Posted by: molly | January 12, 2013

Finishing What I Started

I always have an excuse. It is pretty common for people like me who never get anywhere on time. I used to feel a need to try to justify my lateness every time but I have been learning that a sincere apology is usually more helpful than a list of everything that went wrong for you that morning. I was late, and I am sorry for any problems that it caused.

So, it has been over a month since I post my daily posts about advent. I was busy, I did not post, and I am sorry. But, I was very excited about this project and I would like to finish it, if only on principle at this point (since it is well into January at this point…). So, without further ado I will continue on my advent project, a little late sans excuses (and boy I could tell you some crazy ones!).

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Posted by: molly | December 9, 2012

The Candle of Faith: The Bethlehem Candle

Right before Jesus was born, God’s people were still not ready to celebrate Christmas. They did not know that the promised Son was coming soon. At that time, Caesar Augustus, the man who ruled over most of God’s people, had ordered that everybody had to go back to the town they were from. Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, were headed back to a city named Bethlehem.

This trip wasn’t a vacation. They had to walk or ride a donkey the whole trip since there were no cars or trains or airplanes. Added to this, Mary was very pregnant making it hard and dangerous for her and the baby to travel. This was a scary time but Mary and Joseph had faith that even though going to Bethlehem didn’t seem like a good thing, God was in control. What they didn’t know was God had always planned to have his Son be born in Bethlehem. In fact, hundreds of years before his prophets had already said that was were the Son would be born. God had it all planned out as Mary and Joseph trusted God to send them to Bethlehem.Image

Posted by: molly | December 9, 2012

Abraham: A Covenant with God’s People

Abraham was a man who followed the way of God. When God told Abraham to leave his home and travel to a new land, Abraham followed what God told him to do even though it was hard. When he finally arrived, God promised that all the land that he could see would belong to his children’s children’s children. God promised that Abraham would be a great nation–that his family would be as many as the stars in the sky and one day in his family the promised Son would come to save the world.

Abraham wanted to believe God’s promise but it was very hard since Abraham and his wife Sarah couldn’t have any children. Since Sarah knew she couldn’t have children she convinced Abraham to have a child with Sarah’s slave Hagar. This son was named Ishmael, but this was not the son that God had promised to Abraham. God came to Abraham again and said that Abraham and Sarah would have a son. When Sarah heard this she laughed because she was too old to have any children. But God always keeps his promises, so even though it was impossible, Sarah had a son whom they named Isaac because it means “laughter.”

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Posted by: molly | December 7, 2012

Noah: The Line Preserved

As time passed more and more people on the earth began to follow the way of the serpent instead of the way of God.  This made God angry and he decided to send a flood to destroy the people of the earth.  However, there was one man named Noah who followed the way of God with his family.  God told Noah that he was to build a huge boat, called an ark, in order to save himself and his family.  So Noah obeyed God and started to build.  

 

The people around Noah made fun of him and thought he was crazy.  It had never rained before and no one could see how this huge boat would help Noah.  Since they followed the way of the serpent they did not believe that God planned to cover the earth with water.

 

Finally Noah finished the ark.  God told him to bring two of every type of animal into the ark.  Noah obeyed and he and his family got on the boat full of stinky animals, trusting God.  When they got inside they couldn’t close the door so God closed it for them.  Then it started to rain.  And rain.  And rain.  It rained for 40 days and 40 nights, until the whole world was covered in water.  When the flood water went down and Noah and his family could finally get out of the ark all the people who were following the way of the serpent had died.  Only those following the way of God, Noah and his family, were saved from the flood.  God promised Noah that he wasn’t going to destroy the world again, but next time was going to send a Son to save it from the way of the serpent.  As he made this promise he sent a rainbow in the sky to remind his people of his great plan to save his people.

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Posted by: molly | December 6, 2012

Enoch: The Man Who Walked with God

In time Adam and Eve got very, very old and their bodies died.  Seth grew old and died too as did his sons and grandsons.  All people were born spiritually deal–they all kept sinning and could not stop–and now people grew old and their bodies died too.  

 

Enoch was a man who followed God’s way.  He was not perfect but he did follow God.  Enoch lived 365 years and walked with God.  However Enoch never grew old and died like those before him.  He simply was not longer there because God took him.Image

Posted by: molly | December 5, 2012

Cain and Abel: The Way of the Serpent and the Way of God

Since God’s garden was perfect and Adam and Eve were now cursed with sin they had to leave their perfect home with only a promise that one day a Son would come to fix their brokeness.

Now that they left the garden Adam had to work hard to make plants grow in order to eat.  When God blessed them with a son he was not simply created like Adam and Eve.  He was born as a baby who should have brought  joy but now brought pain as well.  Adam and Eve named the baby Cain, thinking that he would fulfill God’s promise to fix the world.  But Cain didn’t follow the ways of God–he followed the way of the evil serpent who had lied to Eve and had led Adam and Eve to die.  In time, Eve had another son named Abel.  Abel followed the ways of God.

One time Cain and Abel decided to give a gift to God.  Cain did not listen to God, who told him that his gift to God should be a lamb to remind Cain of God’s promise.  Cain didn’t care what God wanted so he brought him plants instead.  God knew that Cain did not care about following His ways so God did not accept Cain’s sacrifice.  After Cain was done Abel came and followed God’s way, giving a lamb as a picture of the God’s promise.  God saw Abel’s heart and accepted Abel’s sacrifice.

This made Cain angry.  In fact, Cain became so angry that he killed his brother Abel.  This was a terrible act–something like what the evil serpent would do.  Because Cain followed the way of the serpent instead of the way of God, Cain was sent away from God’s followers.  Cain’s children followed in this evil way.

Adam and Eve were very sad.  Abel was dead and they now knew that Cain would not save them.  At this time God gave Adam and Eve another son whom the named Seth.  Seth would not save them but God’s promise was still true because one day one of Seth’s children’s children’s children many years later would come as the promised Son to fix the brokeness.ImageImage

Posted by: molly | December 4, 2012

Adam and Eve: The Promise of Messiah

God’s world was perfect but he decided that Adam was lonely.  There was nothing else quite like Adam and he needed someone to complete him.  So God created him a wonderful gift:  Eve, the mother of all living. 

Things were going well.  They lived in a beautiful garden with animals that never hurt them and fruit that was never to high for them to reach.  Nothing ever died or got hurt or sick.  Everything was perfect.  God gave them just one rule so they could obey God.  They could eat anything they wanted except the fruit of a single tree.  If they ate of this tree they would die.

One day as Eve gather fruit in the garden an evil serpent came to her.  He lied to Eve, promising that she would not die if she ate the forbidden fruit.  Eve believed this lie and she and Adam ate.  That night when God came to speak to Adam and Eve they felt ashamed.  They had never realized before that they were naked.

God knew what they had done and his heart broke.  He knew that his children had already died.  They were still breathing but their hearts were dead because they had learned to sin and now they could not stop their sinning.  But God still loved them.  Their sin had brought a curse:  disease and pain and death.  But God gave them a promise.  One day he would send a Son would fix everything–someone who could stop death and save us all.Image

Posted by: molly | December 3, 2012

Creation: God’s Perfect World Created

In the beginning there was nothing.  There was no earth, no sun, no moon.  There wasn’t even light or darkness.  There was only nothing.  Over this nothingness was God.  He had always been there since he has no beginning and no end–only foreverness.  While God was over this nothingness he began to speak.  He called out light and darkness.  He sang a beautiful song and there was a moon and an earth.  He hung stars in the sky and scattered the world with plants and birds.  He filled the sea with fish and the earth with animals of all different kinds.  At the end he made something (or rather someone) very special.  God made Adam unlike anything else.  Adam was made in God’s likeness, like a mirror reflecting a part of God.  God looked at all that he created and declared it good.  He created a perfect world.  Content with his work, he rested the seventh day of the week as he watched this perfect world.

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Posted by: molly | December 2, 2012

Hope: The Prophet’s Candle

Hope:  The Prophet's Candle

Long ago God’s people didn’t celebrate Christmas. They didn’t celebrate Advent. They were not ready to celebrate. They were still waiting.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden God made them a promise: he would send a perfect Son to fix all the brokenness that entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned. But God chose to show his glory by waiting to send that Son. Actually he waited for many years. But always God’s people trusted that God would fix the world that man broke.

This candle represents the hope of the prophets–those who taught the promise of the coming Son. Their hope shinned like a light even in the long and dark time as God’s people waited on God.

Posted by: molly | December 2, 2012

Advent: A Celebration of the Coming King

During the past few years our family has been developing some traditions for Advent–the weeks leading up to Christmas. We started with a Jesse Tree, which uses Old Testament stories of Jesus’ ancestors to prepare us for the coming of Christ. Last year we added an Advent wreath were a candle is lit the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Admittedly the past few years have had their share of off the cuff Bible stories. However, somehow the story of Perez needs some, um, careful consideration when trying to explain to children. And honestly, it takes some thought to see how all the stories lead to Christ. So, over the past year I have been working on writing out the stories and the meanings of the Advent wreath.

I have also done quite a bit of research on Advent. My conclusion: everybody does is differently. They use different colored candles, different stories on the Jessie Tree, different traditions for pretty much everything. So my long time quest for the Advent standard has been rather fruitless. Oh well. I am sharing these stories in the hope that they may help spur some thought over the meaning of the time leading up to Christmas. Use them as they help, ignore them if you wish, but most of all, think about the Advent where we celebrate the coming King!

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