A True Christmas

Christmas without all the hoopla…

Candles, Scripture, Prayer

 

This section is for those who want to do a devotional focused Advent, without the activities, crafts, and other items  listed.

Light the candle as given, read the Bible verse listed, and pray together.

For printable pages, go to Advent Fun Pages.

The Week of Hope

purple candle lit with silver decor around itOh, Lord, let us feel your presence now as we gather around this wreath.  As we light the first candle, may this time together remind us how your birth brought hope for all of mankind into the world. Let the lighting of each candle in this journey of Advent remind us of the hope, joy and love that the world cannot give us, as the true source of these can only be You. Grow gratitude and compassion in our hearts this month and always. Lord, show us the way to shine your bright light on those around us.

Sunday, Week 1

images adv pages candlesLight the candle of Hope, the purple candle.

Read Mathew 1:18-25 and Mathew 2:1-15.

Dear Lord, as we begin this period of Advent, let us be ever thankful for abundance and joyful in the hope of your coming birth.  We look forward with longing to the fulfillment of God’s promise that the Messiah would come and redeem us. May our thoughts and actions in this season and all year be pleasing to you.  Amen.

Monday, Week 1

images adv pages candlesLight the candle of Hope, the purple candle.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.   Romans 8:22-25

Lord, let our thoughts and deeds today reflect your love, generosity and grace.  We pray that you will grow the spirit of Christmas within us and spread your light to those around us. Amen.

SING together:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Mary Lu Walker, the Advent song

Tuesday, Week 1

images adv pages candlesLight the candle of Hope, the purple candle.

The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light…For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will be on His shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.”         Isaiah 9:2 & 6

Lord, as we buy gifts this year please let our motives be pure. Let us give gifts not to show our generosity to others but out of true gratitude for what you have given us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, Week 1

images adv pages candlesLight the candle of Hope, the purple candle.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”       Galatians 5:24

Father, you humbled yourself at birth in a straw filled manger and again as you hung on the cross. You humbled yourself for our sake alone. Lord, let us be as merciful and humble to others as you have been for us. Amen.

Thursday, Week 1

images adv pages candlesLight the candle of Hope, the purple candle

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.    Romans 12:9-13

 
Lord, we look forward to the celebration of your birthday, as we also look forward to your triumphant return when the trumpets will sound. We give ourselves fully to you today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, Week 1

images adv pages candlesLight the candle of Hope, the purple candle.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   Romans 15:13

Father, help us to focus today on the needs of others and less on our own selfish ambitions. Help us to remember your truth that the joy of giving is far greater than the joy of receiving. Please grow your generous spirit in us.      Amen.

Saturday, Week 1

images adv pages candlesLight the candle of Hope, the purple candle.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.   2 Thessalonians 2:16

Father in heaven, let us forget the cares of the world today and rejoice in your blessings. Fill our hearts with light and love and joy. Fill our cup to overflowing and draw us closer to you. Amen.

Week Two, the Week of Preparation

 

two lit purple pillar candles with silver decor around themOh, Lord, let us feel the light of your presence now as we gather around this wreath of lights.  As we light these two candles, may this time together help us to prepare our hearts for the wonder of your birth. Let the lighting of each candle along this journey of Advent remind us of the hope, joy and love the world cannot provide for us; the true source of these can only be you. Grow gratitude and compassion in our hearts this month and always. In His name we pray, Amen.

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation

Read Luke 1:26-38

Lord, we know the joy we feel today comes from you, and we are truly thankful. May our thoughts and actions today reflect our awareness that you are the source of all good things.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Monday, Week 2

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation.

Read Luke 1:39-56

Today and in every day of the holiday season we will focus on Jesus, the true gift of Christmas. Each time we give to others it is a gift to him. (Matthew 25:40) Help us to be kind, generous and merciful and to reflect His grace every day, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, Week 2

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation.

Read Luke 2:1-21

Father, open our eyes to those in need around us. Open our hearts to those who are suffering and cannot see the light of your love. Amen.

Wednesday, Week 2

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation.

Read Luke 2:22-35 and Luke 2:39-40.

Lord, shield us from giving out of obligation, and help us to give generously to others, from our hearts. Teach us to excel in this grace of giving of our time and attention. Lead us to cross paths with those who need us. In His precious name, Amen.

Thursday, Week 2

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation.

 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”       Matthew 2:1-2

Father, you have showered us with blessings. We are thankful, Lord, for all your blessings small and great. We are truly thankful for your sacrifice. Amen.

Friday, Week 2

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation.

Read Luke 2:36-40

Dear God, we are thankful that we can worship you now and we look forward with longing to the gift of your son. Amen.

Saturday, Week 2

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation.

Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”   Luke 6:38

O God of our heart, we thank you for this day. As we see the flame of the candles before us, we are grateful for all of the people who bring light into our lives. Help us to be a true blessing to family and friends. Open our eyes to the tiny blessings that are all around us.  In His name, Amen.

Week Three, the Week of Joy

lit candles, two purple one pink, silver wreath

 

Oh, Lord, let us feel your presence now as we gather around this wreath of lights.  As we light these candles, let us feel joy with hopeful anticipation of the birth of your truth and love into the world. Let the lighting of each candle this week light a flame of joy in our hearts. Grow the gratitude, love and compassion in our hearts this month and always. Amen.

Sunday, Week 3

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle.

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”  Philippians 4:6-8

Lord, we have so many things to worry about today in preparation for visitors, gifts, and Christmas day. Let us turn our worries into prayer today and simply rejoice (Phil 4:4-7). We know you hear our prayers, Father, every one. Amen.

Monday, Week 3

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.                1 Peter 1:6-9 (NIV)

Father in heaven, we rejoice in you. Our joy comes not from our circumstances but in knowing you are with us always. Lord, help us to focus our minds on praiseworthy things. Amen.

Tuesday, Week 3

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle.

 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 8:14-15

Read Luke 2:25-40, Psalm 16:7-11

Father, we feel your presence here with us now. Apart from you, there is no goodness and joy. We are truly thankful you came to the earth to save us. In your name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, Week 3

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.          Galatians 5:22-26

Lord, we are thankful for the blessings you have given us. We know we are owed nothing, and we deserve nothing. It is by your grace that we were born into this life of abundance. Let us have compassion for those who were born into lesser circumstances than our own. Yet we know the true source of our bounty and wonder at all we have been given. We are truly blessed. Amen.

Thursday, Week 3

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle.

Read Psalm 23

Oh comforting Savior, reveal those around us who are lonely, in pain and in need of our attention and love. Provide the healing and courage they may need at this difficult time of year. Help us to reach out to those in love who live alone or have suffered a recent loss. Amen.

 Friday, Week 3

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle.

Read Hebrews 1:6-9

Father in heaven, let us not become self-absorbed with the details of decorating, grocery and gift shopping, and Christmas cards. Help us to look beyond our own concerns and remember the deeper reason for lighting these special candles. Bring us beyond the daily frustrations and fill our hearts with the true joy that can only come from You, our perfect Savior. Let us carry your light and love to others, even in the small moments of the day. Amen.

Joy 

Jesus
      Others
            You

Saturday, Week 3

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle.

Read Psalm 5:10-12, Psalm 28:6-8, Psalm 90:13-15.

Father in heaven, we thank you for your love.  Today, let us carry a sense of how much you love us to give us such a gift as this beautiful day.  Let the awareness of your love encourage us to be more reverent in the tasks and thoughts of the day. Your glory fills our spirits. In your precious name, Amen.

Week Four, the Week of Love

four lit candles. three purple, one pink

Oh, Lord, let us feel the light of your presence now as we begin this final week of our Advent journey.  As we light these candles, fill our hearts with gratitude for our blessings and love for our fellow men. Lord, we thank you for these quiet moments of reflection we have shared together. Always in your grace, Amen.

Sunday, Week 4

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 6:27-38.

Let us reflect on the story of Jesus’ birth in a new way.  He was born into a feed trough and poverty. He was hunted and scorned by the powerful rulers of the time.  He grew up in obscurity. Yet He did not shun our imperfect world. He embraced our world and still desires to embrace us today. Father, help us draw closer to you as we wait and hope for your triumphant return. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Monday, Week 4

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And overall these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.    Colossians 3:12-14  

The Bible tells us that you said “I am the light of the world.” Let our thoughts and actions reflect the peace and love of Jesus this day. Bring His light into our home today and every day. Amen.

Tuesday, Week 4

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.    Galatians 5:12-15 (NIV)

Read Matthew 12:28-33, Romans 12:9-21

Lord, please guide us as we share our moments with those family and visitors who may be difficult for us to be with. Let these Advent prayers soften our hearts and allow us to better tolerate the differences we have. Transform our usual responses so we may let others see our faith and be touched by it. Let there be peace and joy in our home for all who enter. In your blessed name, Amen.

Wednesday, Week 4

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”    John 13:33-34 (NIV)

 Lord, please watch over our children. Grow their faith in you. Help them to focus on the right things this season despite all the secular activities going on around Christmas. Please put gratitude in their hearts for the gifts they receive. We ask this with faith and trust in you. Amen.

“Though dark be my way, since He is my Guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.”
John Newton

Thursday, Week 4

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”             1 Peter 4:8-10 (NIV)

Lord, show us the way to shine your bright light of hope and grace to those we meet each day. Let us be a shining example of Christian love to our family and friends. Let your grace touch those we love and strangers alike. In your precious name we pray, Amen.

Friday, Week 4

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.

 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.   1 Peter 4:7-12 (NIV)

Today we will put aside our selfish wants to celebrate the most giving and selfless person that ever existed. Please help us, Lord, to mold our hearts to be more like You, our perfect Savior. Amen.

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat;

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,

If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you.

Anonymous

Saturday, Week 4

Christmas Eve

image stable chrsitmas eve

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”   Matthew 2:1-2

 

images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.

But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.   I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”       2 Corinthians 8:7-9 (NIV)

Oh, Lord, let us feel the light of your presence now as we gather around this wreath of lights.  As we light these candles, let us feel joy and hopeful anticipation of your birth so close at hand. Let the lighting of each of these four candles multiply the joy in our hearts. In your blessed name we pray, Amen.

“The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.”    Mother Theresa   (1910-1997)

Christmas Day

image week love jesus and mary
images adv pages candlesLight two purple candles: the candle of Hope, and the candle of Preparation. Light the candle of Joy, the pink candle. Light the candle of Love, a purple candle.   Light the white candle, the Christ candle. five lit candles, three purple, one pink, one white

And an angel said to them “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10, 11 (ESV)

A prayer for the dinner table:

Dear Lord, we are so thankful for the many ways you have blessed us with abundance in our lives. Please bless this food and those families around the world who will not have enough to eat today. In gratitude we remember your humble birth in a lowly stable, and pray for those who have no shelter. Lord, help us to be mindful always of your message of love, peace, and sacrifice for others. Even though Advent is over, please keep your loving Spirit alive in our hearts.  In His precious name we pray, Amen.

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