Thursday, November 24, 2011

Advent Week 1: the Light of Hope

the Light of Hope
Isaiah 40:1-11, 31; 1 Peter 4:6-11

Opening Prayer:
Almighty God, help us by your grace to live in the light of hope brought to us when your son Jesus Christ came to this earth as a baby in great humility.; So that someday, when he comes again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to eternal life; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Devotional Thought:
There is something fantastically beautiful that happens this time of year.  It is seen in the eyes of children when they see the lights of a Christmas tree for the first time.  I remember when our oldest child was only 10 months old.  While she was taking a nap one day her mother and I decorated our family Christmas tree.  After she woke, we brought her downstairs so she could see all the Christmas lights.  She literally gasped and her eyes grew so big, and with one single finger she began to touch each light she could reach; never losing her wide-eyed awe.  Each year, decorating and lighting the Christmas tree sparks beautiful moments for our family.

There is hope in light.  Hope is like a light shining in a dark place. Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and we celebrate the hope of Israel and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ by the lighting of a candle.  Be encouraged to walk in the Light of Hope this Advent Season.  We walk not in the overly simplistic hope of optimism, but rather in the Light of Hope that is found in living your life with a sense of purpose, knowing that we walk in the presence of the living God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. With that sense of purpose, we light the first candle of Advent.

We are called to not only look forward to the coming of Christ, but also “speed its coming” according to Henri Nouwen.  While God will send His Son in His time and on His terms and not ours, we must work hard by walking in the Light of Hope to quicken our Christ’s return. Clearly, our actions make a difference. Read 1 Peter 4:6-11.  In a mysterious way the new heaven and earth depend on what we do. We continue to hope in God's promise that Christ will come again, and our lives should not be passive, but active.  Thank you, God, for the Light of Hope for it will spark a difference in our everyday lives. 

Family Activity:
As you and your family prepare for the Christmas, Turn out all the lights in the room, and then light a candle or flip on a flashlight.  Then as a family and using different volumes say, “Good News, Jesus, the Light of the World is coming!”  Begin thinking and talking about someone with whom you can share the light of Hope this season. 

Child’s Prayer:
O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Light of the World, Savior to all peoples, come and dwell among us.

Songs for Worship at Home: 
Great Light of the World, by Bebo Norman
Marvelous Light, by Charlie Hall 

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