First Sunday of Advent: November 29th
Reflect: Mark 13:33-37
Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
Discuss: If Jesus were to return today, would you be ready? Would he find His “house” (i.e. your life) in shambles or in good order? What do you need to do to prepare your heart for Christ’s return? Maybe it is time to do some housecleaning and ready yourself to welcome Christ.
Monday of the first week of Advent: November 30th
Reflect: Isaiah 2:3
Many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Discuss: Christ is the ultimate center of meaning in the universe. It is through Christ that all people will be led to the Father. How can we hope to achieve a world in which all will seek the path of God?
Tuesday of the first week of Advent: December 1st
Reflect: Luke 1:26-31
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
Discuss: Why do you think the angel said Mary had found favor with God? What kind of life do you think Mary had lived up to this point to be chosen as the mother of Jesus?
Wednesday of the first week of Advent: December 2nd
Reflect: Luke 1:31-33
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Discuss: In Hebrew, Jesus means “God Saves.” Why is that name appropriate for Jesus? How has he saved you? How do you think Mary felt when she was told she would be the mother of Jesus? How would it change you if you thought Jesus would be coming to your family?
Thursday of the first week of Advent: December 3rd
Reflect: Luke 1:34-35, 38
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Discuss: Do you think Mary questioned? What do you think she ask the angel? What is the difference between sincere questioning and doubting God?
Friday of the first week of Advent: December 4th
Reflect: Matthew 1:18-25
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,* but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son,* and he named him Jesus.
Discuss: Would it have been hard to be in Joseph’s position? What were some of the qualities Joseph exhibited that made him a wonderful choice for the earthly father of Jesus? Which of these qualities could you add to your life in more abundance?
Saturday of the first week of Advent: December 5th
Reflect: Luke 1:6-7, 13, 36-37
Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Discuss: What was the miracle that happened for Elisabeth and Zacharias? When have you seen God do the impossible in your life?