MEADOWBROOK BAPTIST CHURCH

Meadowbrook Advent 2017


What is the Advent Season?

The four Sundays leading up to Christmas are what we call the Season of Advent. It is a time set apart in the Church calendar where we are encouraged to focus on the amazing gift of Jesus’ birth and the fact that we are promised that He will come back again.  The term “advent” is a Latin word that simply means “coming.”


Here at Meadowbrook, we participate in Advent because we want to experience Emmanuel (or “God with us”) during a season when it’s easy to become busy and overwhelmed and lose sight of what’s truly important. By reading the weekly Advent Reflection and participating in a suggested activity together, we hope you and your family find joy and peace in the familiar Christmas story that is in danger of getting lost in your busyness.


These short Advent Reflections will also give you and your family a chance to talk about the gifts Jesus brought to us through His birth as a baby over 2000 years ago. God’s pure love for us is revealed in the timeless and powerful story of Christmas.


We will be reflecting on the gifts of love, hope, joy and peace that Jesus brings us throughout the year, but especially during the Christmas season.  Our prayer is that you experience the gifts of Jesus more richly this holiday season.

WEEK 2 (DECEMBER 10): THE GIFT OF HOPE by Sharon Blanchard

Mom was running around town, dragging her three children with her, as she ran errands on a Saturday afternoon before Christmas. There were so many things to accomplish – her list seemed to grow longer each day no matter how any items she marked off. Frazzled, they entered the last stop – a department store where she could pick up a few groceries as well as a few other items.


The children begged to go by the toy aisle – and after a chorus or two of “PLEASE??” – she consented. “We can only stay about 10 minutes and I am setting my timer.”


She watched as her three kids ooooohed and aaaaaahed over everything they saw. Each would pick up and review several options before proclaiming individual preferences. She was taking mental notes for future reference.


As they were leaving the store, one of her boys commented, “I sure HOPE I get that Nerf gun for Christmas.” Mom felt an urging to correct her son and she replied, “I think what you mean to say is that your WISH is that you will get that Nerf gun. Son, our HOPE is not in things of this world – our HOPE is in Christ Jesus.”


The word “hope” in scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Hope stresses two things: something that will happen in the future and something that you cannot see. (Romans 8:24-25)


The Jews had been waiting and waiting for a Messiah and they trusted that God would send one. The Jews expected that this Messiah would conquer the world and restore the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, to be the most powerful and highly respected. What they didn’t understand was that the Messiah that God was sending, in the form of a baby, would set free all who trusted and believed in God. All people and all nations will be able to stand in God’s favor if they trust, believe, and follow Jesus Christ.


Our HOPE begins when we believe, confess, and decide to follow Christ. From that point on, as we grow in our faith, our HOPE becomes stronger and stronger. As we follow Christ in our journey of faith, our HOPE:


  1. Affects the way we think and behave – 1 John 3:1-3
  2. Gives us joy and peace – Romans 15:13
  3. Gives us protection – Psalm 33:18
  4. Gives us strength and courage – Psalm 31:24; Romans 12:12
  5. Gives us confidence as we serve God – 1 Timothy 4:10


“Hope” is trust and a confident expectation. Our hope is not in the things of this world – toys, clothes, and gifts. Rather, our HOPE rests in the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the Son Jesus’ unending love, and God’s steadfast grace.


BELIEVING  --  TRUSTING  --  EXPECTING  --  WAITING


Questions:


  1. Why is it so hard to wait?

  2. What is the difference between a WISH and HOPE?

  3. What does it mean to expect something?

  4. If we believe that Jesus is worth waiting for, how can we share our HOPE with others?


Activities:


  Cut out 7 yellow stars and punch a hole in the top of each. Each day throughout the week, a star will be added with yarn or ribbon to make a chain. Read the following scriptures each day and then add the star onto the chain. Write the scripture on one side of the star. End each reading with a prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”


  •       - Sunday: Jeremiah 31:31-40
  •       - Monday: Jeremiah 33:14-26
  •       - Tuesday: Isaiah 40:1-11
  •       - Wednesday: Psalm 33
  •       - Thursday: Psalm 130
  •       - Friday: Romans 5:1-11
  •       - Saturday: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

 Instead of “Elf on a Shelf,” try “Shepherd on a Search.” Find a small doll and dress it like a shepherd. The shepherd searches in the night for the Messiah. Each morning, the shepherd will be in a different place – with a scripture written on a piece of paper – pointing to the coming of Christ. On Christmas morning, have the shepherd find the Messiah in your family’s nativity. Use some of the following scriptures:


     Genesis 49:10                                 Isaiah 9:6-7                         

     Psalm 72:10-11                               Isaiah 11:1-10         

     Micah 5:1-2                                      Jeremiah 23:5

     Isaiah 7:14                                       Numbers 24:17


WEEK 1 (DECEMBER 3): THE GIFT OF LOVE by Robbie Boyd

I have always been a fan of eagles; their majesty, strength, and endurance. So much so that I talked about it a lot to my children and collected pictures, statuettes, and other memorabilia. One day, when my youngest son was around 9 years old, he walked up to me after I got home from work and handed me a large feather, then turned around and left the room. It wasn’t unusual for any of my children to occasionally bring things to me, so I glanced at it, shrugged my shoulders, and proceeded to go change clothes for the evening. My wife caught me and told me that Thomas (our son) had used two days of his school lunch money that week to buy that feather from another student because he believed it was an eagle’s feather. What?


Thomas went without lunch for two days to buy his daddy a feather because he knew it would make him happy. Now, I don’t know if that feather is a real eagle’s feather or not…that wasn’t the point. My 9-year-old Thomas believed it was and he gave it to me as a sacrificial gift of love. It was all his idea. That was 19 years ago, and I still have that feather.


That’s the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated when He went to the cross to suffer and die for your sin. It was His idea and His sacrificial gift of love to you.


John 3:16-17 (NLT) 16 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. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.


Read the Scripture passage above two times out loud. As a family, discuss the following questions:


  1. Who did God send into our world?
  2. Why did God send this person into our world?
  3. What do we have to do to experience the gift of eternal life (which means we live forever with God in heaven after we die)?


Some ideas of things you and your family could do this week to show the love of Jesus to others:


  1. Invite a neighbor family or individual over to your house to eat dinner with your family.
  2. Discover someone in your neighborhood who is struggling emotionally, financially, spiritually, or otherwise. Be creative in thinking of ways to help them in their struggle.
  3. Purchase a gift card to a local restaurant and give it to a teacher, school administrator, secretary, or custodian at one of the local schools. Include a note about the reason for the gift.
  4. Purchase a gift card to a local restaurant and give it to a Meadowbrook leadership team member. Don’t forget to include a note. (Leadership team includes Sunday School teachers, deacons, church ministerial staff, church support staff, committee members, choir members, praise team members, greeters, etc.)