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Entering this Christmas season, our hope for this Advent journal is to stir, equip, and motivate you and your family to embrace the greatest story and celebration of all—the arrival of the Kings of Kings as a baby. As we focus on the names of Jesus, may we each be assured of His character, presence, and love. Here are 3 simple hopes we have:

Stir & Prepare the hearts of you & your Family My mind is spinning from the craziest of years. I can’t figure out sometimes if the year is longer than ever or if it seems shorter. But here we are—closing in on Christmas. May God use this book to awaken the souls of each of us to His birth.

Equip your family to Create Memories of Connections

One of the greatest places to have shared experiences is in the home with your family, especially during the Christmas season. Don’t miss out on the unique opportunities that you can have as a family to read the Bible together, share conversations around His Word, and create memories that can last a lifetime.

Motivate & Encourage your Family

There is no need to remind you that we are tired and frustrated with the impact of COVID-19 in the past 9 months on so many areas of our lives and loved ones. May this journal assist in lifting our eyes off the temporary and onto the eternal awe of God and His desire to come to us, making himself known. Praying for a Merry Christmas!

Linc Taylor | Next Gen & Family Minister Brentwood Baptist Church


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Traditions — I AM —

Briefly discuss your family’s Christmas traditions. ASK: What are some traditions you wish would go away? What traditions will you keep when you have a family? Explain that this year, your family is going to take a few minutes each day to remember not just baby Jesus, but the Son of God who came to earth, born for the purpose of restoring our broken relationship with God. To do that, you will be focusing on names and titles of Jesus. ASK: How do our traditions help us remember Jesus during this time of year?

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 1 picture, “I AM,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. You might recall the story of Moses. When he was in the desert, God showed up in a burning bush and told him to go back to Egypt to free the people of Israel from slavery and oppression. Moses asked God, “When the people ask me who sent me, what do I say?” God answered, “Tell them I AM sent you.” Jesus clearly told people that He was God. On one occasion, He descried Himself as I AM (John 8:58). God is the I AM, and He is still here with us today. Discuss how you plan to use your family’s Christmas traditions to see the I AM in the midst of all you do this season.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “HE IS” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that I AM is still with us.

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DECEM B ER 2

What About Christmas? — EMMAN U EL —

Watch this fun video, then discuss which details your family did and didn’t know were actually in the Christmas story: Tinyurl.com/retooningnativity. Read aloud the account from Luke 2:1-20. Guide each family member to share which part of the story means the most to them and why.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 2 picture, “Emmanuel,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. God is with us! One of the most important parts of the Christmas story is that God left heaven to come and be with us here on earth. Our relationship with God was broken after sin entered the world. It was time for God to be with us once again. That’s what He promised would happen! Read aloud Matthew 1:23. No matter how many details we might get “wrong” in the story, nothing can hide the fact that God came to earth to be with us again. He came to take our sin so we can be with Him forever.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “HE IS WITH US!” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that, because of Christmas, Jesus is ALWAYS with us.

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DECEM B ER 3

What’s in a Name?

— Th e Way, Th e Truth , Th e Life — Everyone in the family should take a sticky note and write their first, middle, and last name, as well as all of the names and titles they hold (i.e. mom, sister, boss, friend, daughter, etc.) *Note: If someone in your family can’t write yet, a parent should help them. Just like us, Jesus has many names and titles. On a sheet of paper, list together as many names of Jesus as you can. Explain that some of the things we call Jesus are His name, while others represent a role He holds, like Lord. Others are descriptions of who He is. One of the ways Jesus describes Himself is “The Way, The Truth, and the Life.” These are actually three separate names! Briefly discuss as a family what these names could possibly mean. Next, open your Bible to John 14 and explain how Jesus was having a conversation with His 12 best friends the night before He died on the cross. He told them that someday, they would be with Him again. One of His friends, Thomas, answered, “We have no idea where You are going.” Read aloud Jesus’ response from John 14:6-10, then discuss ways your family sees Jesus as The Way, The Truth, and the Life.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 3 picture, “The Way, The Truth, and the Life,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Read aloud John 14:6 again. Remember, these three words show us that a relationship with Jesus means everything.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “LIFE,” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that the whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to be the Life, that gave His Life, and we can have life with Him forever!!

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Wonderful Counselor — • —

Give everyone a blank sheet of paper and draw scenes with stick figures to depict a time when they received some really bad advice. (You might give them your own example first to get them thinking.) When they finish, guide each family member to describe their scene and explain why the advice was so horrible. Read aloud Isaiah 9:6, pointing out that a counselor is someone we go to for advice. They help us know how to live. ASK: Why do you think God is described as a wonderful counselor? How is the advice He gives different from the advice in your picture? In 1 Corinthians 1, we see the difference between the advice people give and the advice God gives. God calls His advice “wisdom.” Not only does God give wisdom, He is actually described as being “Wisdom” Himself in verses 30-31. Read these verses aloud.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 4 picture, “Wonderful Counselor,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Read Isaiah 9:6 aloud again. ASK: How is God’s wisdom revealed in the Christmas story? What are some things that make Him a counselor who is wonderful? (Give some examples in your own life if need be.)

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “WISDOM” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that God not only gives us wisdom—He is the very wisdom we can rely on.

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Prince of Peace — • —

As a family, think of all the movies you can that have a prince in them. Talk about what you remember about each prince. What were their character traits? What did you like/dislike about each of them? One of the names Jesus carries is the “Prince of Peace.” Read Isaiah 9:6 aloud. ASK: What does it mean to be the Prince of Peace? Read aloud John 14:27. ASK: What does it mean to have peace? Emphasize that the phrase “Peace on Earth” is often said during the Christmas season. ASK: Does “peace on earth” mean that things are always quiet? Discuss what peace means for us today and always.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 5 picture, “Prince of Peace,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. ASK: How does knowing that Jesus is the Prince of ALL Peace make you feel? Jesus showed us He was in charge of all peace, even at His birth. He came to us as both a gentle baby and as a royal Prince to bring peace during troubled times.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “Peace on Earth” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that we can peace find in Jesus during anxious and fearful times. He desires to not just give us peace, but to be our peace today.

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Mighty God — • —

Hold a “strong man” contest by having elimination rounds of thumb wrestling. Award a small, fun prize, such as an extra piece of candy, to the winner. ASK: Does being the family thumb wrestling champion make you mighty? What do you think of when you hear the word, “mighty?” Read aloud Isaiah 9:6 again. ASK: Why do you think “Mighty God” is listed as a name of Jesus along with “Wonderful Counselor” and “Prince of Peace?” Read aloud Psalm 147:3-5. Say: God cares about the hurting, named the stars, and understands everything. How does this show us His might?

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 6 picture, “Mighty God,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss how God can be called both “Prince of Peace” and “Mighty God”—in the same sentence!

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “MY GOD IS STRONG AND MIGHTY” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Discuss a few ways that shows how God is mighty. Use other Bible stories or examples from your own life.

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Christ — • —

Remind your family that over the last few days, you have looked at the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6. Just one verse describes a baby, who would come to earth and be God and man at the same time. ASK: Did you know that God spoke these words to the prophet Isaiah almost 700 years BEFORE Jesus was born? A prophet in the Old Testament was someone God spoke through to give a message to His people. God used a prophet to bring the good news of Jesus 700 years before He was even born. That’s a really long time! ASK: If God told you He was coming to earth 700 years from now, how would you react? Read aloud Acts 4:10-12. Explain that sometimes, we think “Christ” is Jesus’ last name. Instead, “Christ” is actually a title that means, “The Anointed One,” or “Messiah.” Jesus was God coming to earth to save us from being forever separated from relationship with the Lord. He is the only one who came to take our sin and restore us back to a relationship with God.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 7 picture, “Christ,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss specifically what Jesus has saved you from.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “JESUS: ANOINTED ONE” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. He is the Christ, who saves us. Be reminded of who He is today.

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Son of God — • —

Remind your family of all the roles and titles they wrote about themselves on a sticky note last week. Just as you hold many roles, Jesus has many names by which He is called. One of the names He is described as being is the “Son of God.” Read Luke 1:29-38 aloud. ASK: How would you feel if an angel showed up and said these things to you? What is Mary’s response in verse 38? How do you think you would have responded? Watch the video for “Mary, Did You Know?” performed by Pentatonix: Tinyurl.com/maryknow. Encourage family members to take note of lines that stand out to them, then after watching the video, discuss everyone’s responses. ASK: Can you imagine being the mother to the Son of God?

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 8 picture, “Son of God,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Take a moment to look at the names and pictures that are gathering. Read aloud Luke 1:35, reminding your family that this wasn’t just Mary’s Son, but God’s Son as well.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “SON OF GOD” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that HE was both Mary’s son and God’s Son at the same time. That means He was a human being, who also carried the same characteristics of God Himself. ASK: Why is that important? What characteristics do you have that are you similar to your parents’? How does Jesus being both human and God make a difference in our lives today?

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Savior — • —

During the Christmas season, many people sing carols about a particular event that happened. Shepherds were hanging out in a field in the middle of the night watching sheep. Something you need to understand about shepherds is that they had a stinky, disrespected job. People didn’t think very highly of them at all. While these guys were out with their sheep, all of a sudden, angels appear in the sky with an exciting announcement! The angels describe Jesus’ birth and say that He is the Messiah—Savior of Israel. He also is the Savior of the whole world because He delivers us from sin and gives us eternal life. Try to sing each of the following songs to see how many of the lyrics your family knows: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Joy to the World,” “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Now, look up what actually happened. Read aloud Luke 2:8-14. ASK: What do you think the shepherds thought when they saw the angels? Do you think they understood how much Jesus valued them? God saw worth and value in the shepherds, and He sent the Savior to them. Discuss what it means to your family members that Jesus is called Savior. ASK: How much do you think God values you? Have you trusted Him to be your Savior? Discuss as a family what things He has saved you from.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 9 picture, “Savior,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Notice the picture is a lock. Jesus has saved us from the chains of sin and hopelessness. Reflect about the way the shepherds and angels reacted to the Savior coming to earth. Remember, Jesus is the Savior of the world. Ask yourself if He truly is your Savior, too.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “SAVED” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect on all the ways Jesus is our Savior.

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The Word — • —

Give each family member a small stack of sticky notes. Set aside a blank space on the wall or floor where they will stick notes. Using only one word per sticky note, give the family 1 minute to write as many words as they can think of that describe Christmas (younger children can draw a picture). Once they write a word, they should stick up their note, then go back and write the next word until time is up. Look at all of the words your family wrote/drew. Briefly discuss why each word makes them think about Christmas. Emphasize the importance of words and how we use words to describe different things. Since Jesus is the Word, He helps define who God is to us. Take a look at the four gospels in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Describe to your family how the first three gospels remind us of the importance of Jesus coming to earth. Now, read John 1:1,14 aloud. Jesus is called the Word. He not only describes God but is God Himself. He also became a man so that we could know who God really is. ASK: How does Jesus coming to earth tell us more about God? What words can you think of to describe God? Read aloud John 20:30-31. John describes how the words He wrote down point to Jesus as being the way for us to have life. Now, look at the words you wrote down on the sticky notes. ASK: Did you write down the word, “Jesus?” Remember, that word is so special this Christmas. We get to celebrate His life and also have eternal life if we believe in His name.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 10 picture, “The Word,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss how Jesus is the Word and how His words help us understand God more clearly.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “JESUS IS THE WORD” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect on that today.

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God — • —

Jesus came to earth as a man, the Son of God, and as God Himself. There is a line in the song, “Mary, Did You Know?” that says, “When you kissed your little baby, you kissed the face of God.” As we contemplate the manger, the shepherds, the animals, and more, let us also contemplate God coming to earth. He loved us so much that He wanted us to be in a right relationship with Him. Sit quietly for a few moments with your eyes closed. As you do, play the song, “O Holy Night.” Think about the truth that Jesus was and is God. The Christmas story is about God, who came to earth in human form. Review with your family the story of “doubting Thomas,” the disciple who missed out on seeing Jesus in person after His resurrection. When the other disciples told Thomas they had seen Him, he answered, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand in His side, I will never believe” (John 20:25b). Then, Jesus showed up. Read aloud John 20:26-29 to see Thomas’ reaction. Emphasize that when Jesus appeared, His reaction was not to lecture Thomas for his unbelief. Instead, Jesus invited Thomas to “put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless but believe” (John 20:27). ASK: How does Thomas respond to Jesus (reference verse 28)? Notice Thomas immediately recognizes that Jesus is God. Read aloud John 20:29 again. ASK: Do you feel blessed that you believe Jesus is God, even though you haven’t seen Him in human form? Why or why not? Do you ever doubt Jesus is who He says He is? Why or why not? It’s not easy to have faith that Jesus is all He says He is. We all need to see the Lord more clearly than we do. This is why it’s good to take time to explore and learn who He is.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 11 picture, “God,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Ask Jesus to show you ways you can see Him as God this Christmas season.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “GOD” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect on all of the ways we can see God in this Christmas season.

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Holy One — • —

On a sheet of paper, write “BABY” vertically. Next to each letter, write something about babies that starts with that letter (i.e., B: bottles). Then, turn the sheet over and write “HOLY” vertically, also writing a word relating to holiness next to each letter. (This may be more challenging.) Point out that we rarely think of babies as being “holy.” Crying, diapers, and spit up don’t seem very awe-inspiring. Yes, even as a baby on that first Christmas, Jesus was our Holy God. Read aloud Isaiah 43:15-19. Explain that when God spoke these words to the people of Israel, they were in need of some hope. He wanted to remind His people who He is—Holy, Creator, and King. He wanted them to hold on because Jesus was coming. God promised to send a Messiah, one who was holy. “Holy” means to be separate or different. There is no one else like Jesus and there is no one else who can do what Jesus can.

ASK: How is Jesus holy (keep in mind the lessons you’ve already learned this week?) Discuss ways we can see a Holy God in this Christmas season. Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 12 picture, “Holy One,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss how your family members feel about Jesus being our Holy God and Lord.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “OUR HOLY ONE” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect today that Jesus isn’t just holy—He is our Holy One.

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Unspeakable Gift — • —

Guide each family member to draw a picture of the gift they want most for Christmas and then show their picture to the family. Family members should guess the item in each picture. When each family member has had a turn, spend a little time talking about the best Christmas present each of you has ever received. Read 2 Corinthians 9:12-15 aloud, then explain that the people in Corinth were being commended for the ways they served. Their service helped with physical needs, but it also showed God that they were thankful for who He is. Look at verse 15. This verse is talking about Jesus, who He is, and what He gave us. To be in a relationship with God is an indescribable gift! Discuss how the gift of Jesus is different than the gift each of you wants for Christmas. Explain that Jesus is the best gift this world has ever received and is the best gift we can give to others. To help people understand who Jesus is— that’s the best Christmas present we have. One way we can tangibly show God’s love to others this year is by participating in Brentwood Baptist’s Christmas Project! Today is the deadline for donating items, but you can also sign up to deliver items to people in need…and this may give you a great opportunity to share with people the greatest Christmas gift of all—Jesus! For more information on The Christmas Project, go to BrentwoodBaptist.com/ChristmasProject.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 13 picture, “Unspeakable Gift,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss how Jesus is the best gift!

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “BEST GIFT EVER!” on a sticky note as a reminder that Jesus really is the perfect gift to us.

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Servant — • —

Discuss a time when your family experienced an employee at a store, restaurant, amusement park, etc., who went above and beyond to serve you. ASK: When has someone in our own family done something to help you when they didn’t have to? How did that make you feel?

ASK: Have you ever thought about Jesus as a servant? When He was with us on earth, Jesus was always giving to people. He healed, cast out demons, and took care of physical needs. He even raised people from the dead! In response to this, people wanted to kill Him. Read aloud Matthew 12:14-21. ASK: What do these verses tell us about Jesus? Jesus loved us so much that He went all the way to His death without complaining. We know that Jesus struggled with the choice before Him. Right before His arrest, He asked the Father if there might be another way. However, this wasn’t a complaint. It was just an honest understanding of how hard it was going to be. Lead your family to consider when they last did a chore or went out of their way to help someone else without complaining. Admit that it is hard to serve others! Take a moment to thank Jesus for what He did, as a servant, for each of you.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 14 picture, “Servant,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Reflect today on the meaning of this passage: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight.”

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “JESUS SERVES ME. I WILL SERVE HIM!” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect on ways you can serve Him today.

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Lord of Lords — • —

ASK: What is a “Lord?” Explain that lords were in charge of people and lands, kind of like a king. Jesus is described as Lord of Lords. ASK: What do you think “Lord of Lords” means? At Christmas, we focus on the baby Jesus who seems serene and bubbly, as all babies do. Yet, in the book of Revelation, we learn about Jesus returning to earth. This time when He comes, He will not be a baby, but a king in all His glory. He will fight for us and get rid of pain, hurt, and evil once and for all. Read aloud Revelation 17:14. Evil will try to win, just like it tried to win when Jesus was nailed to the cross, but He will always conquer in the end. He is the one in charge of everything! Listen to “Lord of Lords” performed by Hillsong: Tinyurl.com/lordoflords. (If your children are young or have trouble listening, encourage them to draw a picture as they listen.)

ASK: What stands out to you in this song? Why would we want to worship the Lord of Lords? Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 15 picture, “Lord of Lords,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Think about what it will be like to be a follower of Jesus who is with Him all the way to the end.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “I WORSHIP THE LORD OF LORDS” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that Jesus is the one in charge of everything.

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The Amen — • —

At a table, play a special version of “Two Truths and a Lie.” Each person makes three statements about himself or herself (i.e. chocolate ice cream is my favorite). One of these statements should be a lie. Family members then try to identify the lie. Here’s what makes this version special. When someone correctly guesses the lie, the person who made the statements should slap the table and shout, “So be it!” Repeat as many times as desired. Say: In the Bible, there is a word that literally means, “So be it!” Any idea what that word is? Hint: we usually say it at the end of prayers. (Answer: Amen.) We often think of “amen” as the exclamation point at the end of a prayer, but it is a way of acknowledging (by saying “so be it”) that we are putting our words in front of God. Read aloud Revelation 3:14, then explain that God speaks these words just before saying that it is better to be all in or all out for Jesus than inbetween (verses 15-16). Before God told us these hard words, we needed to be reminded of His position. He is the one who is most important and can say hard things to us. ASK: Why would God want us to be all in for Him? How does it make you feel that God is the Amen?

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 16 picture, “The Amen,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. As you do, shout, “So be it!”

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “SO BE IT!” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Make this your exclamation today: God said it. I believe it. That settles it.

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Eternal Life — • —

Set today’s Rope Challenge picture and place it in the middle of the family. Briefly discuss why this picture symbolizes eternal life. Remind your family that in the Garden of Eden, there were two trees—one was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and another one was called the tree of life. God made Adam and Eve leave the garden after they sinned and before they could eat from the tree of life. Eating the fruit from that tree meant you would live forever and never die. Because they had sinned, they were no longer worthy of eternal life. Much later, Jesus came to earth to bring us back into relationship with God. This time around, a piece of fruit wasn’t going to be enough. God Himself needed to be the sacrifice because there’s nothing we could do to bring our innocence back. (It would be like trying to unsee a movie you’ve already seen.) Emphasize that we often tell others that Jesus died to give us eternal life, but He actually is eternal life! Read 1 John 1:1-3 aloud. ASK: Does eternal life excite you or bore you? Explain that having eternal life may or may not sound exciting, but a relationship with the One who is eternal life may bring more comfort.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 17 picture, “Eternal Life,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss the blessing of being in a relationship with the one who is eternal life.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “JESUS IS ETERNAL LIFE” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded today that not only does Christ offer eternal life—it is the nature of who He is.

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Friend — • —

Use a marker or pen to draw some “Friends” like the ones in this picture. Have fun making up stories about these friends, giving them names, etc. Then, briefly discuss real friends you each have.

ASK: Have you ever thought of Jesus as your friend? Why or why not? Read aloud John 15:14-17, then discuss these questions: What do these verses say about Jesus as our friend? How does it make you feel that Jesus chose you to be His friend? Why does He tell us to love each other? Do you consider Him to be your friend?

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 18 picture, “Friend,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Read aloud John 15:15, then discuss what it means to each of you personally.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “HE CALLS US FRIEND” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded that Jesus could have called us slaves, demanding we follow Him and do His will. Instead, He calls us friends, giving us the choice to accept His friendship.

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Deliverer & Redeemer — • —

Watch this video about the “Christmas Scale”: Tinyurl.com/ChristmasScale14.

ASK: Why is the simple phrase “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” the best news? Read aloud Psalm 18:1-2. This psalm was written by King David when his life was saved long before Jesus came to earth. David knew he was delivered from physical death. ASK: When Jesus came to earth, what did He deliver us from? What does it mean that He is our Deliverer and Redeemer? David knew that God took care of him and rescued him. In these verses, he uses other names to describe the Lord as well. Make a list of these names and briefly discuss the significance of each one. As a family, discuss what God has delivered each of you from. Praise Him for redeeming you and bringing you back into a relationship with Him! Finish your time together by singing “Joy to the World!”

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 19 picture, “Deliverer and Redeemer,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Read Romans 11:26 aloud. What a great reminder that Jesus came to redeem and bring us back to Him. When we believe in Him, we are delivered from a life without Him!

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “Joy to the World” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Be reminded that Jesus came both as Deliverer and Redeemer.

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Messiah — • —

Tape several sheets of paper together, end to end, to make a timeline from creation to Jesus. Consider looking up dates and events on BibleHub.com/timeline. (You won’t be able to include everything.) Here are some important events you will want to include: creation, sin, the flood, Moses and the Ten Commandments, judges and prophets (noting the people’s lack of direct access to God), Israel’s continued rebellion, and King David. As an option, simply look through the lineage of Jesus in Matthew 1, stopping to discuss different people as you read. Throughout the Old Testament, there were a lot of mistakes made, and there were a lot of rules to follow, just to be right with God. In the midst of all of the broken rules, sin, and punishment, God promised to send a Messiah, or Savior. God’s people were looking forward to this very much! But, when Jesus came, He wasn’t the type of Messiah they were expecting. Some were looking for a ruler to make their lives better. Others wanted a king to replace the foreign government that ruled over them. Still, others were hoping to be freed from all the rules they had to follow, but very few people were looking for someone who would make our relationship right with God. Even Jesus’ best friends didn’t understand! Read aloud Mark 8:27-30. ASK: Who did most people think Jesus was? What did Peter say? If you had lived during Jesus’ time on earth, do you think you would have known He was the Messiah? How?

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 20 picture, “Messiah,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss how you know Jesus is your Messiah.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “Messiah” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect on all that Jesus has saved you from.

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Light of the World — • —

Watch this video of Christmas lights synchronized to “Carol of the Bells” ( Tinyurl.com/lightsbells ) or drive around looking at Christmas lights. Christmas lights are festive and fun. They are also a great representation of a name that Jesus called Himself: The Light of The World. Read aloud John 8:12. Jesus shows us the way to the Father and becomes a light to help us to see who He really is. ASK: Why would Jesus call Himself the Light of the World? What do you think it means that when we follow Jesus, we will never walk in darkness? What does it mean to have the light of life? Discuss how Christmas lights can help us remember that Jesus is the Light of the World.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 21 picture, “Light of the World,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss what light does to darkness, specifically remembering what the decorative Christmas lights did in the darkness and that Jesus is the Light of the World.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “HE IS THE LIGHT” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect today that Jesus doesn’t just show us the light— He is the Light!

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Alpha & Omega — • —

As your family gathers, play a Christmas song about snow, such as “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” or “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” While you listen, guide family members to each draw a Christmas scene based on the song. Many of the drawings may include snow. Emphasize that many people in the United States think about snow when they talk about Christmas. Go to Tinyurl.com/realsnowflakes and look at the photos of individual snowflakes that Alexey Kjatov took using macrophotography. Notice that each snowflake is unique, as well as intricate. Look back at your family’s drawings, then discuss how incredible it is that each individual snowflake in that pile of snow is as unique and intricate as the ones in the photos. Why would God go to the trouble of creating such beautiful intricacies that we can’t even see? He sums it up pretty well by telling us another of His names. Read aloud Revelation 1:8. Explain that this name means, “The Beginning and the End.” God existed before creation and will continue to exist until the end of time and beyond. He is the One mighty enough to bother with the gorgeous intricacies of snowflakes. There is no end to the way Jesus will show Himself to us. ASK: How do these intricate snowflakes show us that God has always been? How does it make you feel to know that God has always been and always will be? Point out how amazing it is that Jesus knew before the creation of the earth that He would be born in order to die to conquer death.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 22 picture, “Alpha and Omega,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss how Jesus existed before we were born, He is with us now, and He will be waiting for those who worship Him until the end.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “BEGINNING AND END” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror as a reminder that Jesus is the one who was, who is, and who always will be. Reflect on that today.

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DECEM B ER 23

Faithful & True — • —

Play some instrumental Christmas music in the background as you give each family member a piece of paper. Guide them to create a new “Christmas slogan.” (If this is too challenging, work together to create one slogan.) Point out that we know Christmas will come every year, and we can set aside time each year to celebrate the birth of Christ. This is the definition of faithful. Listen as the words paint a picture in your mind. Read aloud Revelation 19:11-14. This is not the picture of a baby in a manger. This does not make us sing, “Silent Night.” This feels more like an actionpacked movie! Jesus shows up with the name, “Faithful and True,” ready to wage war on evil. He has fire coming out of His eyes and a sword coming out of His mouth. He’s wearing a robe that bears the blood He shed on the cross and has “King of Kings, Lord of Lords” written on His thigh. He is amazing, powerful, and triumphant. He is Faithful and True. Jesus was Faithful and True to come to earth to save us, being fully God and fully man. He is also Faithful and True to come again to get rid of evil once and for all. ASK: How does this change the way you think about Christmas? How does this change the way you think about Jesus?

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 23 picture, “Faithful and True,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Reflect on Revelation 19:15.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write your family’s Christmas slogan on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror. Reflect today on Jesus as Faithful and True.

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DECEM B ER 24

Jesus — • —

Begin your time together by watching this video: Tinyurl.com/jesusnames. (If you have a family member who can’t read, read aloud the words as they come.) Walk over to your rope and review the names of Jesus you have learned this month. Lead each family member to share the name of Jesus that stood out to them the most and why that name is so important to them. Remind your family that all of these names are titles we call the Lord. Yet, the angel that came to visit Mary said another name. Read aloud Luke 1:31-33. It was the name His parents screamed later when they couldn’t find Him because He stayed back at the temple. It was the name His friends called Him. And this name was “Jesus.” More accurately they called Him, “Yeshua,” which means, “God saves.” This name sums up all the other names. He is our salvation. He saves us when we put our trust and faith in Him. Talk with your family about what salvation means. Celebrate what Jesus has saved you from or discuss how your children can also experience the same saving knowledge of Jesus if they haven’t yet. Give everyone an opportunity to share, discuss, and pray.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 24 picture, “Jesus,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Read Luke 2:21 aloud. Reflect on who Jesus is and why we truly celebrate the Christmas holiday.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “GOD SAVES” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror as a reminder that Jesus came to be our salvation. Reflect on that today.

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DECEM B ER 2 5

Baby — • —

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. He came as a tiny baby to be our salvation. Among your other family traditions today, take a moment to sing “Happy Birthday” to our Savior. You might even decide to set aside a dessert to be His birthday cake. Read aloud Luke 2:1-18 and reflect on the power of this day.

Rope Challenge:

Attach the December 25 picture, “Baby,” to a clothespin and hang on your rope. Discuss how crazy it is to think that the same Lord, who has fire coming out of His eyes in Revelation 19, came as a helpless baby. He had to come as a baby, or else there is no way He could be fully God and fully man. Think about baby Jesus today.

Sticky Note Bathroom:

Write “I LOVE YOU” on a sticky note and place on or near your bathroom mirror as a reminder that you love Jesus and that He loves you. Reflect on that today.

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Profile for Brentwood Baptist Church

2020 Advent Guide  

2020 Advent Guide