Advent 2018 December 16, 2018
Day 15

 Read James 3: 13-17 together

Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility
that comes from wisdom.
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly,
unspiritual, demonic.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition,
there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive,
full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Today, I give my wisdom to the Lord. Instead of boasting, I will seek humility. Sometimes I’ve been told that I’m too big for my britches. Perhaps it’s time for me to ask W.W.J.D.? Jesus, after all, is the epitome of wisdom. Like the wise men who visited Jesus, I want to give my gift to the King too.

Suggested activities: 
(a) Package jellybeans using the following colours: green for life, red for the blood of Christ, black for sin, and white for cleansed. Distribute them to children and explain. 
(b) Sing "The first Noel." 
(c) Who is the wisest person you know?

What Can I Give Him, Poor as I Am?**************************************

Advent 2018 December 15, 2018
Day 14

 Read 1 Corinthians 6: 19 together

 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, 
whom you have received from God? You are not your own...

Today, I give my body to the Lord. Oh, how we abuse our bodies. Sweet treats tempt us. Butter tarts and marzipan beckons. Turkey with all the trimmings entices us to have one more helping. We waste so much—too much! What do homeless people eat at Christmas?

Suggested activities: 
(a) Does your community serve a Christmas meal to the needy? If so, volunteer to help. 
(b) Go for a walk together, and talk about making it a regular habit. 
(c) Make up a breakfast basket (bagels, juice, jams, small cereal pack, etc.), and take it to a person who is recuperating after an illness or surgery.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Advent 2018 December 14, 2018
Day 13

 Read Romans 12: 3-8  together

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: 
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, 
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, 
in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 
For just as each of us has one body with many members, 
and these members do not all have the same function, 
so in Christ we, though many, form one body, 
and each member belongs to all the others. 
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. 
If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  
if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  
if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; 
if it is giving, then give generously; 
if it is to lead, do it diligently; 
if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Today, I give my talents to the Lord. If we have a gift of hospitality, we serve with gladness; if we have artistic flair, we create beauty on canvas; if we are teachers, we share the wonder of wisdom; if we, like Joseph, work deftly with our hands, we skillfully transform ordinary wood into splendid creations. Gifts can be shared year round.

Suggested activities: 

(a) Decide what talent you have, and use this talent to create a gift for a family member. (b) Make a gingerbread house using a kit or by using Graham crackers. 
(c) Write out the phrase "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," and see how many words you can make out of it.
Do You Hear What I Hear? 
Advent 2018 December 13, 2018
Day 12

Read Colossians 1:15-20  together

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, 
visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
 all things have been created through him and for him.  
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 
And he is the head of the body, the church; 
he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, 
so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, 
whether things on earth or things in heaven, 
by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Today, I give my obedience to the Lord. We can create wonderful Christmas themes, beautiful adornments for the tree, and incredible feasts, but no matter how hard we try, we cannot create something from nothing; only God is able. 
     When Christ was born, God’s supremacy was proclaimed again, and His power was evidenced in the life of Jesus. When we obey God, we are doing His will and need not fret about anything else.
Suggested activities: 
(a) Make Christmas cookies, and follow the recipe exactly. 
(b) Discuss what might have happened if you didn’t follow the recipe as written. 
(c) Sing the verses of "O Come All Ye Faithful" in pairs, and all join in for the chorus.

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Advent 2018 December 12, 2018
Day 11

 Read  Phillipians 2: 5-8 together

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself    
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
     Today, I give my attitude to the Lord. I don’t like it when someone asks me what I want for Christmas because it makes me think of me. I like getting gifts, but I get more pleasure giving to others.

Suggested activities: 
(a) Wrap up something that is very special to you, and give it to a very special person in your life. 
(b) Volunteer at a local food bank for a few hours, or more. 
(c) Write a note, or e-mail, to someone with whom you recently argued. Be kind, and have the attitude of Jesus.

The First Noel

Advent 2018 December 11, 2018
Day 10

Read  Titus 3: 4-7 together

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, 
not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. 
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 
so that, having been justified by his grace, 
we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

     Today, I give my hope to the Lord. I often wondered what the difference was between hoping and wishing. Should I hope for a new toy under the tree, or would I stand a better chance by wishing for it instead? A wish, I discovered, is a desire based on magic, whereas hope is a desire based on expectation. My hope is in Jesus.
Suggested activities: 

(a) Draw a picture of what hope means to you. 
(b) Write a letter to a friend whom you haven’t seen in a while, and mail it. 
(c) Find a Christmas carol with the word "hope" in it.

O Holy Night

Advent 2018 December 10, 2018
Day 9

Read Micah 5: 2, 4 together: 

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,    
though you are small among the clans
of Judah,out of you will come for me    
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,    
from ancient times.

He will stand and shepherd his flock    
in the strength of the Lord,    
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness    
will reach to the ends of the earth.

Today, I give my muscles to the Lord. Too often, when we think of strength, we immediately think of wrestlers with bulging muscles or champion weight lifters. True strength is exhibited in a sinless life—that of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. What an example we have in Him.

Suggested activities: 
(a) Go as a family to pick out a tree, and set it up together. 
(b) Visit an elderly person who is shut in. 
(c) Flex your spiritual muscles, and play a game of Bible Trivia.

O Tannenbaum
Advent 2018 December 9, 2018
Day 8

Read Isaiah 21: 11-12 together:

A Prophecy Against Edom
A prophecy against Dumah:
Someone calls to me from Seir,    
“Watchman, what is left of the night?    
Watchman, what is left of the night?”
The watchman replies,    
“Morning is coming, but also the night.
If you would ask, then ask;    
and come back yet again."
Today, I give my eyes to the Lord. I don’t know if I would make a good watchman. I am so easily distracted. The tinsel and the glitter of this season sometimes causes me to look away from the simple manger. I need to keep my eyes upon Jesus.
Suggested activities: 
(a) Get out the Nativity, and set it up in a prominent place. 
(b) In a darkened room, light a candle, and think about how Jesus was the Light of the World. 
(c) Play blind man’s bluff.

While Shepherds Watched their Flock by Night.
Advent 2018 December 8, 2018
Day 7

Read Isaiah 9:6-7 together:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,    
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called    
Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God,    
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace    
there will be no end.He will reign on David’s throne    
and over his kingdom,establishing and upholding it    
with justice and righteousness    
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Today, I give my energy to the Lord. It’s only the first week in December, and already people are complaining about how much they have to do. If anyone had cause to complain, it was Jesus. Look at the state of the world into which He was born. He surely is wonderful and mighty. He will accomplish everything He sets out to do.

Suggested activities: 
(a) Dress appropriately, and go for a walk as a family. 
(b) Make a pine cone Christmas decoration. 
(c) Go out after dark, and try to count the stars.
Go Tell it on the Mountain! 

Advent 2018 December 7, 2018
Day 6

Read Matthew 1:18-25 (MSG) together:

The Birth of Jesus
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:
Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).
Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.
Today, I give my ears to the Lord. It was good that Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord and obeyed God’s will. His first reaction was to quietly "get out of town" once he found out that Mary was going to have a baby. To see and hear, firsthand, an angel of the Lord standing in my bedroom. . . hmm. . . would I be scared?

Suggested activities: 
(a) Talk about how you would feel if an angel stood before you with explicit instructions from God. Listen to everyone’s comments. 
(b) Make an angel using an ice-cream cone as a base. 
(c) Listen to Christmas music and sing along.

Angels We Have Heard on High
Advent 2018 December 6, 2018
Day 5

Read Proverbs 22: 2, 4, 9 together:

Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.

...for they share their food with the poor.

Today, I give my possessions to the Lord. It’s already started. All the razz-a-ma-tazz of mass advertising. When I look at the television or at store flyers, or worse yet, when I go into the stores, I see all kinds of things that I want and think that I should get. I wonder what kind of toys Jesus played with when He was a child.
Suggested activities: 
(a) Think of last year’s Christmas presents. What did you get? What did you give? 
(b) Look up Jewish toys in an encyclopedia or on the Internet. 
(c) Bake some Christmas cookies, and take them to a needy person or to a food bank.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Advent 2018 December 5, 2018
Day 4

Read Psalm 139: 14-16 together:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Today, I give my uniqueness to the Lord. You told me that I am special and that you knew me before I was even born. That makes sense because you told Mary and Joseph about Jesus before He was born.
Suggested activities: (a) Cut out paper snowflakes, and hang them in a window. (b) Make an imprint of your thumb. Compare it with that of other family members. (c) Turn the calendar over to December, and pray that your family keep focussing on Jesus this holiday season.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing!
Advent 2018 December 4, 2018
Day 3

Read Psalm 119: 1-8 together.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,    
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,    
who seek him with their whole heart,who also do no wrong,    
but walk in his ways!You have commanded your precepts    
to be kept diligently.Oh that my ways may be steadfast    
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,    
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,    
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;    
do not utterly forsake me!

Then read Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

     Today, I give my heart to the Lord. When I lose something that is very important to me, I earnestly seek it and rejoice when it is found. Trying to fully understand how Jesus came to earth is impossible, but accepting with all my heart that He came to save my lost soul is true faith.

Suggested activities: 

(a) Play Hide and Seek. 
(b) Make and decorate heart-shaped cookies, and take some to an elderly person you know. 
(c) Cut out a paper heart, and write a note to a family member on it.
The First Noel the Angel Did Say

Advent 2018 December 3, 2018
Day 2

 Read Psalm 98:1-4 together: 

Sing to the Lord a new song,    
for he has done marvelous things;his right hand and his holy arm    
have worked salvation for him.
 The Lord has made his salvation known    
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love    
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen    
the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,    
burst into jubilant song with music;
Today, I give my voice to the Lord. I love to hear the music at Christmas time. Sometimes I am sad when people know all the words to "Frosty the Snowman" but only know the first two lines of "Joy to the World."

Suggested activities: 

(a) Plan to sing at least one verse of a Christmas carol each evening through Advent. 
(b) Call your grandparents and sing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" over the telephone. 
(c) Draw a picture of what your favourite Christmas carol "looks like."

O Come. O Come, Emmanuel!

Advent 2018 December 2, 2018
Day 1

I was almost 30 when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. A fire was ignited in my heart, and I tried desperately to let Jesus be a part of every aspect of my life.
As I became more and more involved with church-related activities, I felt myself being captivated by the children and their innate abilities to love unconditionally. I adored the drama program in particular and quickly became involved in various children’s ministries. God used the children to teach me so much. I still am amazed at how much I grow spiritually in the company of children.
One Christmas, I had been asked to help out with a delightful children’s musical and drama program. I jumped at the opportunity. Although I cannot recall the title of the play, I do recall Tim, the little boy who sang his heart out to Jesus.

Tim is now a Vice Principal in a school in Guelph. Boy time flies

"What gift can I bring?" little Timmy sang. "I have nothing here but me,  then I’ll give myself to you, O precious little king." he announced to all. I wept, not in sorrow, but in joy—astounded at the emotion of the young lad who proffered those words to the King of Kings. Although mere words on a page of a children’s musical, I knew that would be the perfect gift—to give myself to the King!

"I Give Myself to You. . . O Precious Little King"

What does it mean to give oneself to Christ? What are some realistic ways that we might give to the King of Kings during this Advent season? 

I invite you and your family to experience the anticipation of the season as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ.

The First Sunday in Advent:
Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 together: 

"And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

Today, I give my hands to God. I think about the soft skin of a baby and the rough calloused hands of a carpenter; then I think about the nail-pierced hands of our Saviour.
 Suggested activities:
(a) Play "pat-a-cake" with a child. It doesn’t matter what age. 
(b) Sand a piece of wood by hand, and write your favourite Bible verse on it. 
(c) Hold hands as you pray.

Dear God. 

Thank you for my hands. Teach me how to always use my hands to serve & to pray. If I feel tempted to do something bad with my hands, please make me think how sad that would make you. And then help me make good choices. Amen. 

Now I am clapping my hands for you, Lord! 

Have a beautiful day!