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Advent Week 2: PEACE

Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, are days of great preparation. We prepare lists of gifts to purchase, groceries to buy and parties to attend. There are lists of chores to be done from cleaning and decorating the house and yard to mailing Christmas cards and wrapping gifts. Advent—the four craziest weeks of the year! Is this what it means to prepare for Jesus’ birth? What about preparing our hearts for Christmas? How would we do that, in this crazy season?

This year’s Advent Faith Talk series is meant to give you ideas to prepare your hearts for Christmas. Each week will have four Scripture passages and a theme for the week (that matches the theme of Sunday’s service) along with activity ideas for home, church, and community.

Read this Week: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Theme for the Week: PEACE

From the end of the Old Testament until the grand announcement of Christ’s birth that begins the New Testament, God was silent. For hundreds of years God’s people did not hear from him. No prophecy. No comfort or guidance. Generations of waiting, hoping, remembering, and retelling God’s mighty deeds. Some remembered the promise of God to send a deliverer. Some celebrated Passover and prayed for the lamb who would take away the sins of the world. There was no peace for God’s people. The nations around them grew strong and their kings ruled cruelly over God’s people. How long, oh Lord? It is hard to wait! Waiting is discouraging and difficult. It is easy to think you’ve been forgotten—that the rescuer has forgotten.

But God had not forgotten. At just the right time, Jesus came.

While God’s people have peace with him through Christ, we do not yet live in peace. We confidently look forward to Christ’s second coming which will usher in the new heavens and earth. How long, O Lord?

Do Together: Look for opportunities to talk about waiting. If there are wrapped presents under your tree, use those as an illustration of waiting. Pick up a gift and talk about how carefully the gift was selected by the giver. It is a good gift! It will be so exciting to see what is inside of the gift on Christmas Day. Ask children if it is hard to wait until Christmas to open their presents? Why? Tell them God has a wonderful gift for his people! But we have to wait until he wants to give it to us. What is the gift? Read Revelation 21:1-4 and talk about it together.

Sing Together: It Came upon the Midnight Clear

Church Family Focus: Women and girls: don’t miss An Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Lott’s Barn Monday night (Dec. 11)!

Community Focus: Take an ornament from the Manger Tree just outside the Worship Center. Shop together and talk about the people that Embrace serves and how your gifts will help someone in need.

Pray Together: Pray for God’s peace to rule in your hearts! Lament the suffering and lack of peace that is all around us. How long, oh Lord? Pray that your family would be peacemakers in this world, pointing others to the Prince of Peace.