Family Sharing for Advent
For a scripture-based 10 minute summary suitable for Christmas Eve/Day–Click Here
This material provides information and suggestions for leading family sharing times to take advantage of this opportunity. It is designed:
- To be used for five days ending on Christmas Day but is readily adaptable as needed. If young children are involved, it might be more effective if used on five consecutive days to provide continuity.
- To be a participative discussion/conversation, typically 15–30 minutes long each day, led by a family member using this material as a basis.
The basic message
- Day one—God created us as his children. He loves us and is always with us. He wants everyone to love him and to be good to others.
- Day two—Some people loved God and were good to others, but most people did not and hurt others, so God punished them and made a forever-agreement with those who loved him that he would always love anyone who loves him and obeys him.
- Day three—After that, many people loved God, and were good, but many didn’t, so God made a second agreement. It included sending his Son to be a King who would bring God’s love to earth and would make it easy to understand how to love and how to love others.
- Day four—The birth of Jesus
- Day five—Jesus’ teachings on love and on being good
The basic message—enclosed in the text boxes—is presented in a bulleted-outline format to make it easy for the leader to pause to get others involved in the discussion. Don’t be intimidated by the many pages herein. If the discussion outlines were single-spaced, they would occupy only four pages total. The outlines provide space between lines so that the leader can make changes or notes for use during the discussion. All the remaining pages are backup material provided for convenience for the leader’s use as needed. The black bullets pretty much tell the message and the indented numbered statements are for backup, or inclusion, as the leader sees fit. Children learn best when they see it for themselves, so good questions/discussions are key. Below each text box, a space is provided for the leader to note potential questions or thoughts that might be helpful in encouraging discussion—a few questions are suggested. The backup material is primarily Scripture and is from the Contemporary English Version which is recommended for children—it is desirable to read some Scripture because it is the basis of authority and usually will achieve faster acceptance. The discussion outlines contain numbers in parentheses matching those of the appropriate scripture. There is additional backup material at the very end for the leaders use—if it is deemed appropriate.
Because of the importance of discussion, the leader should adapt the words and thoughts of the discussion outline and the suggested questions to provide the young family members better understanding of the message and to promote discussion. Only Scripture is authoritative.
Here are some links that may be of interest in relating with your kids at Christmas time:
Day 1—The Greatest Gift: The Love Of God
- Who or what is God?—In the very beginning there was God—only God. He created everything else. (1–1) No one can come close to understanding something being made from nothing, but the universe is here and we are here because God put us here.
- What do we know about God?—We know very little, like nothing in the scientific sense, but a lot in terms of what we can experience—it’s like heat, we don’t really know what it is, but we can feel it and study it and we can apply what we learn to make our lives much better. So, in a way, we know a lot about it, but we really don’t know what it is.
- Clearly, the creator of the universe is very-very smart and is different from anything that we know about—for example different from a human being. We think of everything as being either animal, vegetable, or mineral but God is none of these—He is spiritual. We cannot come close to understanding purely spiritual beings. But based on his ability to create everything out of nothing, we believe that he knows everything, can do anything he wants and be anywhere he wants—and He will live forever.
- Wouldn’t it be great if he loved us and was with us at all times? That would be the greatest gift possible and he gave us that gift at the first Christmas. (1–2)
- God has always loved people. (1–2 & 1–3)
- That’s why he created people instead of robots. If you owned the toy robot, Robosapien, you could program it for: motions and gestures; to react to being touched, or picked up, or kicked or to sounds; 2-speed walking and turning; kung fu moves; and even for personality. You may grow to like it—maybe even love it—but it can never love you.
- God created humans with free will, not programmed, so that they could experience love—love for God and love for others. Love, like God, is a spiritual thing that we don’t understand but we feel it, know it and it is the most important thing for a happy life.
Note: Some of the Scripture is especially applicable and you might want to read, or have a child read, some passages.
Possible Questions and Leader’s Reminder-Thoughts
First ask what they think of that—then key questions off the response you get.
Here are some possibilities that might be useful:
- When you think of love what comes to your mind?
- What does it mean to be programmed?
- What does free will mean? And why do you need that to be able to love?
Some Background Scripture
(1–1) Genesis 1:1–28 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water…26God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures.” 27So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. 28God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control.
(1–2) John 3:16–17 16God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!
(1–3) Exodus 34:6 6Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, “I am the LORD God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted.”
Day 2—The Christmas Promise
- Because God loved us, (1–2 & 1–3) he gave us freewill. But having freewill, means we are free to do bad things—things that hurt others and therefore hurt God. And lots of humans started doing very bad things. (2–1)
- Things got so bad that God sent a flood to kill all the bad people and told Noah how to build an ark to save his family. (2–1) (about 4,300 years ago)
- After the flood, Noah’s descendents, particularly those of his son Shem, lived good lives. After about 400 years, Noah’s great-seven times-grandson Abraham, (2–9 ) was living such a good life that God rewarded him by making a very special agreement with him—today this agreement is called the Covenant.
- This agreement with Abraham was that, if he would always obey God and would always do right, everyone on earth would be blessed because of him. (2–2 & 2–3) (It was much later that God kept this promise and that is the story of Christmas.)
- He also made the same promise to Abraham’s grandson Jacob. (2–4) (about 3900 years ago)
- He sent Angels to tell Lot and his family to leave the city before He destroyed the bad people by an earthquake. (2–5) (about 3900 years ago)
- e appeared to Moses and sent him to lead His people out of slavery in the country of Egypt. (2–6) (about 3500 years ago)
- To make the world a better place to live, He gave the people rules to live by and He punished the bad people and helped the good people. He sometimes sent Angels to help and sometimes he sent other people to help and sometimes he talked directly to the people. (2–10)
- For over 500 years, He sent many prophets to remind the people of the agreement and to instruct the people on how to have better lives. (2–7, 2:8 & 2–10 for example)
- He promised David that one of his sons would be King forever.—The Christmas Promise. (2–8) (about 3000 years ago)
Possible Questions and Leader’s Reminder-Thoughts
- What are some good things that people do?
- What are some bad things that people do?
- How do you feel when you do bad things?
Some Background Scripture
(2–1) Genesis 6:5–20 5The LORD saw how bad the people on earth were and that everything they thought and planned was evil. 6He was very sorry that he had made them…8But the LORD was pleased with Noah, 9and this is the story about him. Noah was the only person who lived right and obeyed God…13So he told Noah:…14Get some good lumber and build a boat…I’m going to send a flood that will destroy everything that breathes! Nothing will be left alive. 18But I solemnly promise that you, your wife, your sons, and your daughters-in-law will be kept safe in the boat. 19–20Bring into the boat with you a male and a female of every kind of animal…
God talking to Abraham:
(2–2) Genesis 12:2–3 2I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. 3I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you.
(2–3) Genesis 17:20 20 “I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, 21I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted.”
God talking to Jacob:
(2–4) Genesis 28:14 14Your descendants will spread over the earth in all directions and will become as numerous as the specks of dust. Your family will be a blessing to all people.
(2–5) Genesis 19:12–15 12–13The two angels said to Lot, “The LORD has heard many terrible things about the people of Sodom, and he has sent us here to destroy the city. Take your family and leave…”15…They said, “Take your wife and your two daughters and get out of here as fast as you can! If you don’t, every one of you will be killed when the LORD destroys the city.”
(2–6) Exodus 3:2–12 2There an angel of the LORD appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. 3“This is strange!” he said to himself. “I’ll go over and see why the bush isn’t burning up.” 4When the LORD saw Moses coming near the bush, he called him by name, and Moses answered, “Here I am”…7The LORD said: I have seen how my people are suffering as slaves in Egypt, and I have heard them beg for my help because of the way they are being mistreated. I feel sorry for them, 8and I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians. I will bring my people out of Egypt into a country where there is good land, rich with milk and honey… 10Now go to the king! I am sending you to lead my people out of his country. 11But Moses said, “Who am I to go to the king and lead your people out of Egypt?”…12God replied, “I will be with you.”
(2–7) Jeremiah 33:14–15 14The LORD said: I made a wonderful promise to Israel and Judah, and the days are coming when I will keep it. 15I promise that the time will come when I will appoint a king from the family of David, a king who will be honest and rule with justice.
(2–8) 2 Samuel 7:4–16 4That night, the LORD told Nathan 5to go to David and give him this message: David, you are my servant, so listen to what I say…10…Now I promise that you and your descendants will be kings…16I will make sure that one of your descendants will always be king.
(2–9) The genealogy from Noah to Abraham is recorded in Genesis 11:10–26
( 2–10) Exodus 20:1–17 1God said to the people of Israel: 2I am the LORD your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves. 3Do not worship any god except me. 4Do not make idols…6But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations. 7Do not misuse my name. I am the LORD your God, and I will punish anyone who misuses my name. 8Remember that the Sabbath Day belongs to me…12Respect your father and your mother…13Do not murder. 14Be faithful in marriage. 15Do not steal. 16Do not tell lies about others.17Do not want anything that belongs to someone else.
Day 3—God Prepares The World For His Son
After telling David that one of his son’s will always be King, God began to prepare the world for this new kind of King—who would bring them a New-Agreement—called the Second Covenant—and a new way to live. (3–3) He did this by telling His prophets to tell the people that:
- The new King was to be called Immanuel (meaning “God with us”). (3–4)
- The New-Agreement, was to be:
- He would be our God and we would be His people (3–3)
- He would write His law in our minds and our hearts (3–3)
- Everyone could know Him (3–3)
- He would forgive us when we do bad things—if we want to be forgiven (3–3)
- This wonderful King was to be Jesus, who was to be born on the first Christmas, and was to be the first and greatest Christmas gift ever.
- The prophets also told the people that this King would:
- Have The Spirit of the LORD with Him (3–1)
- Understand our minds and our hearts and know just what to do to help us (3–1)
- Be called; wonderful advisor and mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace (3–5)
- Would be honest, wise and be fair to everyone in the way He ruled. (3–2)
- It was also prophesied that; His mother would be a virgin, (3–4) He would be born in Bethlehem, (3–8) People from every nation would serve Him, He would rule forever, (3–5) His power would never end, and peace would last forever. (3–5)
- The prophets also told the people that this King would:
Possible Questions and Leader’s Reminder-Thoughts
- Do you kind of know in your heart when you are doing good things?
- How about bad things?
- What does it mean to forgive?
- How do you feel about God knowing what you are doing, thinking and feeling?
- How do you feel about God forgiving you? Other people?
Some Background Scripture
(3–1) Isaiah 11:1–2 1Like a branch that sprouts from a stump, someone from David’s family will someday be king. 2The Spirit of the LORD will be with him to give him understanding, wisdom, and insight.
(3–2) Jeremiah 23:5–6 The LORD said:…5Someday I will appoint an honest king from the family of David, a king who will be wise and rule with justice.6As long as he is king, Israel will have peace, and Judah will be safe. The name of this king will be,“The LORD Gives Justice.”
(3–3) Jeremiah 31:31–34 31The LORD said: The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah. 32It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement. 33Here is the new agreement that I, the LORD, will make with the people of Israel: “I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34“No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the LORD, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”
(3–4) Isaiah 7:14 14But the LORD will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel
(3–5) Isaiah 9:6–7 6A child has been born for us. We have been given a son who will be our ruler. His names will be Wonderful Advisor and Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace. 7His power will never end; peace will last forever
(3–6) Zechariah 3:8 8Listen carefully, High Priest Joshua and all of you other priests. You are a sign of things to come, because I am going to bring back my servant, the Chosen King.
(3–7) Daniel 7:13–14 13As I continued to watch the vision that night, I saw what looked like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, and he was presented to the Eternal God. 14He was crowned king and given power and glory, so that all people of every nation and race would serve him. He will rule forever, and his kingdom is eternal, never to be destroyed.
(3–8) Micah 5:2 2Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the LORD will choose one of your people to rule the nation—someone whose family goes back to ancient times.
(3–9) Isaiah 53:5–6 5He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. 6All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved.
Day 4—His Son Is Born
Based on (1–1)
- One night a long time ago, Mary was staring out her window daydreaming of her life with Joseph, her future husband.
- All of a sudden, she saw a shining light and an angel of God appeared and spoke to Mary, “I am the angel Gabriel sent by God to tell you that God loves you very much and is very happy with you. He has chosen you to be a mother of boy Jesus. Jesus will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest.” Mary said, “I will do whatever the Lord wants; let it be.”
- Caesar Augustus, the ruler at that time, ordered everyone to pay their taxes in the city where they were born. This meant that Joseph and Mary would have to travel a long way to go to Joseph’s home in Bethlehem—and the baby was due soon.
- Although Joseph was not pleased with the news, he remembered a scripture—the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem—and Joseph did everything possible to make the trip easy for Mary. When they arrived in Joseph’s hometown, there was nowhere for them to stay, all the rooms in the inns where full.
- So Joseph took Mary to a nearby stable where they would be dry and warm.
- Joseph prepared a place for Mary to have the baby. She was so happy to be out of the cold and in a sheltered area. It was not long afterward that Mary and Joseph were rejoicing at the birth of Jesus. They were so happy that everything worked out and that Jesus was a healthy baby. They wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. Soon they both fell into a restful sleep.
- A few hours later, Mary and Joseph were interrupted from their sleep. Mary said to Joseph, “Look there are shepherds outside the stable.” Mary was worried that they might have to move and find another place to rest. “Joseph, please go see what they want.”
- Joseph got up from his place of rest and went to see. Shortly after he came back and told her that they wanted to see the baby. “Why?” Mary asked. Joseph replied, “I will let them tell you. Is it OK?” “It’s OK, Joseph, let them come in”, Mary answered.
- “Look at the child. Just as the angel told us,” the shepherds said, “Let us explain. A bright light appeared out of the heavens and we were greatly worried and afraid but an angel appeared and told us, ‘Fear not: I bring you good news of great joy for all people. Today! In the city of David a Savior is born, Christ the Lord. You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.’ Then there was a great choir of Angels in the sky praising God and singing ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’.”
- Oh what a blessed child this is! What a Beautiful night! We will not stay long but we had to come and see the miracle that was told to us. You understand?” “Yes,” Mary replied, “This is a wondrous miracle!” Mary remembered all these things, and thought about them in her heart.
Based on (4–2)
- Meanwhile, the same night that Jesus was born, a star appeared in the sky and, in the East, three wise men were watching. They knew this was special; and that a great king was born that night. Each decided to leave their country and follow the star so they could give gifts to the new king.
- God had been guiding them by the star, but when they got nearly to Bethlehem they decided to go ask King Herod where the Messiah—this great King—had been born and he said, “Who is this King? What other king besides me is being born in this country?—I’m the king!” So, he called his wise men and asked where the Messiah of the Jews was supposed to be born and they told him that the prophet had said: “in Bethlehem, in the land of Judea”. King Herod said; “As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.”
- The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star. When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod—because King Herod was going to have the baby Jesus killed—and they went back home by another road.
- An Angel appeared to Joseph and Mary and said; “take your baby and flee to Egypt and stay there until I tell you to come back.” So he took his wife and Jesus and the donkey and took them to Egypt!
- Several thousand years after God first made the agreement with Abraham, the King was born and will be with us forever just as God had promised.
- Jesus was the great-40 times-grandson of Abraham and the great-26 times-grandson of David (4–1)
The first and greatest Christmas gift ever.
This children’s rendition was adapted from that of: http://wordofloveforyou.com/Chris10.htm
Possible Questions and Leader’s Reminder-Thoughts
- What is meant by an inn? By a stable?
- What are swaddling clothes?
- What does “Savior” mean?
- What is a choir?
- What did the shepherds mean when they said the baby was a blessed child?
- What is a miracle?
- What did the shepherds mean when they said “The baby was a blessed child”?
- What is a miracle?
- What are gold, frankincense and myrrh?
Some Background Scripture
(4–1) Matt 1:1–2:12 1Jesus Christ came from the family of King David and also from the family of Abraham. And this is a list of his ancestors. From Abraham to King David, his ancestors were: Abraham,…and Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah. 17There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David. There were also fourteen from David to the exile in Babylonia and fourteen more to the birth of the Messiah.
18This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David’s family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God’s Holy Spirit. 19Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding. 20While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 23“A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” 24After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord’s angel had told him to do. 25But they did not sleep together before her baby was born. Then Joseph named him Jesus.
1When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem 2and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. 4Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?” 5They told him, “He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote, 6‘Bethlehem in the land of Judea, you are very important among the towns of Judea. From your town will come a leader, who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel.’” 7Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. 8He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.” 9The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10They were thrilled and excited to see the star.11When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. 12Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.
(4–2) Luke 2:1–21 1About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. 2These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. 4So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family. 5Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, 6and while they were there, 7she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.” 13Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:14“Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.” 15After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” 16They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay. 17When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18Everyone listened and was surprised. 19But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant. 20As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said. 21Eight days later Jesus’ parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands. And they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told Mary when he promised she would have a baby
Note: if you want to discuss the connection to the birth of John the Baptist, see Luke 1.
Day 5—Accepting The Gift
- Jesus grew up in a small town and helped his father who was a carpenter but from the beginning he did things that made it clear that he had a special relationship with God. For example he amazed even the Sunday school teachers with his understanding of God. (5–1)
- He was not the kind of king who conquered with a sword, but God’s king armed with love. This love relationship is written in your heart—you’re born with it—it’s like the love of your mom and dad. It’s just as God said it would be. (5–2)
- The new agreement with God is:
- Believe in God and Jesus his son—who was on Earth and is now with God in Heaven. (5–2)
- Love God and love others by treating them like you would like to be treated. Like Jesus would treat them. (5–3 & 5–4)
- Do this and He will be with you and you with Him forever. It’s like your father gives you a cell phone and you can talk to him at any time—he’s there when you need him and you know he loves you and will help. (5–5 & 5–6)
- Jesus gave lots of speeches on what you need to do to be good and not to do so you won’t be bad. He gave lots of examples about how to do that. For example:
- Being nice to everyone—even those you don’t like (5–7)
- Helping people who need help (5–9)
- Talking to God, He wants to know how you are feeling and that you love Him—and, when you don’t know, ask what He would like for you to do. (5–5 & 5–6 & 5–8)
- Jesus lived a really good life doing really good things for lots of people but He was killed in a horrible way by bad people who feared Him. He went through this horrible death to show His love for us and to show that we shouldn’t fear death because we know we are going to be with God and our loved ones.
- Jesus’ life on earth as a loving King worked just the way God had planned. People all over the world love Him and love others and are following His teachings. He has changed the world in a most wonderful way.
- On Christmas over 2000 years ago, God fulfilled his promise to send His Son to show us that we will have our loving Heavenly Father with us at all times—forever.
Possible Questions and Leader’s Reminder-Thoughts
- How can Jesus possibly be with so many people at all times?
- Do you sometimes feel Jesus’ love in your heart? If so, would you like to describe the feeling?
- Do you feel that he’s with you when you need him? If so, would you like to tell us about it? If not, would you like to?
- Do you sometimes talk with him? ? If so, would you like to tell us about it? If not, would you like to?
- Does it make you feel good to help others—especially at Christmas time? If so, tell us about a time that made you feel especially good.
- What are some ways you can help others this Christmas? Can we help you with this in some way?
Some Background Scripture
(5–1) Luke 3:41–52 41Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. 42And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. 43After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. 44They thought he was traveling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. 45When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there. 46Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave. 48When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you!” 49Jesus answered, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn’t you know that I would be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he meant. 51Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened.52Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people.
(5–2) John 3:16–18 16God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! 18No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son.
(5–3) Matt 7:12 12 Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.
(5–4) Matt 22:34–40 34After Jesus had made the Sadducees look foolish, the Pharisees heard about it and got together. 35One of them was an expert in the Jewish Law. So he tried to test Jesus by asking, 36“Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”…37Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38This is the first and most important commandment. 39The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 40All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.
(5–5) John 14:23–26 23If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them…25I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place.
(5–6) John 16:7–13 7The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you…13The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me,
(5–7) Luke 6:27–34 27This is what I say to all who will listen to me: Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. 28Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, don’t stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don’t try to keep back your shirt. 30Give to everyone who asks and don’t ask people to return what they have taken from you. 31Treat others just as you want to be treated. 32If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them. 33If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. 34If you lend money only to someone you think will pay you back, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners lend to sinners because they think they will get it all back.
(5–8) John 14:21–23 21If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like. 22The other Judas, not Judas Iscariot, then spoke up and asked, “Lord, what do you mean by saying that you will show us what you are like, but you will not show the people of this world?” 23Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them.
(5–9) Matt 25:31–46 31When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. 32The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. 35When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, 36and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
37Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? 38When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear 39or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”
40The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
41Then the king will say to those on his left, “Get away from me! You are under God’s curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me.” 44Then the people will ask, “Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?” 45The king will say to them, “Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me.” 46Then Jesus said, “Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.”
One Solitary Life
Christ’s impact on the world has been enormous and far beyond our understanding. The writing One Solitary Life used in the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” provides the right perspective:
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never had a family or owned a home. He never set foot inside a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place He was born. He never wrote a book, or held an office. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness.
While He was still a young man, the tide of the popular opinion turned against Him. His friends deserted Him. He was turned over to His enemies, and went through the mockery of the trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners’ gambled for the only piece of property He had − His coat. When He was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this “One Solitary Life”.
Whoever Takes the Son…Gets It All
Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed father looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector.
But the day came when war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that his beloved son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to a medic. On Christmas morning a knock came at the door of the old man’s home, and as he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you. I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of his son. Though the art critics would never consider the work a piece of genius, the painting did feature the young man’s face in striking detail, and seemed to capture his personality.
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation! According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned. The day soon arrived, and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. It was the painting of the man’s son.
The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Minutes passed with not a sound from those who came to buy. From the back of the room someone callously called out, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and go on to the important paintings.” There were other voices which echoed in agreement. But the auctioneer replied, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it. I will bid the $100.” “I have a bid for $100,” called the auctioneer.“Will anyone go higher?” After a long silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once. Going twice. Gone.”The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone was heard to say, “Now we can get on with it!” But the auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over.
Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! We demand that you explain what’s going on!” The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.
That is the essence of the story of Christmas: Whoever takes the Son gets it all.
The Bible puts it like this: God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life. (1 John 5:11–12).
This document itself is not copyrighted but some of the material—including the CEV translation—is, so it’s okay to copy it for your own use but not for sale. GDN 12/16/2011