Bringing Christ into Christmas gets increasingly more difficult each year. As our schedules fill up with choir concerts, parties and other worthwhile festivities, our best intentions often get relegated to afterthoughts. When my kids were small, a short scripture from Luke 2, hidden behind an advent door and accompanied by a piece of chocolate, seemed sufficient, but now that everyone is getting older, I really want them, especially at this time of year, to get to know Christ. I want them to follow his example and take the time to figure out how they can be more like him. Heaven know we can all use a little more peace, forgiveness and love in this world, and Christmas is the perfect time to start.
To make this more than just a pipe dream during a crazy time of year, I created a New Testament advent where we do more than just read a scripture. We read, ask questions and then apply what we have learned to our daily life, starting meaningful family discussions and challenging ourselves to be more like Christ. You can make the advent simple by pulling it up on your phone in the car on the way home from a Christmas party or right before bed, or you can make it more elaborate with a real advent, printed strips of paper, and visuals to accompany each night. Either way, it is a simply wonderful way to put Christ back into Christmas.
(These scripture references are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.)
Dec. 1: Luke 1:26-31: Why do you think the angel said Mary had found favor with God? What kind of life do you think Mary had lived up to this point to be chosen as the mother of Jesus? What is one thing you could do today to put your life more in harmony with God’s will?
Dec. 2: Luke 1:31-33: In Hebrew, Jesus means “God Saves.” Why is that name appropriate for Jesus? How has he saved you? How do you think Mary felt when she was told she would be the mother of Jesus? How would it change you if you thought Jesus would be coming to your family?
Dec. 3: Luke 1:34-38: Did Mary question? What did she ask the angel? Did Mary doubt? What is the difference between sincere questioning and doubting God? When was a time when you had a sincere question answered by God?
Dec. 4: Matthew 1:18-25: What were some of the qualities Joseph exhibited that made him a wonderful choice for the earthly father of Jesus? Which of these qualities could you add to your life in more abundance?
Dec. 5: Luke 1:6-7. 11-24, 36-37, 59-64: What was the miracle that happened for Elizabeth and Zacharias? When have you seen God do the impossible in your life?
Dec. 6: Luke 1:39-44: Why do you think Elisabeth’s baby lept in her womb? How did Elisabeth know Mary was carrying the baby Jesus? How can you know about spiritual things you have not seen? Have you had an experience where faith has given you a testimony of something that seemed difficult to understand?
Dec. 7: Luke 1:57-64: What did Elisabeth and Zacharias name their baby? Why? Why did others question their name choice (they thought he would be named after his father)? Have you ever done something that others thought was strange because you were following God? When and why?
Dec. 8: Luke 2:1-5: Why did Mary and Joseph have to leave on a journey? It was over 90 miles to Bethlehem, in cold weather. Mary was nine months pregnant on the back of a donkey. Why couldn’t God have made it easier for them? What is the most difficult thing you have had to go through? Did you ever want God to make it easier for you? What did you learn from your experience? How has it changed you?
Dec. 9: Luke 2:7: Why was there no room for Mary and Joseph? How would you feel if you had turned them away that night? Do you ever turn Jesus away in your life? How? What can you do to be more open to letting him in? Can you imagine being there that night? What do you think that lowly stable would have felt like after the birth of the Savior? When you try to picture that sacred night, what do you see?
Dec. 10: Luke 2: 8-9: Where were the shepherds when they heard of Jesus’s birth? How do you think they felt when they saw an angel? Why? Do you ever fear direction from the Lord? Why or why not?
Dec. 11: Luke 2:10-12: What message did the angel give the shepherds? Why did the angel not appear to someone more prominent than the shepherds? The angel said he was bringing great joy. How has Christ brought joy to your life? How can you share that joy with others?
Dec. 12: Luke 2:13-14: Who else came with the angel to the shepherds? What were they doing? Do you use music to worship Jesus Christ? How can you be better about using music to worship him?
Dec. 13: Luke 2:15-18: Once the shepherds knew about Jesus, what did they do? After they had seen the babe, how did they act? You know how to be close to Jesus, do you do it with haste or do you put it off? Do you share your testimony of the Son of God in word and action? How can you be more like the shepherds?
Dec. 14: Luke 2:19: What did Mary do after the exciting night of Christ’s birth? How can we learn from her example? Do you give yourself time to ponder the word of the Lord? Why is it important to take time to think about spiritual things? What could you change in your life so you can be more like Mary?
Dec. 15: Matthew 2:1-3: What did the wise men from the East ask Herod? Why did their question trouble the king? Do you ever feel troubled or threatened when someone is better than you? How do you stop feelings of jealousy?
Dec. 16: Matthew 2:7-8: Who did the king send to find the young child, Jesus? Why did he say he wanted to find Jesus? What were his real intentions? Has anyone ever tried to deceive you? How can you judge between truth and lies?
Dec. 17: Matthew 2:9-10: What guide were the wise men given so they could find Jesus? Why was a star provided? What kind of guides has God placed in your life to bring you closer to him? Do you use them?
Dec. 18: Matthew 2:11: When the wise men came into the home of Jesus, what did they do before giving him gifts? How often do you take the opportunity to do the same? What is your favorite way to worship? How can you be better about truly worshipping Christ?
Dec. 19: Matthew 2:11: What did the wise men give to Jesus? Why did they give such a small boy such large and expensive gifts? What gifts can you give to Jesus? What are you willing to give him today to show your love for him?
Dec. 20: Matthew 2:12: By who and how were the wise men warned not to return back to Herod? Did they obey the warning or question it? Have you ever been warned about a bad situation? What did you do? Were you like the wise men?
Dec. 21: Matthew 2:13-15: Why did Joseph have to take his family and go to Egypt? Did he argue or wait? When God gives you a commandment, how quickly do you obey? When was a time you chose to do God’s will right away? How did that decision bless your life?
Dec. 22: Matthew 2:16: What terrible thing did King Herod do after he found out the wise men went home without coming back to him? What makes some people do horrible things? How can we find peace when bad things happen to good people? What can we do to be influences for good and stand up for those who cannot protect themselves?
Dec. 23: Matthew 2:23: Where did Joseph and Mary go after they left Egypt? Why? (To fulfill the prophecy). How can we learn more about God’s plans for us? How can we help God fulfill his plans?
Dec. 24: Isaiah 9:6: What are some of the names for Jesus Christ taught to us by an Old Testament prophet? Which name for Jesus do you love most? Why?
Dec. 25: John 20:11-16: Jesus was not only born for us, but he lived, died and was resurrected for us so we can have joy in this life and life with him again. In these few short scriptures, we can see how much he loves each one of us. He knows our names, our pains and our burdens. When was the time you felt closest to your Savior? When did you feel like he was reaching out to you or holding you in his loving arms?
If your family tries this advent this year, I would love to know how it works for you! Tell me in the comments, on facebook or Instagram!