Advent Family Worship: First Sunday
Last year I started writing an advent devotional for our family worship. I had a couple people ask me about it for this year. No I have not finished the book – it is close but not complete, plus I have some things to correct. I will post an advent devotional for each Sunday of the Advent season and for the days in between as well (the days I ahve finished anyway…) I encourage you all to create your own devotions for family worship at your home.
Please note that the devotional questions are aimed at a young child of 6 or 7 years old, but we can all get something out of God’s word and family worship!
Advent Day 1: Sunday Dec 2, 2012
Q. These verses are called “prophecy.” Do you know what a prophecy is?
A prophecy is when God speaks to his people about what he is going to do. What we read here is called prophecy because God is telling us that he is going to do something to make things right between mankind and Himself once again. We read that the people were walking in darkness.
Q. Why were they walking in Darkness?
The world was in darkness because we had sinned against God. God was angry with us for living in the darkness. But even though God was angry with us, God loved us and wanted us to be with Him in the light again. He sent his prophets, like Isaiah, to tell us that soon he would send us a light to shine the darkness.
Q. What is that light?
That light is the light of hope of a saviour. (if you are using an advent wreath light the first candle now) God told the prophets that he would send a saviour to make us right with Him and take us out of the darkness. This candle light represents the light of the hope that we have in our saviour.
Q. Do you know who the saviour is?
Jesus is the saviour! Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is our hope and He is the only way out of the darkness. Jesus also shows us the way to live a life of thankfulness in the light.
There are lots of lights around us at Christmas time. They are on houses and on trees, on stores and in windows. They are in all sorts of colours, red, green, blue, yellow. Some are shaped like icicles, and bells, others are shaped like snowflakes. And (like this candle,) they are all very pretty, but they are not what Christmas is really about. When we look at these lights we should be reminded that Jesus is the real light of the world. Christmas is really about the hope that we have in Jesus.
Families with older kids include this:
Isaiah looked forward to the messiah, the saviour – Jesus, Israel’s Comfort. Her hard service was ended and her sins were pardoned, because God punished their sins in the messiah. On the cross, Jesus bore the sins of his people. This is our comfort: that through Jesus’ death on the cross, we have pardon for our sins.
The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer is “that I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.” Jesus is the light of the world and he is our only comfort.
The comfort we read in Isaiah 40 is much more than God giving us a hug or telling us it will be ok. It is the comfort that when we believe in Jesus, his perfect obedience is credited to to us, and all our sins are forgiven because Christ has fully paid for all our sins – not just some – but all!
Hymn 15 “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People.”
(The notation and lyrics are below and a video with the tune is at the end – This video has a very slow tempo but gives you the tune, feel free to find one with a faster tempo if that is your preference. If you have very young children you may find you can only sing one stanza…don’t worry about that.)
2. For the herald’s voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
calling all men to repentance,
since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning voice obey!
Now prepare for God a way.
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
and the hills bow down to greet him.
3. Then make straight what long was crooked;
make the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
now on earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that his word is never broken.
Involve the entire family in prayer. Today, ask each person for a prayer request. This could be something to praise God for, or a supplication on someone’s behalf, or something they are thankful for etc. Include these requests in your prayer.
Ideas to add to your prayer:
- Praise God for his justice and mercy and for promising to send his Son to be a light in the darkness;
- Confess that we are sinful and ask God for the forgiveness of sins, the sins that led to living in darkness;
- Thank God for loving us so much even though we were living in darkness.
- Ask God to shine the light of the hope of Jesus in the lives of those still living in darkness;
- Ask God to strengthen our faith and help us shine His love and light to the people around us