As we walk through the anticipatory season of Advent in a year full of chaos, uncertainty, isolation, unrest, and fear… let us choose to turn to Jesus, fixing our focus not on the fleeting status of this world, but the unchanging glory of God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)
Advent anticipates the arrival of Jesus Christ. The Latin root of advent defines a coming. Advent is a traditional recognition of this anticipation in the Christian faith, celebrated each of the four Sundays before Christmas, and Christmas Day. Matthew and Luke divinely penned the details of Christ’s birth on earth, and John began his Gospel account by clarifying who Jesus is.
As we walk through the anticipatory season of Advent in a year full of chaos, uncertainty, isolation, unrest, and fear… let us choose to turn to Jesus, fixing our focus not on the fleeting status of this world, but the unchanging glory of God. His greatest expression of love for us was to send His One and only Son to earth to save us. He knows us personally and created us purposefully, for such a time as this. We were set in this generation, and given the opportunity to bring glory to God, our Creator, with the life He has breathed into us. With this advent Bible study, may we all feel closer to Christ this Christmas season.
Photo Credit: © iStock/Getty Images Plus/RomoloTavani
Advent Week 1: A Thrill of Hope
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” (John 1:6)
Reflect: John was Jesus’ best friend on this earth. He often referred to himself as “the one Jesus loved.” The gospel of John begins with a description of who Jesus is, why He came to earth, and our opportunity to be adopted into the family of God. Jesus is light, in Him there is no darkness. Genesis 1 proclaims, “let there be light!” Jesus Christ is light and life. He is Living Water, Messiah, and one person of our mysterious Triune God. The Trinity has always been one. Jesus didn’t first arrive on the scene of Scripture when He came to earth. He always was. God’s plan always included a rescue for us, and a way for us to escape the power of sin and death through Jesus. We find hope in who Jesus is, and who we are because of His sacrifice. We are children of God, righteous heirs to His Kingdom! Our hope is not in fleeting news reports, but in our God who created the universe, hung the stars, and knit us in our mother’s womb. Nothing can thwart God’s purposes for our lives!
Pray: God, Abba Father, Yahweh, Elohim and Jehovah. Jesus, Messiah and Savior, Light and Living Water. Holy Spirit, Advocate and Comforter, Breath and Strength. Glory to You for this day, which You have made. We will choose to rejoice and be glad in it. Through the chaos of these current days we vow to seek and focus on You and Your unchanging truth. You loved us so much, You sent Your Son to save us. Through Christ, we are all welcome to come to You. To be adopted into Your family. As we gaze at the landscape around us and the intricate uniqueness of our reflection, may we pause to purposefully give praise to You for Your miracles, Your blessings, Your grace, and Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name,
Worship: Listen to “Oh, Holy Night.” Sing along, and let the hope of who Jesus is seep into the cracked and wounded places this year has left on our hearts.
Real life application: This week, journal John 1:1-14 , either in part or entirely, each day. Pray God will reveal these verses about who Jesus is in a new light.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images
Source: Carrie Underwood
Advent Week 2: The Prince of Peace
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Reflect: Christ’s birth on earth fulfilled many prophesies, leaving a rock-solid trail of ultimate and unshakeable Truth. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to earth to save us from the penalty for sin, which is death. Immanuel, God with us, knows how we feel. He lived in human skin, choosing to experience the physical and mental strain of humanity. His defeat of death on the cross was the final nail in our enemy’s coffin. Death has been defeated, and Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. His resurrection provides a way for us to come to God, despite the curse of sin. And He will come again to rid the world of pain, sorrow and death eternally. Life within the love of Christ allows us to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. The Prince of Peace lives in every believer by way of the incarnate Holy Spirit. We are empowered by the very Spirit of God! Our strength, hope, and peace comes from He who is the way, the truth and the life.
Pray: Jesus, We intentionally take this moment, and the days of this week, to sing praise and glory and honor to You for coming down from heaven to walk the earth we daily trod. Thank You for Your sacrifice, and the opportunity for new life it ushers into our souls as we turn to You for salvation. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, living in every believer, discerning and empowering us to do work the Father has purposed for His Kingdom. We are overjoyed we get to accept adoption into the family of God! Praise and glory to You, Jesus! As we anticipate Advent, and the celebration of Christmas, we dream of Your coming to set the world at peace once and for all. We long to live with You eternally, and we love You with our whole hearts. Peace flows from You, Living Water, like a raging river to calm our hearts… in this year full of intensity and isolation, we know the peace we have is supernatural. Thank you for Peace, and perspective. We turn to You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Worship: Listen to “Peace is Flowing Like a River.” Let the lyrics and the melody wash over the anxiety and angst of our daily lives. We are rescued by the salvation we receive in Christ Jesus, and daily from the desert of our anxieties, hardships, and the pain of this world.
Real life application: Click here to read and study Old Testament prophesies of Jesus’ birth. This effort to focus on the unchanging and unshakeable Truth of God’s word settles our hearts with the Peace of Christ.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Kevron2001
Source: OCP Session Choir - Topic
Advent Week 3: Joy to the World
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1:46-47)
Reflect: The writer of “Joy to the Word,” was inspired by Psalm 98. Mary was moved by the Spirit’s work in her womb to sing praises to God in Luke 1:46-55. As we read these passages this third anticipatory week of Advent, excitement buds in our souls. We are celebrating past, present, and future coming! This has been a very hard year for many, but the Joy of the Lord, as Nehemiah wrote, is our strength! Joy is not the fleeting feeling of happiness at a funny joke or the celebration of successful days. The Joy we have in Jesus remains through the isolation, pain, sickness, lack, fear, and anxiety. We live in a sin-soaked world and cannot fully escape its effects. In Christ, we are forever forgiven for our sins as we daily confess and repent; but sin still makes a big mess in our daily lives. God’s Truth refreshes our minds and fills our souls with the truth of Joy. Its source is nothing we can create, or experience apart from Jesus Christ, Messiah.
Pray: Father God, We give You glory for Joy! For Jesus! Thank You for sustaining us through difficult times. The hard parts of life are impossible for us to fully understand. Your ways are not our ways, nor can we search Your thoughts or purposes. But we can trust they are good, because You are good, Father. You took precise care in crafting each of us, and know us intimately and personally. This has been an emotional year, Father. You see us, know us, care for us, and are close when we are brokenhearted. Thank You, for Your presence and Your compassion for our hearts and our lives. We love You, and place You at the front of our minds and top of our priorities. We are grateful for the Joy we have in Jesus. Joy to the world.
In Jesus’ Name,
Worship: Listen to “Joy to the World.” This classic, traditional Christmas carol and hymn turns our hearts to who Christ is. Our Joy.
Real life application: A simple was to make Joy center stage in our hearts and homes is to place the word “Joy” in places we glance at throughout the day. This will help us to remember the ever-present Joy we have in Jesus, wherever we go! Joy to the World, indeed!
Photo Credit: © iStock/Getty Images Plus/rudall30
Source: Phil Wickham
Advent Week 4: Love Divine
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Reflect: Before we read the story of Christ’s birth this week, read of a tax collector named Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. Zacchaeus was despised because of his profession as a tax collector. He was most likely dishonest about the amount of tax he charged and kept so much of the excess money for himself. This wasn’t uncommon for a Roman tax collector, and Jesus knew exactly what he was up to when He approached Zacchaeus. As we read the Christmas story this last week of Advent, remember Zacchaeus in comparison to our lives and in context to the reason Jesus came to earth. Full of mistakes, missteps, and the daily burden of sin we bring to the foot of the cross, Jesus approaches us, knowing full well what we’ve been up to. He came down from heaven for us. Not some picture perfect version of us… He came for us. And as we are filled with Hope, Joy, Light and Life this Christmas, let us not only be thankful for the Gift of Jesus, but renewed in purpose to pass on the love He lavishes on us. There is nothing more important than Love.
Pray: God, Your love is supernatural and divine, transcending our understanding. Your love fills us completely as we surrender our lives to You through Christ Jesus. Your Spirit ignites our souls with Truth, Love, Peace, Joy, and Hope. Jesus, as we celebrate Your coming, past, present, and future, we embrace life within Your love. Let Your love flow through our lives like Niagara Falls—powerful, majestic and peaceful, all at once. Christ Jesus’ birth and life on earth put Your miraculous nature and compassionate love for us on display. Bless our lives this Christmas, and always.
In Jesus’ Name we Pray,
Worship: Listen to “Amazing Grace,” while reading the Christmas story from Luke this week. We were all once lost, but praise God, Jesus came precisely for the lost.
Real life application: Pay love forward. Each day this week, text someone who is going through a hard time. Whether they are sick, lonely, or sad, reach out to them. Send a funny joke or an inspirational Scripture. When we serve others in this way, it fills our hearts as well. We honor God when we love others as He loves us.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Oleg Elkov
Source: Andrea Bocelli
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ at megbucher.com. She is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ,” and "Sent, Faith in Motion." Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Web Network since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team at Salem Web Network. Meg loves being involved in her community and local church, leads Bible study, and serves as a youth leader for teen girls.
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