Thank you for joining us this Christmas season. Beginning December 3, Pastor Chip will preach a sermon series on Sunday mornings entitled “The Invitation”. This Christmas devotional guide will serve as a companion to prepare you for each week’s sermon. Each week includes a personal devotion and family discipleship time, all written by our Family Ministry Team. The readings begin the week of November 27 and lead up to Christmas Eve. We encourage you to plan what time is best for you and your family to go through the family discipleship portion together. We want to encourage everyone to join us as we focus on Christ this Christmas season.
The guide is based on the theme of Advent. Therefore, in order to use this guide to its full effect in your personal and family discipleship time, it is important to have an understanding of what the Advent season is about. In the following pages we have provided valuable information to help you gain a better understanding of the season of Advent.
What is Advent?
The Advent season officially begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continues until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There are a variety of ways to celebrate Advent,, depending on tradition and background. Many people use an Advent calendar typically made up of 24 “windows” containing Scriptures, stories, poems, or gifts to count down the days until Christmas. As each window is opened and the final day draws closer, expectation increases. This reminds us of the hopeful yet anxious waiting God’s people experienced as they longed for the promised Savior to come.
Another popular tradition is marking the progression of the season through an Advent wreath made up of five candles. This symbol is borrowed from the emphasis throughout Scripture on Jesus Christ as the Light of the World (Matt. 4:16; John 1:4-9, 8:12). Each week, a new candle is lit in anticipation of Christmas Eve. The last candle, called the Christ Candle, is lit on Christmas Eve to represent Jesus’ first Advent. Through this theme of ever-increasing light penetrating the darkness, we see a picture of the gospel.
Regardless of the tradition, Advent is a significant time in the life of the church. It’s an opportunity for believers to remember God’s promise to send one who would overcome sin and death forever. God promised a Savior, and He kept that promise perfectly.
How to Use This Guide
This guide contains five devotions. The personal study guide is designed to be completed individually. The personal devotions will also help you prepare for your family discipleship time. The family discipleship times are designed for all types of families, and they do not require any extensive preparation time. University students are also encouraged to use this guide to initiate discussions with their roommates.
This guide will take you through a study of the invitation which people received to join in on God’s plan. Even if you know the Christmas story well, don’t rush past what God has for you this season. For many, this may be the first time to consider all that God is saying through the birth of His Son. For others, it will be an opportunity to rediscover the way God intimately works in the details of life for His glory and the good of man. The King has come and is coming again! There is much to celebrate.