These are the last three visuals for the Old Testament:
Peace School - This week we learn about Advent, and why we spend four Sundays each year waiting for Christmas. Advent is not just the birth of Jesus, but remembering what the Jews were waiting for. They did not think to look for a child, born to a carpenter and young woman, from Nazareth. They were looking for God to save them from the Roman Empire's occupation, and from the powerful King Herod. They probably envisioned a child born into royalty like King Solomon. They might have envisioned a strong and skilled warrior and general like King David or Samson the judge. They might have hoped for a powerful prophet such as Elijah or Elisha or Moses. So when Jesus is described as the fulfillment of their hopes and the answer to their prayers, what does that mean for us today? Can our young children understand the hope that Jesus brings waging peace, talking to the shamed, healing the sick, loving the troubled, and challenging the privileged? In their daily lives, can we share the ways of Jesus that bring us closer to God? Jesus was (is) the clear reminder that God is with us - "Immanuel."
Read - This week read pages 110-123 to continue following along in your Shine On Story Bible through the year. This week's reading contains a lot of different people with God: prophet Elisha making Peace, King Josiah's revival, the fall of Jerusalem, return of Ezra and Nehemiah to Jerusalem, and Queen Esther in Persia.
Practice - Parents, here's an activity to do at home together during the week from Building Faith, an Anabaptist resource. As we prepare for the birth of baby Jesus, here's a reminder of how God uses all children to spread wisdom and truth - "Revealed to Infants."
Serve - While we anticipate getting gifts this next week before Christmas, how do you also give gifts to those beyond your relatives and friends? What is the meaning of Christmas as we consider our core values of Community, Simplicity, Peace and Service?
Pray - Consider reciting a version (or part) of Mary's Prayer from Luke 1:46-55. One is listed below, and another is found on page 160 in your Shine On Story Bible.
Mary's Song (Luke 1:46-55)
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’