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 Vivian ART

FOCUS DAY 1:

Life is a Gift

 

HEAVENLY CONVERSATION 1: “Celebrating Baby Jesus’ Birthday"

KEY: F (God the Father Speaking);J (God the Son, Jesus Speaking); S (God the Holy Spirit Speaking) [Read the verse(s) and “Heavenly Conversation” as a family. Suggestion: Choose a different family member to read each part of God’s conversation.]

 

F “Christmas is about life! What a beautiful day it is. How shall we celebrate Christmas this year?”

J “I love birthdays! I wonder if each person we created is enjoying their gift of life today? I hope so!”

S “Being alive IS a treasured gift! I wonder if they are loving others, themselves, and us with their choices?”

J “For that to be so, they must have discovered and then chosen to accept our three Christmas gifts of love for themselves. I offer the gift of freedom from sin.”

S “I offer them the gift of fulfillment.”

FMy gift is the offer of forgiveness. Our whole purpose in creating each soul was that we could know and love them personally. We want each one to know and love us in return. This was a reason for Christmas, too – to bring our love into the world personally and offer our gifts of forgiveness, freedom, and fulfillment.”

S “That is, of course, why we made each one special, and breathed in them our images! Each image is bathed in our love. I wonder how many have discovered our ‘love images’ for their lives? We inspired Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to write about Christmas. I have an idea!”

J “What is that? Spirit, you have always been so good at communicating TRUTH to our creation through prophets, kings, priests, angels, and now personally in each person’s heart.”

S “True, and thanks for the compliment. You, however, were willing to personally make it all happen! At Christmas you went to earth as a baby, you lived a sinless life, you suffered death for their sins on a cross, and you rose from the dead so that I could go to earth to help everyone know how to live a life of love!”

FAll true! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Spirit, what is your idea?”

S “I like how we inspired John to write, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ It really explains why we create each person so special, and that we want to have a loving relationship with each one. Let’s focus on these words for Advent.”

J “Good idea. They also emphasized that loving is an individual choice – each person must separately decide to believe! It is always a personal choice.”

FBoth good ideas! But hold on. There is so much more. Since Luke was a physician and scholar, and attentive to so many details, let’s retell the Christmas Story through his eyes too, and the choices of those he mentions! …Sort of a “larger view” of Christmas, and how each person can make our love real in their lives. Each life has a story full of choices. Celebrating life, both the good and bad, is a choice we can remind everyone to make this Christmas. Remember, as ‘Baby Jesus’, they called you Immanuel. They knew we had come be with them, and to show them how to love and be loved. Let’s help them create their life stories with the TRUTHS of Christmas.”

S J (Together) “Let’s do it. It sounds like fun.”

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

MY CHOICE DAY 1:

I Will Value God’s Gift of Life in Every Choice

 

 

DAY 1 ACTIVITY:

OPTIONAL: TAKE THE “LUKE ADVENT CHALLENGE”

Reading the entire Gospel of Luke is a great way to celebrate and better understand the significance of Christmas. There are several ways to grow from this experience. For an amazing impact, 1) you can read the entire Gospel of Luke in one setting (non-stop); for an overview impact, 2) you can read the entire Gospel of Luke in one day (midnight to midnight of the same day); or for a more paced understanding, 3) you can read the entire Gospel of Luke one chapter each day, and finish all 24 chapters on Christmas Eve.   NOTE: It takes a little over 2 ½ hours to read out loud or listen to the entire Gospel of Luke.

 

 

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Susie ART

FOCUS DAY 2:

Created to Love & Be Loved

 

HEAVENLY CONVERSATION 2: “Choosing Your Story of Love"

KEY:F (God the Father Speaking);J (God the Son, Jesus Speaking); S (God the Holy Spirit Speaking) [Read the verse(s) and “Heavenly Conversation” as a family. Suggestion: Choose a different family member to read each part of God’s conversation.]

 

F “Christmas is about love! This Christmas let’s remind everyone that we lovingly made them, as our faithful servant Moses wrote, ‘… in our image’. To know us better is to know themselves better, and others better, too.”

S “That is why we give each person the power to make choices. In fact, their legacy, or their life’s story, is made each day by the individual choices they make.”

JThat’s love with trust! Love is always a choice; no one can be made to love anyone, or to make good choices. Christmas is definitely a time to choose to love and celebrate our love. Let’s trust them to do just that.”

S “Giving each person choices is a big risk.  Everyone is free to reject love, and even choose evil. Remember at your birth, Jesus, much of the world had chosen to serve Baal.”

JThat is why Christmas is so important. I went to earth to show people, as the apostle John wrote, ‘…the way and the truth…’ on how to love us, others, and themselves.”

FUnfortunately, not everyone chooses love. Many had rejected the TRUTHS of our prophets. That’s why we gave them Christmas. As Father, many had rejected my love-images of design, belonging, and vocation.”

S “Even the priests made bad choices. They loved their rituals, but did not know us in their hearts. As your Spirit, Father, many have rejected my love images for healthy relationships, competence, and fulfillment in life.”

JThat’s why I volunteered to become human and walk with them. As your Son, many rejected my love-images to meet their needs, find worth, and be motivated by love.”

S “True. You experienced all the pain of being human and yet you were true to all of our love-images while a man.”

J “My calling was to personally demonstrate how to love unconditionally and completely by accepting our three Christmas gifts of forgiveness, freedom, and fulfillment.”

S You did well. I constantly encourage believers to think of others more highly than themselves. They know that the greatest gifts of Christmas are ‘wrapped in love’. Mary understood this. She put her plans aside and trusted us to meet all of her needs – her reputation, her need for lodging for your birth, and so much more. She chose to know us in her heart, and we were able to reward her love by meeting all of her needs.”

J “The Wise Men understood this too. They chose to put their plans aside when we sent angels to inform them about Herod. They decided to change their path home.”

S “I love Christmas! Many believers will spend special time with us in their Advent Bible readings and prayers.”

FThe more time anyone spends with us, especially in our Word, the more they will discover and benefit from our love-images in their lives. I love Christmas, too!”

J “Me too! It’s my birthday!

  

Genesis 1:1, 26-27; John 1:1-5; 3:19; 8:58; 14:6; Luke 2:6-7,19; Matthew 2:12; 1 John 4:16

“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image…’”; “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Genesis 1:26; 1 John 4:16

 

MY CHOICE DAY 2:

I Will Acknowledge God’s Love-Images in Me

 

DAY 2 ACTIVITY:

OPTIONAL: Discover God’s Nine (9) Love-Images in My Life

9 Truths ICONBrowse 9lovelinks.com. Take some time today and throughout Advent to discover God’s Love-Images in your life. Look at the purple icon contents. Each one will be visited later.

 

 

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 Debbie ART 1

FOCUS DAY 4:

You Decide

                                                                                                           

HEAVENLY CONVERSATION 4: “Truth is TRUTH"

KEY: F (God the Father Speaking);J (God the Son, Jesus Speaking); S (God the Holy Spirit Speaking) [Read the verse(s) and “Heavenly Conversation” as a family. Suggestion: Choose a different family member to read each part of God’s conversation.]

 

F “Christmas is about decisions! From our first created souls, individual choices have been important to us. We gave every new born a free will to choose to obey or disobey. From birth to death, we wanted their life stories to be the sum of their choices. Designed to love and be loved, we gave them the power to make their own life choices. We gave them sovereign power over their lives.”

J “Adam and Eve didn’t do too well, Father. They fell to the lies of Satan and the temptations not to obey our instructions. They separated us from our creation by sin.”

S “Herod, the scribes and pharisees, and many worshippers made disobedient choices, too. They chose to love idols.”

FHowever, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the shepherds and so many more in our Christmas story chose to obey us.”

J “Their decisions to love and follow us allowed us to lead all of them to know our wishes and obey them.”

S “There is Good News, too! Christmas brought a new way to know us and love us. Instead of just in ceremonies, places, and rituals, we can now dwell in their hearts.”

FImmanuel means ‘God with us’, thanks to Christmas.”

J “I have given my Words to guide their decisions.”

S “I try to guide everyone in their conscience - even in small decisions, if they listen. Small choices create their stories. They reflect freedom to love or a bondage to sin.”

FAll our Christmas gifts are needed, but making decisions, even little ones, is difficult without your TRUTHS, Jesus, or your presence, Spirit.”

J “Indeed, I have taught the importance of discipline, commitment, and faith. Luke, Matthew, Mark, and John shared many of my teachings in their Gospels.”

S “For anyone who asks, I help give them faith and hope to focus all their decisions in love for us. At first, Zacharias made a poor decision not to trust us, but he repented and was forgiven, and was blessed when his son was born.”

J “Peter chose to deny me three times, but also renewed his relationship with me with a repentant heart. His life was also blessed for his subsequent decisions to follow us and obey TRUTH. Forgiveness is powerful, Father.”

FThere are no poor choices, decisions, actions, addictions, or anything we will not forgive. Consequences may not always be undone, but our relationship can be restored!”

SSo Christmas is truly about making godly decisions, and believers need faith, hope, and love to make the best choices!”

FJ (Together) “We agree!”

 

“… choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

 

MY CHOICE DAY 4:

I accept my sovereignty to choose TRUTH.

 

DAY 4 ACTIVITY:

OPTIONAL: WHAT IS YOUR LIMIT?

Just as many small, but good choices can create godly character, many small, but poor choices, can lead to addictions and ungodly character. OBJECT LESSON: Cut 6 inches of thread. Pull it until it breaks. Most can break one thread. Now do it with two threads. Can you break them? Keep adding additional threads until you cannot break them. Be careful not to injure your hands. Just like unwisely breaking threads can be harmful, breaking habits from small choices without God’s help can be disastrous as well. If you are into it, add gloves. It may increase your limit, but eventually the chord will be too strong. God’s Word gives us TRUTH on how to live a forgiven, free, and fulfilled life. Each disobedience, no matter how small, is like another chord in our lives. So is every obedience to the Word. They eventually separate us from loving and knowing our creator or bring us closer to Him. Here is where we have hope in Jesus. Consider this Decision Prayer: Ask for faith and courage to obey. Experience his love through forgiveness of any sin, his freedom to help choose to avoid all future sins, and the fulfillment you get by being at peace with your Creator. Decide: Why test your limit? Live free!           

 

 

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 Max ART

FOCUS DAY 3:

Three Gifts of Christmas

 

HEAVENLY CONVERSATION 3: “Christmas Connected"

KEY: F (God the Father Speaking);J (God the Son, Jesus Speaking); S (God the Holy Spirit Speaking) [Read the verse(s) and “Heavenly Conversation” as a family. Suggestion: Choose a different family member to read each part of God’s conversation.]

 

F “Christmas is about giving! How can we celebrate Christmas without also celebrating Easter and Pentecost as well? They are all connected! Without your birth, Jesus, you would not have been able to die for everyone’s sins, and without your resurrection, our Holy Spirit would not have been given an intimate and special place in each person’s heart.”

J “They are all part of our three gifts. Certainly, we can celebrate your Christmas gift of forgiveness from sins, which was made possible when you gave me to bring everyone the Good News of redemption. Every sin can be forgiven – how amazing! I know that my Christmas gift of freedom from sin’s bondage was made possible because of my birth and resurrection.”

S “And my Christmas gift of fulfillment in life was made possible because you defeated sin and Satan, and then rose from the dead. My presence in each heart can now guide their choices to please us and themselves.”

FChristmas, Easter, and Pentecost are also connected by love. It was my love for everyone that motivated me to give you, Jesus, as my only Son, to bring grace to earth. There is no better life than when our creation discovers, chooses to accept, and then lives by all our Christmas gifts each day.”

J “It was my love of every person that moved me to freely choose death on a cross to pay for all their sins. I think you are right, Father. Christmas is a time to anticipate my gift as a resurrected Savior and Lord. Christmas has to include the freedom of Easter!

S “And, it is my loving presence in believer’s hearts that helps people want to make good choices, listen to their consciences, and desire holiness. When people discover that a consecrated life is the most rewarding one, they can celebrate my presence daily in their lives. At Christmas we should celebrate Pentecost!

FChristmas, Easter, and Pentecost are all important and all connected to everyone’s life journey. Above all, at Christmas I want everyone to celebrate the joy of their sins completely forgiven!

J “At Christmas and Easter I want everyone to enjoy the freedom from sin’s harm and control in their lives.”

S “At Christmas and Pentecost I want everyone to be aware of our loving presence every day, in every situation, and with a joyful heart!”

FWe are all agreeing that Christmas brings together our gifts of forgiveness, freedom, and fulfillment to all who ask. But, like any gift, they must be received freely! Forgiveness is received through repentance.”

J “Freedom is received through surrender of our will.”

S “And fulfillment is received through consecration and obedience, much like Mary, Joseph, and John the Baptist did when we spoke to them!”

FDon’t forget the wisemen. I love it when each person asks for and freely accepts our gifts! ”

S J (Together) “We do too!"

 

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”; “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” John 15:13, Romans 11:29

 

MY CHOICE DAY 3:

I believe in Jesus’ Birth, Death, and Presence.

 

DAY 3 ACTIVITY:

OPTIONAL: Suggested Family Discussions

  1. Take a few minutes to talk about the importance Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Why are they all connected?
  2. Take a few minutes to talk about the importance forgiveness, freedom, and fulfillment. Why are they all necessary?
  3. Take a few minutes to talk about the importance repentance, surrender, and consecration. Why are they all choices?

 

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 Anya ART

FOCUS DAY 5:

Your Life’s Story

                                                                                                           

HEAVENLY CONVERSATION 3: “Choosing Love over Lies"

KEY: F (God the Father Speaking);J (God the Son, Jesus Speaking); S (God the Holy Spirit Speaking) [Read the verse(s) and “Heavenly Conversation” as a family. Suggestion: Choose a different family member to read each part of God’s conversation.F “Christmas is about stories! Did you know that by our intention, none of our creations are exactly alike? We made each one with a special design?”

 

J “Exactly. Each infant has a unique, individual DNA that makes them different from any other person ever born.”

S “Even more exciting, is that when we breath into them the breath of life, each child has a unique soul. Wow!”

FWe desire to know and love each one, too! Christmas is a time to celebrate your story, Jesus, and theirs as well. You truly know what it is like to grow up loving your earthly family, and also love me, your heavenly Father.”

J “I do. Christmas is also a good time to celebrate the life stories of Mary and Joseph, my earthly parents. Their examples of obedience and making difficult choices are good ones for everyone to remember. Stories matter!”

S “Paul shared our TRUTHS with King Agrippa and he was almost persuaded. Herod had a hard heart to TRUTH. We so much wanted both of their stories to be different.”

FJesus, what you did, both as a child and a young man, was so important to your story. Thank you for honoring your earthly parents as Moses’ commandment instructed. [Deuteronomy 5:16]”

J “Choices did seem to get harder when I reached adulthood and followed your calling for my life. It is exciting to me that each of our creation has a purpose.”

S “Every time they choose to love rather than complain or hate brings joy to us. I wonder if they know that their love is powerful, and that it is like no one else’s love when they use it? It is singularly unique and irreplaceable!”

FMy prayer for each of them is that they will love their unique design, their family, and their calling I gave them. I want them to know their life story is significance.”

J My prayer is that they will allow my love to help them meet all their needs, and see their unique worth. I want them to feel secure in my love as they live their stories.”

SMy prayer is for their choices to build relationships on love, enjoy developing their gifts and talents competently, and learn to fit wherever you call them to serve, Father.”

FRegardless of when someone discovers our forgiveness, freedom, and fulfillment, their story can improve and end well. Satan lies about this. Every story is precious to us.”

J “I remember that even on the cross one of the thieves changed his story – that was truly an amazing moment.”

S “You should have heard the angles sing! I am so glad he chose to change his story to spend eternity with us.”

J “I desire to meet with each believer daily in the Word to help them choose our TRUTHS over lies.”

S “And I love it when they pray for guidance, praise, help, understanding, or anything for that matter. I miss them when they get too busy to know us better by praying.”

FThat’s why Advent can be so helpful.”

J “Right, it helps everyone improve their stories.”

S “It helps them remember that ‘Christmas is Love!”

1 Cor 13:13; Isaiah 41:4; Deut. 5:16; 2 Peter 1:10 “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”; “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” 1 Cor. 13:13; 2 Peter 1:10

 

MY CHOICE DAY 5:

I will make Christ’s Love the center of my life.

 

DAY 5 ACTIVITY:

OPTIONAL: TAKE A ‘SHORT’ INVENTORY OF YOUR LIFE’S STORY

We often mark our lives with key celebrations and events, like Christmas. Your life’s story is your legacy, or how your life will be remembered. We sometimes forget that our legacy includes our Creator. There are many ways to inventory our life’s story, but here is a simple start, regardless of your age. On a sheet of paper, 1) write how you want to be remembered, 2) what are you doing to accomplish this, 3) what you need to do (or undo) to accomplish this, 4) how it includes (or needs to include) love in relationships (with God, Self, and Others). Have fun. You can also use this as a round-table discussion.

 

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