Monday, December 19, 2011

Family Devotion for Christmas

Here’s a family Christmas devotion you can use at home or in your church services this week. Use an advent wreath (with greenery and a sprig of berries or red flowers or ribbon, if possible). Place four candles around the wreath with a fifth white candle in the middle (or place the candles as your wreath allows). If you use purple and pink candles, the pink one represents joy. Adjust the speaking part below depending on your wreath. Copy this devotion so each participant has a copy. (Do not leave lit candles unattended.)

This devotion is taken from A Church Family Christmas Celebration (Item #3031) © Christian Ed Warehouse, Reprinted with permission.

During this time before Christmas we are preparing for the arrival of God’s Son, Jesus. Because God loves us, He chose His Son to be born on earth.

The candlelight wreath is round. The circle reminds us of God. God has no beginning and no end; He is eternal. The evergreen part of the wreath stands for life and hope. Jesus is the hope of the world. Red berries or flowers remind us that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood so that our sins could be forgiven. The white candle(s) reminds us that Jesus has forgiven (or cleansed) us of our sins so that we may have eternal life.

(To be read by an adult or older child)
Luke 2:11-13, 21; John 1:9, 12 — “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger . . . . And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb . . . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world . . . . As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

Candle Lighting:           
Gather around the candlelight wreath. Have one person light the first candle as another says: The first candle we light is the Promise candle. God promised to send His Son, Jesus, and that promise came true.

Have another person light the second candle while someone else says: The second candle is the Bethlehem candle. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was born in a stable at Bethlehem. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace.

Have someone light the third candle, while another says: The third candle is the Angels candle. The joy and praise of the angels should be our joy, too, during this Christmas season and all year long.
Have another person light the fourth candle while someone says: The fourth candle is the Shepherds candle. Just as the shepherds told others about Jesus, we, too, should share the Good News of Jesus’ birth with others.

Have someone light the fifth candle while someone says: Today we light the final candle, which represents Jesus. This candle reminds us that Jesus Christ is God's Son, the Light of the world. We celebrate the arrival of the long-awaited King, born as a Baby in Bethlehem.

Song:     Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
              The little Lord Jesus laid down
              His sweet head.
              The stars in the sky looked down
              Where he lay.
              The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

Reading:         (To be read by a leader, child, and adult or older child.)

The candle in the center of the wreath represents Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Even before He was born, the angel told Mary the Baby's name. When the days were accomplished, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem.

Child:            They presented Jesus to the Lord.

We thank God for His wonderful Christmas gift to us. We thank Him that Jesus Christ came to be the Light of the world. We can spread the light of His love to everyone we meet.

Song:   Silent night, holy night, all is calm,
             All is bright.
             Round yon virgin, mother and child.
             Holy infant so tender and mild,
             Sleep in heavenly peace.
             Sleep in heavenly peace.

Ask family members to share their thoughts and feelings about what the birth of Jesus means to them personally. Talk about Christ, who is God's Son, having to be born into our world of sin. Talk about His love for each of us.

(To be read or spoken from the heart by one or two family members)
Dear God, We thank You for Jesus, the Savior of the world, who was born as a Baby in Bethlehem. Thank You that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that You raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). Help us to spread the Light of Christ’s love wherever we go during this Christmas season. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

(Have a family member extinguish the candles. Never leave lighted candles unattended.)
For more Christmas devotion and outreach ideas, take a look at the Church Family Christmas Celebration program. Everything you need to easily plan and organize a community-wide Christmas celebration. Includes CD-ROM with lots of reproducible coloring sheets, invitations, bulletin inserts, planning sheets, recruiting ideas, thank-you notes, and lots more.

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