Advent: Week 1

HOPE

Today is the kick off of our community Advent devotions at Calvary Chapel North Long Beach. We are so excited to be studying God’s word together and really making God a priority during this season. Make sure to set aside 10 to 15 minutes to read through the “Hope” devotion in the Advent guide this week and afterward take some time to fill out the “Acts of Kindness Challenge Calendar” so that come December 1st you are prepared and ready to jump in. It is recommended to read through the devotion in the Advent book on Sundays so that you have the whole week to mediate on the scriptures and talk through/give some thought to the discussion questions. Everything in the Advent book is meant to be a guide. You can read it word for word or use it as a starting point to expand in your own way. We are excited to see what the Lord will do in the lives of everyone here at CCNLB as we set aside time to focus on the coming of our Lord during this Christmas season. So, let’s jump in!

Contents:

  1. Extended Devotion for Adults and Youth
  2. Extended Devotion for Kids
  3. Family Activity
  4. Craft
  5. Social Media Hashtag Challenge

Extended Devotion for Adults and Youth:

Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke to His people about this promise and gave them things to watch for in order to recognize the Savior’s coming. God revealed that the Messiah would be born in the line of David (Isaiah 9:6–7), of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He would be a Man of Sorrows—crushed, despised, and rejected—justifying many through what He suffered (Isaiah 53). The promised Deliverer would be a light overcoming darkness (Isaiah 9:2), a Preacher of Good News to the poor (Isaiah 61), and One walking in the power of the Spirit (Isaiah 42:1). There were hints and shadows of Him everywhere.

God also reminded His people not to lose heart as they waited for the Savior to come. It’s important to remember that God did not fulfill His promise right away. His people waited a long time. They spoke of the promised Rescuer from generation to generation, enduring cycles of war, rebellion, captivity, and restoration. They watched and waited—anxiously, expectantly—for God’s faithfulness.

We can all identify with feeling hopeless, helpless, and in desperate need of rescue, especially when it comes to the weight of sin. Heavy and inescapable, we know its effects with every breath—both our own sin and that of others. Our world is full of evidence that something is wrong and needs to be made right. The reason we celebrate Advent is because the story of the Garden doesn’t end with man’s rebellion—but instead his redemption.

Extended Devotion for Kids:

After reading through the selected reading from the “Jesus Storybook Bible”, briefly talk about what it means to be rescued from something. When might you need to be saved from danger? Whom would you call upon to rescue you? For example, if there were a fire, whom would you call to save you? What are rescuers typically like?

After some discussion read the following:

In the very beginning, God created a perfect world. There was no sin, pain, sickness, death, or sadness. God created Adam and Eve to live in His perfect world with joy and peace. But Adam and Eve sinned. They disobeyed God. When they sinned, God’s perfect world broke.

There was a punishment for Adam and Eve’s sin. Because God is perfect, He cannot be near sin. So Adam and Eve were separated from God. The punishment for their sin would also be placed on all humans who were born after Adam and Eve.

But before Adam and Eve left God’s perfect Garden, God made a promise. God promised to send a Rescuer, someone to save Adam, Eve, and mankind from the punishment of sin. He promised to send Jesus!

God did not send Jesus to rescue His people right away. God waited thousands of years to send the Rescuer. During that time, God’s people faced many hard things. While they waited, God gave them hints and clues about how Jesus would come, what He would do, and what He would be like. These hints, written in Scriptures by prophets, would help God’s people wait. The scripture in Isaiah 9:6 was written while God’s people waited those thousands of years for the savior.

During that time, God made other promises to His children and kept those promises. Each time God made and kept a promise, it helped His children trust that He would be faithful to His promise to send Jesus to rescue them from their sins.

Some days, God’s children waited patiently. Some days, they waited with tears and frustration. Some days, they wondered if God had forgotten His promise. But God continued to whisper it over and over again as His children waited. And one day, when no one was expecting it, Jesus would come.

*Extended devotion taken from excerpts of TVC Advent Guide*

Family Activity:

Parents, make plans for a fun Christmas activity this week that you know your children will love. Perhaps it’s watching a Christmas movie, baking cookies together, or seeing Christmas lights. At the end of your family devotion on Hope, promise your kids that you are going to do something special together but don’t tell them what or when. As the days go by, remind them of your promise and give them hints as to what it might be. Let their expectation and excitement grow throughout the week. Use the opportunity, whenever they ask the inevitable, “What is it?!” to remind them of God’s promise to send a rescuer and the anticipation God’s people felt as they waited.

After you do the activity, discuss the experience of waiting: What was it like to wait? What was it like to finally experience what you had been waiting and hoping for? Remember together God’s faithfulness in sending a Savior. It happened just as He said it would.

Craft:

Let the kids help in decorating the house for Christmas by making a dried orange garland together. This can be hung on your tree, pinned to a wall, or draped over the mantle. It’s an easy craft that facilitates some time together creating something beautiful to add to your home.

SUPPLIES

  • Oranges (3-5)
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Paper towels
  • Twin/yarn/string
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dry Oranges.
    Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice oranges in rounds, about 1/4 inch thick. Blot dry with paper towels, and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 3 hours, flipping slices at least 3 times to bake evenly. The edges should be slightly browned. After 3 hours, remove from oven and place on cooling racks. Put aside until dry. Patience is required here, because you want the flesh of the orange to be totally and completely dry, otherwise it will rip when you stitch it.
  2. Make Garland
    Thread needle with your choice of twine. Then string orange slices onto twine. You want to make sure you make a complete stitch through the orange slices: take the needle in one side of the flesh of the orange, and out the opposite side. You need a complete stitch so the slices hang on the string correctly. When you have the length you need, cut string and tie a knot in each end to keep oranges from sliding off of the garland. Leave enough string after the knot to affix to your pine garland or Christmas tree, etc.

Social Media Hashtag Challenge:

This week you can earn an entrance into the raffle giveaway by posting a picture of your “Acts of Kindness Challenge” calendar all filled in and ready to go for the month. Use the opportunity to invite friends/family to join in on the challenge with you to spread some kindness this Christmas. Make sure to tag @ccnlb (whether it is a post on your feed or in your stories) and use #ccnlbadvent.

NOTE: If you have a private profile make sure that you send a screenshot of your post to @ccnlb so that you will be entered into the raffle.