The blog home of speaker and writer Mindy von Atzigen

The blog home of speaker and writer Mindy von Atzigen I am a lover of words, Jesus, and His church. I am also a wife, a mom, and a friend. I hope you'll consider me yours...

Advent Devotional, Week One

Author's Note:  As a mother of four children, spread out in ages by 7 years from the oldest to the youngest, I have often felt that family devotionals either speak to my younger children or speak to my older children.  It's sometimes difficult to engineer a discussion that involves them all.  So, this Christmas, I would like to provide my readers with an Advent resource that can potentially spark dialogue with all the people in your house, no matter what their age! 

To that end, I will be posting a family devotional, one for each week of Advent, throughout the month of December.  May you be blessed as each of you find ways to prepare your hearts for the celebration of our King's birth.  Merry Christmas!

Week 1 Advent Devotional - "Identity"

Opening Question: What is your favorite nickname you’ve ever been given?

Begin by showing your younger children the two sections of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament. 

ASK [younger children]:  Which part of the Bible do we find stories about Jesus?  (New Testament)

ASK [older children]:  Which part of the Bible is your favorite to read, the Old Testament, or the New Testament?  Why?

It's true that the stories of Jesus are found in the New Testament, but the Old Testament talks about Him, too!  It may not use the name Jesus, but it does mention other names that Jesus goes by.  Just like you have a nickname (refer to your child's name here), Jesus has other names.  And when they are mentioned, we know God is talking about His son, Jesus.  See if you can find His names in this Scripture from the Old Testament.

READ:  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7

WRITE:  Let the children write the names of Jesus down on a piece of paper as they find them in the Scripture.  They may enjoy decorating it.  When you're finished with the devotional, hang this in a place they will see it throughout the week.

ASK [younger children]:  Were these good nicknames for Jesus?  How is He these things?

ASK [older children]:  Which of these names of Jesus is meaning the most to you in your life right now and why?

*  If you have younger children, this could be a good place to pray out loud as a family, giving thanks for the way Jesus is these things in your lives.  Older children can continue on with the following discussion.

When people give nicknames, it's often meant to tease or poke fun.  When God gives nicknames, it's to build people up.  He changed Abram ("Father") to Abraham ("Father of Many").  He changed Jacob ("Deceiver") to Israel ("Prince of God").  He changed Simon ("Reed") to Peter ("Rock.")

ASK:  Is there a label you've been given by the world that makes you feel small?  It might be a nickname, but it might also just be an attitude that you feel other people associate with you (i.e.  lazy, nerdy, etc.). 

READ:  "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it."  - Revelation 2:17

There will be a day when God will let you know your name that He has for only YOU!  You may not know exactly what the name is right now, but you can get to know His heart for you and what He thinks about you.  Let's pray and ask Him to speak to us tonight about what He calls each of us.  Let's allow that to take precedence in our hearts over anything the world or other people might try to label us.

Close with prayer over your children.  Parents, this is a great opportunity to bless your children with words of life!