Devotional: Day 1
A Preface to This Adventure
What Is Advent? Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival or coming. The Hebrews looked forward to the coming of a Savior or Messiah—the First Advent. Now, we are waiting expectantly for His return to sweep His bride off of our feet—the Second Advent. The Church has been waiting for Him to come back from the moment He left the first time.
Why Should I Participate in Advent?
So, what does Advent have to do with celebrating the arrival of Jesus? Traditionally, Advent counts down the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Practically, Advent reminds us to look forward to His return every day. This season is about resetting Jesus Christ at the center of our lives. After all, when He comes to take us home forever, we want to be ready. Expect to be inspired, challenged, refocused, broken, motivated, unified, encouraged, and most of all, expectant.
How Do I Use This Reading Plan?
Each day provides daily reflection questions and often a suggested activity to help you center that day on Jesus. You can go in order or you can skip around and pick a day that you feel would be the most beneficial. You can go through the plan as an individual, but think of ways to do them in groups or as a family. Some activities will be things that you may already do during the Christmas season, but will suggest a Christ-centered way to think about it. Other activities will be things that you have never done before, so be open-minded and willing to try something new. Each day will include Exposure, Exploration, Expression, and Experience. You may find that you want to read the Additional Content each day before the scripture to guide what you’re looking for.
Exposure: Read the account of two people who waited every day in the Temple for Jesus' arrival. To add a traditional element, look up information about Advent wreaths and set up something like it in your home to use during this time. Yours can be as simple as four candles arranged in a circle.
Exploration: Discuss or journal about these two people who were blessed by seeing God's Savior with their own eyes. How can your life reflect this kind of anticipation?
Expression: Think about how you anticipate Christmas. How much of this feeling of excitement is centered on the arrival of Christ?
Experience: Before you dive into this 25-day journey, spend some time in prayer. Ask God to open your eyes so your vision of Jesus becomes clearer than it has ever been. Ask God to make you more aware of what it means to live your life with the expectation of the Advent of Jesus. Even on a personal level, when Jesus comes, life truly is an ADVENTure. Let's experience it fully this Christmas season!
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel."
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
This devotional series was found here at my.bible.com and is a reading plan from lifechurch.tv created for YouVersion.