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

Family Advent Devotional

Download a Family/Kid Advent Devotional Book

Hey Gang,
So I’ve never found anything quite like this. It is an Advent Devotional Book for families with young kids. If you have young ones and you’re trying to find a way to teach them the Christmas Story and get them asking good God questions, this might be helpful. If you have one of those chocolate Christmas countdown calendars, maybe you can read this before you open the chocolates and then discuss the questions while you enjoy them!!

It was designed and written by the church I attended in college, Lake Forest Church. I’d recommend printing it out and stapling it together, since the layout is all wonky in PDF view.

Merry Christmas!

Here is what Mike, their Pastor had to say about the book on his awesome blog:

Last Sunday we handed out a daily Advent devotional at the Kidtropolis check-in stations and I offer it today for your use.  It is primarily geared for parent(s) to lead their child(ren) through, as a user-friendly way to be in God’s Word daily and focus on Jesus this December.  But I am using it as my daily devotions this season personally, and want to invite you to as well.

The authors of this devotional guide are Aron Gibson (our kick tail WestLakeForest pastor) and Tracy Grubbs (our self-named ‘Creative Arts Chick’ at LFC – I allow people to write their own job titles). There are two things I like most about it:

  1. It models for us that our daily engagement with God’s Word doesn’t have to be exhaustive, long, or exhausting to be meaningful.  Sometimes a brief focus and prayer over a single verse has more sticking power for the day, and in the heart, than reading a whole chapter. And that can be done in a few focused minutes.
  2. They chose an Ignatian approach to a family devotional, by making one simple statement about each Bible reading, then posing a question or two.  Parents, this is tutoring you in how to be a ‘spiritual director,’ or shepherd, to your child.  Use the questions as starting points, let your child and yourself explore them, and gently turn them to consider God’s presence in their lives that day.

I’m asking the LORD to gift me with a more child-like heart this Advent season as I follow this guide.  Thank you Aron and Tracy.

You can download the LFC Advent Family Devotion here. Note: Because of how the booklets are set up for our printer, this download will not have the dates in order. You’ll just have added family bonding time searching for the dates as a first step 🙂 (also we will have a few more to handout in Kidtropolis this Sunday)

SPECIAL WORSHIP SERVICE – Hanging of the Greens 2015

 

 HANGING OF THE GREENS 2015

This service was written to teach us the history and meaning of the symbols, which surround us at Christmas. The goal is not just to learn Church History or to decorate the church's buildings, but rather to saturate Christmas with Christ, so that no matter where we look or what we see, all of it drives our hearts and minds to Jesus. 

For those interested, here is a Hanging of the Greens Service Script and the Bulletin for the service. Feel free to use or reproduce them. 

 

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Nov 29 – Hanging of the Greens Service and Dinner

Hanging of the Greens

A Christmas Service with a Christmas Dinner

On November 29, 2015 at 5:00PM we'll get together to decorate Oakland for Christmas, but this year we're going to take time to remember the symbolism of the decorations we put up around our homes and church. 

Afterwards, we'll gather for a Christmas dinner complete with Ham and Sweet Potatoes. 

Our goal is to recover the latent meaning of so many common symbols around us, and to learn to use them as visible reminders to enjoy Jesus and to celebrate his birth. We want to put Christ back in Christmas, but even more we want to make Christ all of Christmas, so that there is no part of Christmas decorations or events that doesn't drive your heart and mind to love and cherish and celebrate the baby that was born to die. We want to surround ourselves with reminders of the great Rescuer, who left the safety of Heavens and came behind enemy lines to save us.