CHRISTmas OR christMUST – Advent Devotional Resources

Yesterday, I challenged us as a church to prioritize 4 things in our schedules and celebrations this month - God's Word, God's Church, God's Poor, and God's Kids. These are 4 places that JESUS guaranteed to meet us, speak to us, and change us. Let's try to put these practices on the calendar before the other "musts" this Christmas:

PREPARE YE THE WAY - In God's Word

Jesus promises to meet us in his Bible, so let's commit to engaging Jesus through some Advent Devotional practice. You can obviously use our Weekly Reading Plans to guide your study, but if you want something more, check out these options: 

FREE ONLINE ADVENT DEVOTIONALS:

Two Free Resources from John Piper and DesiringGod

A Daily Women's Devo From SheReadsTruth

DEVOTIONAL IDEAS FOR FAMILIES

There are hundreds of ideas out there for this from Joshua Trees to Following the Wisemen to Truth in the Tinsel. Here are three and here is a great Facebook feed of ideas for Families trying to celebrate with kids. 

Download a Family Advent Calendar from Focus On The Family

Book of Family Advent Devotional Ideas

Read a Chapter a Day from the Jesus Storybook Bible

ADVENT BOOKS:

God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller

God Came Near by Max Lucado

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – Nov 27 – Dec 4

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.

advent-2016-reading-plan-nov-27-dec4-2016-christmas-or-christmust-count-the-cost

Questions to Guide You:

This Christmas we’re thinking about celebrating CHRIST versus accomplishing all the things we MUST do socially or culturally. With all the social obligations demanding our time, we will look at what we actually MUST do this CHRISTmas. This week we’ll “Count the Costs” of celebrating CHRISTmas.

  • Christmas is an expensive time of year. How much does it cost you and your family to celebrate Christmas? What are the financial, social, relational, and cultural costs?
  • What did the Angel tell Mary? What would it cost Mary to accept this invitation? What financial, personal, physical, cultural costs? What does she risk by agreeing to Christmas?
  • How would Mary’s family respond? How would her husband respond? How would it change her living situation and finances?
  • Does the way you welcome Jesus at Christmas cost you any of the same things? Should it?
  • Luke 14 helps us count the costs of being a disciple of Jesus. How did Mary hate her “mother and father” in order to celebrate Jesus? How might radically putting Jesus first offend your mom and dad this Christmas? How might it offend your boss? How might it altar your traditions?
  • After accepting her task, Mary flees to her Aunt Elizabeth’s house. Why might she go there? Do you think she went to celebrate or avoid anyone noticing her growing belly?
  • In her song, Mary focuses on the “humble” and “lowly” and “hungry”. How has her new life as Jesus’ mom thrust these things upon her?
  • Matthew records the same story from Joseph’s view. What did it cost Joseph to celebrate Christmas? How did it affect his traditions, family, job, and even living arrangements? How did putting Jesus Christ first affect his relationships with family and friends?
  • After Jesus is born, in Luke 2, they take Jesus to be circumcised and there a prophet, Simeon, tells Mary several things about Jesus. What does he tell her about the cost of welcoming Jesus and how people will respond to Jesus?
  • Are your holiday plans determined more by family traditions and obligations or by celebrating Jesus? Which events get put on the calendar, and which get filled in around the edges? Which are negotiable and which are granite?
  • What habits, events, celebrations, decorations, worship services, or parties might you put on the calendar right now to welcome Jesus even if it means your mom and dad and boss have to wait?

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.