Advent Guide

*Note this is the Advent Guide that is used at Community Gospel but can be modified to fit you individually/your church congregation.

gospel_centered_advent_guide

Preparing for the Christ’s Special Day this Advent guide is for individuals and families to use at least three times each week to prepare for the upcoming Sundays and Christmas Day.

Read the Scripture, discuss the question, and pray with thanksgiving!

Sunday, December 3: Light “the candle of expectation/prophecy” this day, and all week.

One day this week:

  • Read: 2 Samuel 7:11 -16
  • Question: Does God know what is going to happen, then tell what is coming; or does He sovereignly cause what He says is going to happen?
  • Pray: With gratitude for God’s magnificent Lordship over all creation and history, even if we cannot understand that!

Second day this week:

  • Read: Philippians 2:1-11, describing this as one of Paul’s great descriptions of the coming of the eternal Son of God to earth as a servant.
  • Question: How huge is this whole plan of the coming of the Son in God’s eyes? How should the theme of the Messiah that fills Old and New Testaments change the way we think about Christmas? (Obviously, always word your questions so little kids can understand if they are present).
  • Pray: For our unity in the church. Pray that all of us, because of Christ and Christmas, will obey Philippians 2:3 and 4 in the way we think about others. Pray also for those coming to the service this Sunday, for unity and shepherding and our desire to follow Jesus Christ as one.

Third day this week:

  • Read: Colossians 1:15-20, another great theology about who this Son is.
  • Question: What can verse 11 mean for us on a daily basis in terms of trust and peace? He holds everything together!
  • Pray: Pure worship. Try praying P-R-A-Y (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield), where individuals simply say a sentence of praise, then there is quiet repentance or confession, and then the leader urges people to ask God for something (and someone else backs it up with agreement), and then the leader yields for all of you to one of the verses or concepts for this day. Pray again for wisdom for our church leaders and Pastor Jordan as they continue to serve our church.

Sunday, December 10: Light “Love/The Candle of Bethlehem” this day, and both that candle and the first one all week at dinner.

One day this week:

  • Read: Micah 5:1-5, the prophecy that even tells where Jesus will be born.
  • Question: Bremen and the surrounding area is not so big—what would it be like if even just the President of the United States were born in Bremen or the surrounding areas? What would it be like if someone prophesied that the baby down the street who was just born is going to be the President? That’s what this amazing story was like.
  • Pray: While we’re thinking of the prophecy of Bethlehem, pray for our strengthened concern for outreach in Bremen and the surrounding areas. Pray for our congregation and the people serving to make Christ known near and far.

Second day this week:

  • Read: Isaiah 40:1-8, another prophecy about Jesus and also His cousin, John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Him.
  • Question: Do we understand that some things about the coming of Jesus won’t be fulfilled until He returns—see Isaiah 40:5? Do we live with sure hope about His fulfilling all prophecies someday, even peace over the whole world? How should that show in our lives?
  • Pray: For our own church to show the peace we have with Christ by the way we are peaceful and loving to each other.

Third day this week:

  • Read: Isaiah 9:1-7 – Maybe read it twice!
  • Question: Which phrases describing the Christ-child and Person make you think most of what He has done for you? The phrases are in the last half of verse 6.
  • Pray: Take time to thank Him for His counsel of truth in the Scriptures, that He is fully God who is Lord of the universe, that the Son is everlasting and worthy of our worship and love, and that He can give us peace now and bring it to the world someday.

Sunday, December 17: Light “The candle of Joy” this day, and all week. So each day you are lighting three candles now.

One day this week:

  • Read: Mark 4:35-41 in celebration of the power of Jesus Christ and reminder of the kind of attributes and abilities Isaiah said He would have in 9:1-7.
  • Question: Who made the wind stop and the waves get smooth? Could it be that because Jesus said, “Be still!” that they were still? Because He says it, it is so. So ask yourselves the question, do we always have to feel that we are forgiven and at peace with God if we believe in Jesus, or is it true because He says it?
  • Pray: Give thanks for our church and consider the need to pray for the church every day as a family or as an individual. Pray also with thanksgiving for the peace with God that we have when we trust Jesus Christ, and also the daily peace that comes when we ask for His shepherding and wisdom.

Second day this week:

  • Read: Matthew 4:12-22, and see how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that Isaiah gave at the start of Isaiah 9. He went to the darkest place to start shining.
  • Question: How can you as a family shine the light of Christ in your neighborhood? Or how can you as an individual?
  • Pray: For the peace of God to so fill our church and our personal lives that this Community Gospel family would be a light in the community in a very strong way. Pray for our young people away at college and in high schools and grade schools, that they will show the light of life. That they know Jesus Christ as Lord.

Third day this week:

  • Read: Luke 4:14-30, a longer passage that is amazing. Jesus stands up and reads from a scroll of the Old Testament, reading Isaiah 61, the first several verses. Then He says with great drama, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” We’re sure we could have heard a pin drop!
  • Question: In what sense can we now experience good news, freedom from the prison of guilt and bondage to sin, sight to see the purpose of life, relief from oppression of worry and sinfulness? In what sense can we proclaim that this too is the year of the Lord’s favor when He can give His grace to others?
  • Pray: That our church would continue to do the ministries that Jesus described here—both around the world but also right at home here. Since we are the body of Christ, we must do what He would do, obeying His Great Command to love and His Great Commission for the world.

Sunday, December 24: Light “the candle of Peace” this day, and all week. So that means that until Christmas day you light four candles, starting with the first candle, etc. etc.

One day this week:

  • Read: Isaiah 9:1-7.
  • Question: See who can explain the significance of the phrase that Isaiah uses: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given”? The importance is too huge to miss—the child is born from scratch, truly a child of Mary and of the declaration by God. But He is also the Son who is given because He already was—given from Heaven to now live as a human being, fully God and fully man.
  • Pray: For opportunities to share the meaning of Christmas and one of the great titles of Jesus this week… For courage and love enough to share with someone you love why you are grateful you are a Christian… For nerve to admit if you’re not sure of eternal life through the righteousness and judgment that Jesus Christ gives to us and took for us. Pray again for our church and the New Year as Pastor Jordan rolls out the truths in the Gospel of Mark.

Second day this week:

  • Read: Matthew 1:18-25. Comment on anything that was first forecast or predicted in our Isaiah verses in the last few weeks.
  • Question: Try to imagine the feelings of Mary when she got the news that she would become the mother of the Christ-child. How do you think you would have handled it? How can we in our daily lives show the same humility and obedience that were her response?
  • Pray: For our Christmas Eve service.

Third day this week:

  • Read: Luke 1:26-38, one of the two or three most traditional readings read at Christmas, and a beautiful story of the angel speaking to Mary.
  • Question: When do you wish an angel would say to you, “Do not be afraid”? How would you explain to someone else how Jesus is born of Mary but no earthly father and a gift from God?
  • Pray: Thanksgiving for this gorgeous truth about the coming of Jesus the Christ, to be our Messiah and Savior, and to live a life as fully God and fully man. He conquered sin by never giving in to it, and then takes the penalty on the cross to bear our sins, and rises from the dead because He is not only a man who can die but also God who can rise!

Fourth day this week:

  • Read: Romans 3:21-26—admittedly not thought of as a Christmas passage, but the great paragraph describing the gift of righteousness to those who believe in Jesus Christ. See if you can note how the Son makes atonement for our sins toward the Father; and how the Father justifies those who believe or declares them righteous; and how Christ redeems those who believe and frees us from the guilt and penalty of sin. See if you can find the four times either the word “faith” or “believe” is used.
  • Question: Would it be correct to say that the main purpose of Christmas or of the incarnation of Jesus Christ is the salvation of the world? Relate your answer to the way we celebrate and the way we show our light as a church and as individuals.
  • Pray: With thanksgiving for Jesus Christ. Express your love. Use P-R-A-Y but make the praise part the strong part, with people giving just short words of praise for the great Christmas gift, that “the Word was made flesh.”

Monday, December 25: Light “the candle of Christ” this day (or on Christmas Eve) and sing a song of Christmas and quote His words, “I am the light of the world.” Happy Christmas and coming New Year, with the constant prayer that together as a church and individually we would live with the joy of Jesus Christ and the mission that He gives to His people, His family, His body, the church. And our expression of that is at Community Gospel, with gratitude.

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