your stained glass window. Using tape, affix your “stained glass” projects to a window. Each time you look at them, remember that there is no darkness in God. No ulterior motives, no sin, no temptation. He is light; beautiful and penetrating and He wants to shine through our “colors”, through us.
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