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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Day 2 - The Eyes of The Christ Child

Day 2: The Eyes of the Christ Child



Meditation (3-5 Minutes)


Begin by being still before God.  Read Isaiah 9:6 and meditate on the words.

Isa 9:6 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

1)    Be still and know he is God. 
2)    Think about Jesus as a child. 
a)    What can you imagine him doing?
b)    Do you think he enjoyed getting and receiving gifts?
c)    How do you think the Christ Child would experience Christmas?
d)    View this Christmas through the eyes of the Christ Child.
3)    Let him be your Wonderful Counselor.
a)    Surrender your problems.
b)    Seek his wisdom.
4)    Let him be your Mighty God.
a)    Feel his power.
b)    Surrender to his power.
c)    Claim his power.
5)    Let him be your Everlasting Father.
a)    Bask in his love.
b)    Feel his arms around you.
6)    Let him be your Prince of Peace.
a)    Release all contentious thoughts or worries.
b)    Experience his peace.

Prayer
1)    Ask God to speak to you during this worship time.
2)    Requests of the Christ Child (Appendix 1)
a)    Pray specifically for those that need to experience Christmas through the eyes of the Christ Child.
i)    Specifically name those in emotional or physical pain.
ii)    Specifically name the non-Christians in your life.
iii)    Add them to the list.
b)    Prayerfully update the list with new requests and any answers from God.
c)    Praise God for his answers.
3)    Gifts from the Christ Child (Appendix 2)
a)    Praise God for his blessings.
b)    Update the list.
4)    Gifts to the Christ Child (Appendix 3)
a)    Ask God to give you his spirit as you give gifts to others. 
b)    Prayerfully, update the list.
5)    Ask God for knowledge of his will for you and the power to carry it out. 
6)    Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.

Bible Study


Jesus came to earth as a baby.  Like other babies, people gave him gifts and celebrated his birth.  As far as we know, he had to learn to walk, talk, and dress himself.  He grew up loved by his earthly mother and father.  As an adult, Jesus loved children.  He instructed us to let children be our teachers. 

Background Scripture
Matthew 9:13-15, Mark 10:13-16, and Luke 18:15-17: Read the background scripture carefully.  Jesus took time to be with children.  How did he treat these children?  What did he do for them?
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What lesson was Jesus trying to teach his pious and impatient disciples?
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The Faith of a Child
Lauren is eight years old.  “I can’t wait for Christmas.  It is my first Christmas as a Christian.”  Earlier this year, Lauren asked Jesus to be a part of her life.  “I was baptized,” she excitedly told me. 

Lauren lives in a Godly home.  She has been in church all of her life.  Jesus has always been part of her life in some way.  I questioned her further.  “You already knew about Jesus.  Why is this Christmas different?” 

“Christmas has to be different because everything is different now.  Jesus is my friend.  I need him this year because two of my other friends moved away.  Jesus will never move away.” 

“What do you do with Jesus?” I asked. 

“I talk to him.  My brother is sick so I ask God to help him.  My Daddy needs a job.  I tell Jesus.” 

“What is your favorite part of Christmas?” I asked. 

“Church is fun at Christmas. I love singing the Christmas Carols.  I get to go upfront and light a candle.”  I asked about her favorite Christmas service.  “Christmas Eve,” she said.  “We turn off the lights and light candles.” 

“What about the Bible?  Do you have favorite verse?” I prompted. 

Without hesitation, she answered, “Genesis 1:1.  I can say it.  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  This was the first verse I memorized.  It reminds me that God made me.  My favorite verse in the New Testament is John 3:16.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  I wondered if she understood and asked her about it.  “This tells me I will live forever with Jesus.” 

Read John 3:16 and Genesis 1:1. 

Since Lauren is just eight, I knew there had to be more to Christmas for her.  “What about gifts?” I quizzed.  “What was your favorite gift?”

Her face lit up.  “I love gifts.  When I was three, I got a toy car that fit over my legs.  I sat the ground and pretended to drive.  It had a steering wheel and a gearshift.  Driving this car made me feel like a grown up.  When I got older, what I liked changed.  I gave that toy car to a girl in my church.  Now I like Barbie Christmas gifts.  Wearing a Barbie nightgown makes me feel pretty.  I want a new Barbie for Christmas.” 

“Lauren, why do you think we celebrate Christmas?”  I was expecting her to say we celebrated the birth of Jesus.  Her answer was better. 

“We celebrate God’s gift to us.  Christmas reminds me of a song I sing in church.  This song says that we do not have to go looking for the gift of Christmas.  Jesus is the gift that comes to us.”  In what way does Lauren have the eyes of the Christ Child?

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Luke 18:17:  How are we to receive the kingdom of God? 
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A footnote to Lauren’s story is that her brother got well and her father found a job. 

Application (5-10 Minutes)

1)    Making It Personal
a)    Name and pray for your favorite Christmas celebration. __________________________________________________________________
b)    Write your favorite Bible verse. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
c)    What was your favorite Christmas gift?  Thank God for it. __________________________________________________________________
d)    Think of a child that you know well.  Pick someone who is sweet, innocent, and bright with the joy of a child.  __________________________________________________________________
e)    How will this child react to life today? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
f)    What areas of your life need the eyes of the Christ Child? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
g)    Ask God to help you have a childlike spirit throughout the day. 
2)    Praying Continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:17):
a)    Stop and briefly pray when you feel strong emotions (i.e. impatience, anger, excitement, frustration, or joy).
b)    As you feel each of these emotions, ask yourself this question: “If I were experiencing this with the faith of a child, how would I be reacting?”
c)    Ask for the faith of a child.

Ending the Day

a)    Thank God for the children in your life.
b)    Did you have the eyes of the Christ Child today?
c)    Confess if necessary.
d)    Ask God for the eyes of the Christ Child.

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