By Matt Hein
Wherever you find yourself on your Advent journey, we are thankful that you have chosen to join with others across our congregation in this time of devotion and study. Together we will reflect on the promises God brings through the prophet Isaiah and ascribes to the Messiah we know as Jesus.
Whether you are a confirmation table group, a family, a group of co-workers, or an individual, we know that God will be with you as you consider how Jesus, the Messiah of God, bears the promises and titles of the O-Antiphons into your life so that he might form in and call out from you a response to His grace in Jesus.
As you use this devotion and study, consider inviting others to participate with you. Perhaps you will invite other family members, other disciples from St. Luke, your neighbors, etc.
You will need to choose a leader who will be responsible for leading your devotional time by reading the “Leader” parts and inviting others to speak the “All” responses. This person will also read aloud the processing questions that follow the video teaching, allowing your group to share what God has done in them through the O-Antiphon teaching. Give enough time for everyone to talk and comment; do not move on to the next processing question too quickly.
It will be helpful to either print this devotional and study guide for all participants or to have people access it through their smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. If you have the ability to project this piece on a TV or screen it could be helpful. You will need internet access to play both the song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and the video teaching.
May God bless you with His Spirit as you gather together under the theme, “O Wisdom.” Enjoy your time together, learn from each other, and share the stories of what God does in your gathering with others.
Advent 2014: Season of Promise
Home Based Devotional and Study Guide – Week of December 1, 2014
Leader: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Leader: Jesus Christ is the light of the world,
All: the light no darkness can overcome.
Leader: Let Your light scatter the darkness
All: and illumine Your church.
Phos Hilaron (Song of Light)
If an Advent wreath is used, the appropriate candle(s) may be lit during the Song of Light.
All: Joyous light of glory:
of the immortal Father; heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ.
We have come to the setting of the sun, and we look to the evening light.
We sing to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
You are worthy of being praised with pure voices forever.
O Son of God, O Giver of life:
the Universe proclaims Your glory.
Song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” – Phil Wickham
Lyrics will appear with the video allowing your gathering to either listen or sing.
Leader: Let us pray.
All: “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.”
Old Testament Reading
2The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
New Testament Reading
1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
- Share some of the best and worst wisdom you have ever received.
- How is God’s Wisdom in Jesus fundamentally different from the wisdom of the world?
- How is God’s Wisdom in Jesus foolishness to the world? How is it life for us?
- How does receiving the self-less grace of Jesus transform how we handle the challenges of life that demand us to use wisdom and make choices (especially knowing the choice may not be easy or obvious)?
- Share some examples where God may be inviting you to engage someone wrestling with a challenge in a way that would point them to Jesus. Encourage each other to pray for those people and situations.
- As God’s perfect Wisdom, Jesus shared much wisdom with His disciples. Share any of Jesus’ wisdom from the Gospels that you can remember and talk about how it both aids our ability to make decisions and can help us point others back to Him.
All: O Lord, visit the homes in which Your people live, and keep all harm and danger far from them. Grant that we may live together under the protection of Your holy angels, sharing eternally in Your blessings. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Leader: Taught by Jesus and trusting His promise we are bold to pray,
All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen
Leader: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.
Consider making a family wisdom chain for your Christmas tree or as a decoration for your home to remind you of Jesus as “O Wisdom.” As part of this activity, have everyone gathered share God-pleasing wisdom learned from life experiences, passed down from generation to generation, etc. Share favorite Bible passages or sayings of Jesus.
- Clear tape or glue
- Pen or marker
- Using a ruler and scissors, measure and cut strips of paper that are even in length and width. While measurements may vary, strips that are 1 inch wide by 8 inches long are recommended. Cut as many as you need, depending on how long you want your chain to be.
- Write helpful and God-pleasing pieces of wisdom on some of the strips of paper.
- Write your favorite Bible passages, sayings of Jesus, etc. on other strips of paper.
- Leave some plain paper strips as “filler” rings.
- Begin by taping the ends of one strip of paper together to create a loop.
- Place the next strip of paper through the first loop and tape the ends together to form a second loop through the first.
- Repeat with strips of paper until the wisdom chain is as long as you would like it.