Reading: John 1 verses 1 – 15
Thought: Some people are absolutely brilliant at reading maps and following directions: tell them the names of the roads, the general direction they should be travelling and, with little or no bother at all, they get to where they need to go. I really wish that was me too, but it’s not. My sense of direction isn’t always great and most days, I’m winning if I can even remember the name of the road I live on.
So, if I need to go somewhere, I tend not to think about road numbers or names but rather, I look out for landmarks or buildings or anything that’s big, easily seen and pretty memorable, to help to point me in the right direction. Ideal instructions would include: ‘Drive till you see McDonald’s then turn left; continue on until the fire station where you need to turn left again; stay on the road till you come to the bright pink building, then turn right.’ You see what I mean? I suppose, I like to keep it simple – the easier to remember or spot, the easier it is for me to find my way to where I need to go!
When we start on any journey, it is really important to know where we’re headed and also, how to get there, otherwise, we would just get lost.
Advent is a little bit like a journey. It takes us from the beginning of December right up until Christmas day itself and, as we do so, we use a lot of sign posts or ‘landmarks’ (though, I suppose since the Bible is a book we could call them ‘bookmarks’ ;o) )to show us the way. Working through the Bible, we get to see how Christmas isn’t just focused around a wee part of tbe Bible in the New Testament, but in actual fact, it’s there the whole way through – the plans for the journey to Bethlehem began before the world itself, a journey that goes way beyond the stable, as we realise just why Jesus came that first Christmas.
In John 1 we are reminded that before the beginning of the world, Jesus was in heaven with God. Before He came to earth as a baby, He was with God when He created the world and so, He would have known the incredible plan for His life, even before He was born in the stable in Bethlehem. (Just how mind-blowing is that?!) John 1 also reminds us that there would be signs for the people to let them know about Jesus’ ministry – the people would hear from John the Baptist, who would tell them that someone was coming that they needed to listen to.
As we journey through this season of advent, when there’s so much else going on, we want to be able to pause for just a few moments each day and remind ourselves exactly what the real reason is behind all this excitement and, as we do so, to look at just some of those key signs or ‘bookmarks’ along the way: helping us to remember just what Christmas is all about and how, it’s not just about a gift for under the Christmas tree, but One that can be ours for eternity.
Carol of the Day: Joy Has Dawned
Advent Activity: Set up our little Nativity scene and create some little Advent pals to join us on our journey – ’cause it’s always nice to have company for the journey!
Materials Needed: Pine cones, wooden beads (play doh or similar would also work), felt/ material/ or coloured paper or card, glue, scissors, pens.
- Draw face on the wooden bead.
- Stick bead on to top of pine cone.
- Using material/ card (whichever you’ve chosen) draw on and cut out little feet, a scarf and a cone shape to make a little hat (it’s cold you know ;o) ). The world is your oyster with this one: let the little people get creative with their little person, making him or her completely unique, just like them.
- Attach the feet, scarf and hat using glue.
- Name your little Advent pal. (Not essential!)