Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family Devotion and Activity :: Fourth Week of Advent :: Love

Light the candles of Hope, Light and Joy. Now light the fourth Advent candle, the candle of Love.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

(John 3:16 NLT)

As we pause today in heart-preparation for this season, we once again look at another characteristic of God - Love. God is love. It’s not a feeling that He has, it is something that He is. This love prompted Him to give of Himself on our behalf. Just as love prompted action from God, so love prompts action from us. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can offer to others this season is the very gift of ourselves. The gift of attentively listening to another. The gift of inquiring with wonder and care into the life and soul of the person presently present before us. Love is expressed when we are able to resist the urge to interrupt, dismiss and overlook another. Love is alive when we slow down enough to notice the promptings of God and the disposition of others.

Only as we accept the God who is love into our life, are we able to truly love with the kind of love that is depicted through the words of Scripture. Advent is a time for kindness, thinking of others and sharing with others. It is a time to love as God loved us. As God loved by giving of Himself, so do we. As God is love, so let us be love.

Teach us to love, O Lord. May we always remember to put you first as we follow Christ's footsteps, that we may know your love and show it in our lives. As we prepare for our celebration of Jesus' birth, also fill our hearts with love for the world, that all may know Your love and the One whom You have sent, Your Son, our Savior. Amen.

Family Activity: Decorate a box and put the names of each member of the family in it. Each day each family member draws a name. Don’t tell anyone who’s name you have and then try to show that person your love by doing secret, helpful things for that person.

Individual Activity: Pick one person this week to to show the love of Christ to by doing an act of kindness, etc.

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day

Light all four candles representing the Hope, Light, Joy and Love we have in Christ. (1) As we light the first candle we are reminded of the Hope we have in Christ. “God, I thank You for Hope in a world that is full of confusion and despair.” (2) The second candle reminds us that God sent His Son to be a Light in the midst of darkness and sin. “God, we thank You for providing a Light. Help us to daily walk in Your ways. (3) The third candle represents Joy. Light in the midst of darkness, freedom from the power of sin and the present nearness of Christ is a great source of Joy. “God, may we continue to experience the endless Joy found in the Presence of Christ.” (4) The fourth candle represents God’s great Love. “God, thank You for loving us, even when we weren’t interested in following You or Your ways. Help us to also show love to others, even those who don’t seem to deserve it.” Finally, light the fifth candle that represents Christ Himself. With the light provided by these candles alone, read the Nativity narratives from the Bible (Luke 1:68-79 and Luke 2:1-20). After you finish reading through the Nativity narrative, perhaps you’ll want to take a few minutes to reflect on the story and spend a few moments praying together.

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