Since the fourth century, the Church has celebrated the season of Advent (which means “coming” or “arrival”) starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas day. The celebration of Advent helps us focus our attention on Jesus Christ’s birth and ministry as well as his promised return.
Throughout the season we are constantly reminded that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
Perhaps the most popular tradition associated with the season is the use of an Advent calendar to mark the month of December. Modern Advent calendars typically include 24 “windows” that are opened (one per day) to reveal a poem, portion of Scripture, story, picture or small gift. As more windows are opened, expectancy increases in awaiting the final day, which represents the first advent of Christ.
Another popular tradition involves the use of an Advent candle or candles. This symbolic tradition is borrowed from the emphasis throughout Scripture of Jesus Christ being the light of the world (Matthew 4:16; John 1:4-9, 8:12). Those using one candle burn a little each day to mark the progression of the season. Each day a bit more of the candle is burned to symbolize the anticipation of Christmas. Others use a wreath with five candles in the middle. Each week a new candle is lit in anticipation of the final lighting on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Additionally, you often see an emphasis on particular colors in the celebration of Advent. Whereas modern Christmas celebrations focus on red and green, the historical colors of Advent are purple (symbolizing royalty) and blue (symbolizing hope). Given the association of purple with Easter and Lent, modern Advent celebrations often emphasize blue.
This guide was created out of a desire to focus on the whole gospel at a time when we usually focus only on the birth of Christ. Celebrating His birth is a very good thing but if we don't understand why He came, then we are really just celebrating the birth of a cute little Jewish boy. I pray that you and your family will be able to benefit from this as you focus on Christ during this busy, sometimes hectic, season. May God bless you as you lead your family in the worship of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
My family uses the 5 candles in a circle along with a wreath. You don't have to use a wreath if you don't want one. We usually do just for tradition's sake. All you really need are 5 candles. Place them on your dining room table or other prominent place with four in a circle and one in the middle. Every night at supper you light the candle for that week and any candles that came before it in previous weeks (i.e. for all of week one you light only the one candle every night, all of week two you light two candles every night, etc.). The candles can be all the same color or multi-colored to help you remember what each candle's name is. Each time you light a candle ask your kids the candle's name and of what it reminds us.
This guide incorporates the use of “The Jesus Storybook Bible”* by Sally Lloyd Jones and “The Gospel Story Bible”** by Marty Machowski. These are great, Christ-centered, storybook Bibles that point to Christ throughout the entire Bible. If you don't have them, I encourage you to get them and begin this season using them with this guide. Although there are devotionals with Scripture references and questions apart from “The Jesus Storybook Bible” and “The Gospel Story Bible,” I believe they will help your children make sense of it all.
There should be enough material here (in this guide) to give your family something to do or discuss 3-5 nights a week (or every night if you wish) for the entire Advent Season. My family will usually do something from the guide 3 or 4 nights a week. We don't always have an “organized” (used loosely with 3 little kids around) devotion, but we always light the candle(s) for the week and say their names and of what they remind us.
Read through each week ahead of time. You may want to use all the verses listed as you talk about it, or you may want to only choose one for each set of Scripture references listed. For example, in week 3 there are four verses listed when talking about Jesus' mission to save sinners. The devotionals and the storybook Bible stories are meant to give you a starting place for discussion. They are short by design. So, feel free to take the discussion in any direction you sense God leading you for your family.
The discussion questions are designed for younger children. Each question has a few suggested answers you are looking for. If you have older kids or teenagers, I suggest you look ahead and spend some time reading through the guide and think of your own age-appropriate questions. Or if you don't like the questions provided, come up with your own that would better suit your family. Older children should be able to help out with Scripture and story reading and prayer. “The Gospel Story Bible” also has it's own set of questions for each story that you can use.
Again, this is just a guide, so feel free to download it, change it (add your own references and questions, etc.), and share it however you like. Don't make the mistake I did when I first started doing “Family Worship Time.” I thought everything had to be rigid and structured. That is exhausting! Structure has it's place, but Family Worship Times should be times where the focus is on prayer, the Bible, worship, and talk about Jesus. That's it. They can be as structured or as relaxed as you choose.
* They have also made each story available in Audio and Video versions when you purchase the “Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition.”
** Marty Machowski also has two companion volumes that work through the Old and New Testaments respectively. They offer further study into the stories and great discussion questions. They are “Old Story New” (New Testament) and “Long Story Short” (Old Testament).
For a longer list of helpful books on the topic of Christian Parenting you can visit my website at biblicalmen.com and click on the “Recommended Reading” resource.
Week 1 - Prophecy, Promises, & Waiting
Week 2 - Christ's Birth-The First Advent
Week 3 - Christ's Life, Death, and Our Salvation-The Reason He Came
Week 4 - Resurrection, Return and Restoration-He Will Come Again
Week 5 - Watching and Waiting-We are on Mission
Also at the end are a few lists of helpful resources and suggestions.
Appendix A – All verses that are listed as references. These are already typed out for quick use. They are listed in order by how they appear in the discussion paragraphs.
Appendix B – A list of prophecies and their references that Jesus fulfilled through his birth, life, and death. It's not an exhaustive list, but would make for some good thought and discussion.
Appendix C – A list of ideas that you could do with your family through the Advent Season.
We are born in sin and can do nothing about it to save ourselves.
God promised all through the Old Testament to send the Savior.
God makes promises.
Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22:15-18; Is. 9:6-7; Is. 53:4-5
In the beginning God made everything. And everything He made was good. Adam and Eve sinned against God by disobeying Him. God punished Adam and Eve by cursing them and the earth, and by kicking them out of the Garden of Eden. Sin had entered the world an broken everything God made good. Because of their sin, we are all born with a sinful, rebellious nature that does not love God. Because of sin there is death and pain in our world. It was not so before sin. We are all born into sin. Worse yet, nothing we can do will reverse the effects of sin in us. We can't beat it. We have an enemy that we cannot conquer. We are also told that everyone who sins is God's enemy and deserves His punishment forever. This is really bad news! (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)
God promised a Savior, a Redeemer, even in the Garden right after Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:15). He would come and conquer sin for us. He would save and rescue us from the punishment we deserve. God made promises like these all through the Old Testament. (Gen. 22:15-18; Is. 9:6-7; Is. 53:4-5)
Then God tells us who to look for. He says "I'm sending someone to be your Conquerer for you and I'll let you know exactly who He is." We call this Prophecy. Micah 5:2, Is. 7:14, Is. 37:33, Is. 11:10, etc. (see Appendix B)
Is everyone in the world a sinner (disobedient to God)? (Yes)
What do people who disobey God deserve? (hell, punishment, death, God's wrath)
Why do we need a Savior to rescue us? (We need forgiveness. We can not win over sin.)
What promise did God make to humans all through the Old Testament? (He would send a Savior)
God makes promises. Can you think of other promises God has made to us as Christians? (Never to leave or forsake us. Everything will work together for our good. Jesus will come back. If we trust in Jesus as Lord we will be saved. He will restore everything to the way He created it to be.)
Operation “No More Tears!” - p. 144
The Terrible Lie - p. 28
Adam & Eve Disobey God (story #3) – p. 6-7
The Birth of Jesus Foretold (story #79) – p.158-159
The promised Savior is born.
God fulfills His promises.
God is sovereign over all history.
John 1:1-5; John 3:16; Luke 2:1-20
He's here! God's long awaited Messiah had finally come. God always fulfills His promises. One of the ways we know God is completely sovereign (in total control of all history) is by the prophecies He fulfills. God told us exactly where to look for our Redeemer, and Jesus showed up exactly where and how God said He would. Jesus is The One (John 5:1-5).
God loves us. He shows us this over and over again. The most definite and visible way God shows He loves us is that He doesn't just send someone to take care of this little problem of ours...He sent His Son, who is also God (John 3:16).
This is such a beautiful story of God showing His love for us. He sent us a Gift from Heaven. He sent us His perfect, most precious Gift in the most humble of circumstances (Luke 2:1-20).
What is one way we know that God is sovereign (in total control) of all history? (He makes and fulfills His promises exactly how He said he would. He fulfills prophecy.)
What was the gift God sent us? (Jesus)
How do we know God loves us? (He sent Jesus)
He's Here! - p. 176
The Light of the World - p. 184
The Birth of Jesus (story #80) – p. 160
Jesus Presented in the Temple (story #81) – p. 163
Jesus came on a mission.
Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient.
More prophecies fulfilled.
Romans 5:7-11; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 4:14; Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:17
Jesus came to earth on a rescue mission to save sinners from their sin (Rom. 5:7-11; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 John 4:14; John 3:17). This is really great news if you remember our condition that we talked about in Week One, where we are powerless to save ourselves. Remember the really bad news?
This salvation is accomplished (done completely) for us by Christ's substitutionary death (in our place, for our sin) on the cross (Col. 2:13-15; 1 Cor. 15:3,4). And this Salvation becomes ours when we place our faith in Jesus' work for us (Eph. 2:1-10).
Another way we know that Jesus is the One sent from God is because God not only tells us how the Messiah would be born, but also how He would live and die. (See Appendix B)
What was Jesus' mission while He was on earth? (save sinners, save people from their sins)
What does it mean that Jesus was our substitution? (He died in our place for our sins, He took the punishment we deserved, He paid for our sins so we wouldn't have to)
How are we saved? (placing our faith in Jesus' work for us on the cross, by His grace through faith)
Have we done or can we do anything to earn or deserve this gift? (no-it is by His grace alone)
The Friend of Little Children - p. 256
The Servant King - p. 286
The Sun Stops Shining - p. 302
Nicodemus (story #87) – p. 175
Jesus Claims to be God (Story #104) – p. 208
The Crucifixion and the Criminals (story #115) – p. 230
The Death of Christ (story #116) – p. 232
Jesus will come again.
Jesus is a victorious King.
Christians will be with Him forever.
John 2:18-22; Ephesians 1:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Matthew 26:63-64; John 14:2-3; Matthew 24:44; Revelation 19:11-16; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:2-3
Jesus' sacrificial death was not the end, though. Three days after He died, He brought Himself back to life just like He said He would (John 2:18-22). The empty tomb proves that Jesus is who He says He is (God), and it proves that His sacrifice was accepted by God the Father. He paid our debt in full. He is a conquering King who sits at the place of honor (Eph. 1:19-21).
Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can have faith that He will do the same for all who believe in Him (1 Cor. 6:14). The hope of the resurrection is our fuel for life as a believer in Christ. Jesus tells us that He is coming again (Matt. 26:63, 64, John 14:2-3, Matt. 24:44). And this time He is not coming with the mission to save sinners, but to cleanse the earth of sin and evil and death (Rev. 19:11-16). We can trust that when He says He will return, He will do it. Remember how God fulfilled His promise to send a Redeemer? God keeps His promises.
Christians get to be with God forever in His presence (2 Pet. 3:13, Rev. 21:2, 3). This is the joy of Heaven and eternity! Sure, it will be nice to have no pain, fear, death, tiredness, etc. Sure, it will be nice to see other Believers we met in this life. But the thing that makes eternity wonderful is that we get God!
What's one way we know that Jesus is God? (The resurrection, he came back to life, the tomb is empty)
What is our hope as Christians? (That we will have life after death, that we will be with God forever)
What is it that makes Heaven so great? (God is there)
How do we know that Jesus will come back? (He promised and God keeps His promises, We can trust Him because of already fulfilled promises)
God's Wonderful Surprise - p. 310
A Dream of Heaven - p. 342
The Resurrection (story #117) – p. 235
Doubting Thomas (story #118) – p. 236
Worthy is the Lamb (story #155) – p. 310
At the Throne Worshipping (story #156) – p. 312
Jesus gives us a mission.
Jesus gives us power through the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Pet 3:15
Jesus has done so many wonderful things for us and in us. Before He ascended to the Father, He told the Apostles, (and all Christians), to go out with a mission (Matt. 28:18-20). It is now our job, as Christ's body on this earth (1 Cor. 12:12), to spread the message, or Good News, or Gospel of Jesus Christ. We learn from the Apostle Paul that this is one reason God leaves us here after He saves us. He gives us the power to do this mission (Acts 1:8).
Of course there are many other things we are told to do as believers in Christ. We are told all through the New Testament how we are to live in light of what Jesus has done for us. But none of those things we do will save us or other people from sin. The Gospel is the power of God (Rom. 1:16, 1 Cor. 1:18) to save people.
We need to know and understand the Gospel so that we might be faithful witnesses and proclaimers of it by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet 3:15). We have a mission. All of us.
What is our mission? (To make disciples, teach people about Jesus, share the Good News-the Gospel)
Why do we not need to be afraid when we share the gospel? (He has given us the Holy Spirit)
Do you think Jesus meant that we all have to go to a foreign country to make disciples? (No, We are all on mission everywhere we go, we can tell anyone about Jesus)
Going Home - p. 318
God Sends Help - p. 326
A New Way to See - p. 334
The Great Commission (story #120) - p. 240
The Ascension (story #121) – p. 243
Pentecost (story #122) – p. 244
Take Up Your Cross (story #101) – p. 202
(Rom 3:23 ESV)  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Rom 6:23 ESV)  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Gen 3:15 ESV)  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
(Gen 22:15-18 ESV)  And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven  and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,  I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,  and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."
(Isa 9:6-7 ESV)  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this
(Isa 53:4-5 ESV)  Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
(Jhn 1:1-5 ESV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(Jhn 3:16 ESV)  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
(Luk 2:1-20 ESV)  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"  When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
(Rom 5:7-11 ESV)  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
(1Ti 1:15 ESV)  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
(1Jo 4:14 ESV)  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
(Col 2:13-15 ESV)  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,  by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.  He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
(1Cr 15:3-4 ESV)  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
(Eph 2:1-10 ESV)  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Jhn 3:17 ESV)  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
(Jhn 2:18-22 ESV)  So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?"  Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."  The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?"  But he was speaking about the temple of his body.  When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
(Eph 1:19-21 ESV)  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
(1Cr 6:14 ESV)  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
(Mat 26:63-64 ESV)  But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."  Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."
(Jhn 14:2-3 ESV)  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
(Mat 24:44 ESV)  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
(Rev 19:11-16 ESV)  Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.  From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
(2Pe 3:13 ESV)  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
(Rev 21:2-3 ESV)  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
(Mat 28:18-20 ESV)  And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
(1Cr 12:12 ESV)  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (Act 1:8 ESV)  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
(Rom 1:16 ESV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
(1Cr 1:18 ESV)  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1Pe 3:15 ESV)  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
1. He will be a descendant of Abraham (Gen. 22:18; Gal.3:16)
2. He will be descended through Isaac not Ishmael (Gen. 21:12; Lk. 3:23-24)
3. From the line of Jacob (Num. 24:17; Lk, 3:23-24)
4. From the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Lk. 3:23-24)
5. He will come from the family line of Jesse (Is. 11:1; Lk. 3:23-24)
6. From the house and lineage of David (Jer. 23:5; Lk. 3:23-24)
7. He will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Mt. 2:1)
8. He will be preceded by a messenger who will announce His advent (Is. 40:3; Mt. 3:1-2)
9. He will teach in parables (Ps. 78:2; Mt. 13:34-35)
10. He will perform many miracles (Is. 35:5-6; Mt. 9:35)
11. He will ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zec. 9:9; Mt. 21:2; Lk. 19:35-37)
12. He will zealously cleanse the Temple (Ps. 69:9; Mal. 3:1; Jn.2:15-16)
1. He will be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9, Matthew 26:49)
2. The price of his betrayal will be 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15)
3. His betrayal money will be cast to the floor of the temple. (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:5)
4. His betrayal money will be used to buy a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:7)
5. He will be forsaken and deserted by his disciples (Zechariah 13:7; Mark 14:50)
6. He will be accused by false witnesses (Psalm 35:11; Matthew 26:59-60)
7. He will be silent before his accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12)
8. He will be wounded and bruised (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 27:26)
9. He will be hated without a cause (Psalm 69:4; John 15:25)
10. He will be struck and spit on (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67)
11. He will be mocked, ridiculed and rejected (Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 27:27-31 and John 7:5, 48)
12. He will collapse from weakness (Psalm 109:24-25; Luke 23:26)
13. He will be taunted with specific words (Psalm 22:6-8; Matthew 27:39-43)
14. People will shake their heads at him (Psalm 109:25; Matthew 27:39)
15. People will stare at him (Psalm 22:17; Luke 23:35)
16. He will be executed among sinners (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
17. His hands and feet will be pierced (Psalm 22:16; Luke 23:33)
18. He will pray for his persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
19. His friends and family will stand afar off and watch (Psalm 38:11; Luke 23:49)
20. His garments will be divided and won by the casting of lots. (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
21. He will thirst. (Psalm 69:21; John 19:28)
22. He will be given gall and vinegar (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34)
23. He will commit himself to God (Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46)
24. His bones will be left unbroken (Psalm 34:20; John 19:33)
25. His heart will rupture (Psalm 22:14; John 19:34)
26. His side will be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
27. Darkness will come over the land at midday (Amos 8:9; Matthew 27:45)
28. He will be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
29. He will die 483 years after the declaration of Artaxerxes to rebuild the temple in 444 B.C. (Daniel 9:24)
Adapted from Beyond Belief to Convictions by Josh McDowell
Below you will find a list of ideas for activities your family can do together during Advent. Most of them have been grouped together based on the week of the Advent Guide that they might best reinforce or complement. Really, they can be done at any time. This list may seem overwhelming. They are just suggestions. Remember, they are only suggestions. Pick the ones that will work best for your family.
Make a promise to your child(ren) but do not keep it immediately. Use their waiting as a reminder that many waited for the promised Savior.
Over dinner, talk about promises that you have made to people and promises people have made to you. Talk about the promises God has made to His children and why we can trust Him.
Fulfill the promise that you made during week 1 and talk about God’s faithfulness to keep His promise and send a Savior.
Decorate your Christmas tree with lights. Talk about how Jesus is the light that God promised in Isaiah 9:2. Turn off all the lights. Talk about how it must have felt to wait for the promised Savior. Turn the Christmas lights on and thank God for Jesus who is the Light of the world (John 1:5).
Act out the Christmas narrative.
1st night: Read and act out Luke 2:1-7
2nd night: Read and act out Luke 2:8-20
3rd night: Read and act out Matthew 2:1-12
Visit your local fire station and meet the men and women who help save people from danger. Afterward, talk about how God delivers and saves His children from His wrath.
Play hide and seek and talk about how Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Spend time in prayer thanking God for sending Jesus.
Bake cookies together. As you wait, talk about what it means to wait for Jesus’ return. What does it look like to wait with eagerness and diligence?
Give your child(ren) the task of cleaning their room. Before you do, read John 14:1-3 together. What do you think the rooms being prepared by Jesus will be like?
Art time! Together, read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and draw what you think it will look like when Jesus comes back.
Over dinner talk about the best day you have ever had. What made it so great? Talk about a better day and the day that Jesus will return. Talk about why this day is the best day for believers. How does the Bible tell us to prepare for that day?
As you prepare to travel for the holidays, talk about how you are diligently preparing for your Christmas vacation with your family. Talk about how we can diligently prepare for Christ’s coming.
Go on a grocery store scavenger hunt for all the ingredients for dinner. Give each child a list of things to look for in the store. As you prepare dinner together, talk about the fact that many people throughout your community and the world will go without food that day. How can we love and care for them while we await Jesus’ return?
Make place mats for your Christmas meals. On one side, write or draw something that reminds you of God’s faithfulness to His promise of sending a Savior. On the other side, write or draw something that reminds you of God’s promise that Jesus will return.
Read the Christmas narrative over the next three weeks and set up the nativity scene as you read through the story of Jesus being born.
Week 1: Set up the manger with Jesus, the animals, Mary and Joseph (Read Luke 2:1-7).
Week 2: Add the shepherds and angels to the nativity scene (Read Luke 2:8-20).
Week 3: Remove the manger and animals. Add the Magi to the scene (Read Matthew 2:1-12).
Make ornaments and put an attribute of God on each ornament. Hang the ornaments on your Christmas tree so that your tree can remind you and others of who God is.
Make a paper chain counting down the days until Christmas. As you cut a piece of the chain off each day and your excitement grows, talk about how excited we should be in thinking about the day Jesus comes back.
Look for opportunities to serve as a family during the season of Advent. Here are a few ideas:
Prepare a meal and take it to a friend or neighbor in need.
Adopt an angel from a giving tree and shop together for their Christmas gifts.
Create homemade Christmas cards and take them with you as you visit a nearby nursing home.
Serve a meal together at a homeless assistance center or shelter.
Send a care package to a missionary (Contact your Missions pastor for specific opportunities.) Buy a gift for a family in a foreign country using the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog.
Some content adapted from Advent Guide 2009 The Village Church, TX