Resources for Advent 2017

Have you planned how you’ll spend time celebrating the good news of Jesus this Advent season?

We want to help you engage this season intentionally, before it slips away.

Over the next several weeks we will be preaching through Colossians in our new series, Good News of Great Joy. We will also sing, light Advent candles, and read through the story of Christ’s first coming together. 

Beyond that, we would encourage you to spend a few minutes making a plan now to intentionally slow down and savor the goodness of Jesus though this season.


Advent Community Guide

This new guide from Saturate provides one devotional reading for each week of Advent, and one for Christmas Day. This resource can be used as a devotion for families or in gospel communities on mission. Each devotion contains a passage of Scripture, a brief reflection on that passage, sample prayers to guide the prayers of children and adults, and hymns to sing together to give voice to your praises and longings.

This resource coincides with the incarnation stories in The Jesus Storybook Bible. Coloring sheets for each week are available.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Advent Guide

A guided journey of wonder through The Jesus Storybook Bible tracing the beautiful story of God’s great love for us–from the very beginnings of the universe, to the birth of the baby who would rescue the whole world. This guide includes: a reading guide, printable ornaments, and activity ideas.

Desiring God

Desiring God has several great daily Advent devotionals and resources that aim to put Jesus at the center of your holiday season. 

Come Lord Jesus Come: A Devotional for Advent

This is a free resource by Nathan Sherman and Will Walker that contains daily devotions built around four themes, one for each week of advent; hope, peace, joy, and love.

Come Let Us Adore Him

Paul Tripp seeks to recapture our attention and reawaken our awe during Christmastime. Each day is structured like Tripp’s best-selling devotional, New Morning Mercies‚ with a compelling, gospel-centered thought followed by an extended meditation for the day. Each of the thirty-one devotions also includes a Scripture reading and notes for parents and children, equipping us to do the one thing that matters most each December — celebrate Jesus.

Advent Conspiracy

Check out the Advent Conspiracy website to read through the four tenants; worship fully, spend less, give more, love all. Browse through the site for a family devotional along with other ideas on how to engage this season with intentionality.


Christmas Day

On this Christmas Day we lit a candle for CHRIST and read the following from Matthew 1:18-25:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.


Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We remember the good news that He came to redeem us from our transgressions, and that with Him there is “plentiful redemption.”

He is our Savior. He is Christ the King!

As we remember His first advent we anticipate the second coming of Christ. For we know that He is coming again to bring the work of reconciliation to completion, and all things will be made new.

On this Christmas Day, may we celebrate well. Full of Christ, may we go and proclaim the good news of the person and work of Jesus Christ to a lost and broken world.

Merry Christmas!

The Fourth Week of Advent: LOVE

On the fourth Sunday of Advent at Redemption Church we lit the candle of LOVE, and we read Isaiah 40:1-11 (ESV):

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.

Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Hear the good news that our LORD has come in love. His love is furious. He has lifted valleys and crushed mountains to reach out to us. He is mighty, majestic, and most glorious.

Yet, God’s love is also tender. Like a shepherd, He has gathers us as lambs into His arms. He carries us close to His chest; loving us dearly and deeply.

During this week of Advent, behold the love God has for us. As 1 John 4:9 (ESV) says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”

Please don’t skim over that verse. Don’t let familiarity rob you from feeling the depth of the love that has been manifested toward you. Surely, we can’t celebrate the birth of Jesus and not look toward the cross where He was “pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5 ESV). Jesus came to die in our place to lead us from certain death to life in the arms of our Father.

Beholding His love for us, may we love Him in how we love others. Reggie said it on Sunday, and it is true, “if we truly love people, we will point them to Jesus.”

Make this Christmas truly meaningful by spending some time to direct your heart’s focus on Jesus and giving others the best gift they can receive; Jesus.


Unwrapping God’s Presence: 3 Implications of Christ’s Incarnation

A Christmas Story is my favorite holiday movie. In the movie, Ralphie Parker is in eager pursuit of acquiring his “Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.” After numerous mishaps, warnings, and let-downs, Ralphie’s father surprises him with the gift on Christmas morning. This nostalgic film evokes memories for me of when I received my first Red Ryder BB gun (and when I gifted a Red Ryder to my own son just last year…thankfully, no eyes have been shot out!)

The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year to wax nostalgic, connect with loved ones, and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Often in the melee we find ourselves clumsily scrambling to unwrap the meaning, like Ralph in his pursuit of a bb gun. However, Advent graces us with the opportunity to dwell on the implications of Christ’s incarnation.

Throughout biblical history, God’s people anticipated the coming of the Christ. Numerous Old Testament prophets wrote expectantly foretelling his birth. The prophet writes in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This prophecy first refers to the birth of the prophet Isaiah’s own son Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz (whose name means “the spoil speeds, the prey hastens”) as a sign of God’s presence with His people during their military and political crisis a few hundred years before the time of Christ.

This prophecy also refers to the birth of Jesus, as the gospel writer affirms in Matthew 1:22-23, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.” Matthew wrote his gospel just a few decades after the life of Jesus during a time of continue political oppression and religious expectation.

This “double fulfillment” affirms that God is true to His word and also tells us something of the person and work of Jesus. Jesus is God incarnate, God with us, God dwelling with His people. There are several implications of this good news for us today.

3 Implications of Christ’s Incarnation

First, God relates by His presence. Jesus is how we know God the Father (John 1:18; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:2-3). Not only did God dwell with His people as Jesus the incarnate Christ, God continues to dwell with His people (Matt. 28:20; 2 Cor. 13:14). This good news defeats our loneliness and isolation and causes us to live with great joy with God and others (Psalm 16:11).

Second, God saves us by His presence. The name Jesus means “the Lord saves” (Matt. 1:21). God does not rescue His people by some outside, detached means. Rather, the Lord Himself personally rescues His people (Isa. 41:10; John 3:16-17). The good news defeats our fears and doubts and causes us to live in faith.

Third, God empowers us with His presence. The spread of the gospel and the good deeds of the saints is empowered by the Holy Spirit dwelling in and with God’s people. (1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:13-14). This good news defeats our inaction and indifference and fuels our obedience to live godly lives in service to others.

What is the state of your heart this Christmas season. Do you believe the good news of the presence of God with us? Are you responding in joy and repentance, in worship and obedience, in faith and action?

May this good news of Advent give us joyful faith, intimate hope, and bold obedience; for His glory, our joy, and the advancement of the gospel.

The Third Week of Advent: JOY

As we lit the third candle of JOY on the Advent wreath this week, Isaiah 9:1-7 was read:

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

1 Peter 2:9 says of we who are followers of Christ, that Jesus called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Once we walked in darkness, but we have seen a Great Light, and His name is Jesus. Who should rejoice more than the captive who has been set free?

On this third week of Advent, remember the good news of Jesus, and rejoice in the God of our salvation! In joy, may you run with the good news of our Savior, Jesus, to those who do not yet know Him.

The First Week of Advent: Hope

On Sunday we lit the first candle, a candle of HOPE, on the Advent wreath at Redemption Church. As the candle was lit we read this passage of Scripture from Isaiah 6:1-13 :

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
without inhabitant,
and houses without people,
and the land is a desolate waste,
and the LORD removes people far away,
and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
And though a tenth remain in it,
it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak,
whose stump remains
when it is felled.”
The holy seed is its stump.

The good news is that our God is holy, righteous, almighty, compassionate, merciful, and incredibly good. God in His power and love restored Isaiah and sent Him out with a message. While much of Isaiah’s message wasn’t pretty, God also sent him with a message of hope in that “Like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.”

It was out of this remnant of Israel, the “stump of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1), that Jesus came to fulfill all the promises God made to His people, Israel.

Advent is a season for taking pause to remember the first coming of Jesus, our Savior, who came to take away our guilt once and for all.

I’m praying that we all experience an Isaiah 6 moment in which we are given eyes to see the LORD and realize our own desperate condition.

May we come to the end of ourselves and find our hope in Jesus.

Advent is also a season of anticipation as we look forward to the second coming of Jesus. He will finish the work of restoring this broken world to Himself and for Himself. He has proven over and again that He is faithful to keep His promises.

May we celebrate Jesus by taking the hope we have found in Him to the many who are hopeless.

Today is the first day of December. Here are several great resources that will help you and your family engage the season of Advent with some intentionality as you count down the days until Christmas.