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, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” and the video teaching.
May God bless you with His Spirit as you gather together under the theme, “O Adonai.” 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 8, 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 “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Leader: Let us pray.
All: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai’s mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.”
Old Testament Reading
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey
Old Testament Reading
22“For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.”
1When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
- What do you think of when you hear the word captivity?
- What are some ways that people try to deal with their sin and brokenness by their own power?
- What is your reaction to the all-powerful God extending His hands in weakness and crucifixion so that the strength of His forgiveness and life could be yours?
- How are you like Moses in both captivity to sin and in receiving freedom from sin?
- Who in your life is haunted by their past sin or bearing present consequences for something sinful from the past? How could you share the good news of Adonai in flesh, Jesus Christ who willingly gives His life to bring them His freedom? What would that sound like coming from you?
All: Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 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.
Activity – Christmas Cookies for your Neighbors
In response to the power and might that Adonai brings us in Jesus to forgive sins and restore us as his servants, consider serving the people in your neighborhood by making them Christmas cookies. Use your favorite Christmas cookie recipe, decorate them any way you would like, eat a few, and then make plates of cookies to deliver to the homes around you. Go as a family to the doors of your neighbors, introduce yourselves, and be ready to share something about your family. Consider telling them that Jesus has blessed you and so you wanted them to be blessed as they prepare for Christmas. Also consider taking your cookies on a non-disposable plate so that you get to see them again when they return the plate or you go pic it up. Label the plate with you name so they know it belongs to you and to help them remember your name. Finally, write down their names when you leave and begin praying for them.