Talk about joy. As we walk through these days leading up to Christmas, how much joy do we see in the faces of people around us or in each other? Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (NASB). We can’t order a dozen “joy” for Christmas and charge it on a credit card. What is joy and how do we get it?


Sing: “Joy to the World”


Prayer time: Let’s pray each day that the joy we know, the joy that is in our hearts, will be reflected in our faces. “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15, TEV).


Thought for the week: “For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace” (Isaiah 55:12, NASB).


This would be a good time to begin assembling a nativity scene in your home. Place a small barn or stable in a prominent location where it will be noticed. Put a cow and the manger in the shed. Sprinkle straw all around.

 

Fourth Sunday in Advent


Theme: God’s Gift


Sing: “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus”


Reading

First reader: We have gathered together today to light the fourth candle on our Advent wreath. But before we do let’s relight the other three candles and be reminded of each message.

First child: (Relight first candle.) On the first Sunday of Advent we lit a candle to remind us to get our hearts ready for the coming of Jesus.

Second child: (Relight second candle.) On the second Sunday we lit the candle of love.

Another child: (Relight third candle.) We lit the third candle to remind us that the angels sang “news of great joy.”

First reader: Today’s candle makes the whole wreath bright. This candle reminds us of the giving part of Christmas.

Second reader: God has given us many gifts. Sometimes we try to count our blessings and the list is always long. But of all His gifts, none is greater than the gift of His Son Jesus. In giving us His Son He gave us himself.

Another family member: (Light the fourth candle.) I light this candle on the fourth Sunday in Advent to remind us of God’s gift.

First reader: 2 Corinthians 4:6: “God, who first ordered light to shine in darkness, has flooded our hearts with his light. We now can enlighten men only because we can give them knowledge of the glory of God, as we see it in the face of Jesus Christ” (Phillips).

Talk about love turning into a specific person — Christ, the gift, expresses himself in love. What can we give Him? Find ways to give ourselves with our gifts.


Sing: “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” paying special attention to verse three.


Prayer time: Ask God to help you understand real giving, which is the gift of yourselves. Offer to be available as a package to be given again and again wherever He needs you in His service.


Thought for the days between now and Christmas: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, KJV).

While we are wrapping gifts, let us remember God’s gift to us.


Advent Wreath Cake


This is a nice and easy dessert to make and serve on the first Sunday of Advent or during the season.