December 1st  – Hope enters the scene

Genesis 12:1-3: Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

*As a part of these devotionals, I want to watch the God’s plan unveiled to His people. As we look at it this way, the building suspense leading up to the birth of Christ helps to enforce the narrative the prophets tell as well as remind us how Jesus would have been viewed by the Israelites leading up to his Birth. We are able to watch the prophecy set up the coming king, instead of reinforcing His rule we have come to know.*

We start in the beginning, a paradise of toil-less beauty. The world is at peace and humanity prospers in the midst of creation. As humanity falls in the temptation and pluck our innocence from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; we watch in horror as humanity is removed from paradise into a struggling, toilsome life, filled with hardship and difficulties. In this life, we watch as humanity dives head first into sin. We watch as sins increase with intensity from murdering a brother with Cain to Lamech who kills someone for hurting him (Gen 4). Evil escalates until God puts a limit on what evil can do. He limits humanity in their longevity, as well as using a man, blameless among the people of his time, as a basis to lead humanity on the path of righteousness (Gen 5). However, we see humanity continue in their pursuit of sin, to the extent of building a tower of human pride stretching to the heavens (Gen 11:1-9).

In the midst of this, we see the records of the dead: those who have lived and live no longer (Gen 5, Gen 11:10-26). There is a distinct lack of hope here. Humanity seems bent to its own destruction, no matter how God intervenes.

Out of the hopelessness, we witness as God call Abraham, in the middle of nowhere. He calls him out to leave his home and go out into a new place, to become a new people with a special privileged relationship with God with a new purpose to become a blessing to all nations. This is our first glimmer of hope. We hear the words from God in Genesis 12:3,”… all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” We can have hope to be blessed by God, despite the evils we see around us. These words resonate with us and our eyes look up. We await expectantly clinging to that hope in anticipation of what is to come.

During this month, let us focus on this hope. Our hope that God will fulfill His promise through Abraham’s descendants as we discover more of God’s plan for humanity. We contagiously await as the vision of humanity’s future is unveiled.

 

Prayer:

“God, Lord of all creation,

I long for your blessing to be made complete, I see the evil around us and struggle to avoid it. You tell us that hope is coming through Abram; there will be a blessing for everyone. I can’t wait.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

 

Christmas Carol of the Day:

Oh Come all Ye Faithful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIj6wtHN21s

Family Activity:

Create a Christmas Paper Chain.

Build a paper chain of 25 links, One ring per day until Christmas. To make a paper chain, cut strips of paper about 1 inch in heigth, and using some type of adhesive (glue, glue sticks, stapler, etc) connect the ends of the strips together.  I recommend using bright colors to accentuate the chain, making it more desirable. Use this as a countdown until Christmas. On each chain write a verse on it to read each day. Use the guideline below to start each day by reading a verse together. 

  1. Luke 1:26 – 27
  2. Luke 1:30
  3. Luke 1:31
  4. Luke 1:32
  5. Luke 1:38
  6. Luke 2:1
  7. Luke 2:3
  8. Luke 2:4-5
  9. Luke 2:6
  10. Luke 2:7
  11. Luke 2:8
  12. Luke 2:9
  13. Luke 2:10
  14. Luke 2:11
  15. Luke 2:12
  16. Luke 2:14
  17. Luke 2:16
  18. Psalm 95:6-7
  19. Matthew 2:1
  20. Matthew 2:2
  21. Matthew 2:11
  22. John 3:16
  23. 2 Corinthians 9:15
  24. Luke 2:19
  25. “Merry Christmas!”

While you wait between days, keep it somewhere prominent. If you have a Christmas Tree up, wrap it around the tree. Keep it as a visual reminder, so that it becomes more intentional when you break off a link each day

Use the time while crafting the chain to talk about the importance of patience and what it feels like to wait for something you really want.

 

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