Advent Devotions

December 1 – THE EVERGREEN CHRISTMAS TREE - One of the most notable Christmas symbols representing eternal life and unyielding hope is the Evergreen Christmas Tree. Evergreen Trees are known to stay green all year round. It can keep its thistles on its branches even in the winter season when all other trees lose their leaves. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It reminds us of the hope that we have in Jesus that will never fail in great trials and winters of our lives.

December 2 – CHRISTMAS BOWS - Bows in gifts and decorations symbolize unity and peace among people and nations. This Christmas symbol reminds us of the bond that we have in love. Gifts are wrapped around with ribbons to show how people should be tied together as one. Galatians 3: 28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” During the holiday season, we are to celebrate the love that came into this world with peace and unity. Just as how Jesus wrapped the entire world in His arms with abundant love, we are to be unified in love.

December 3 – THE COLORS RED AND GREEN - For many Christians, is green and red. Green, the color of Evergreen trees and our Christmas trees, signifies the eternal life that we have because of the sacrifice of Christ. Red, on the other hand, is the color of holly berries which represents the blood Jesus shed for us. I John 5:11 says, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, Jesus.”

December 4 – THE WREATH - Wreaths are amazing ornaments that are a combination of various Christmas symbols. These symbols include holly berries, mistletoe, tinsels and evergreens. Its circular shape is a symbolism of the eternity set in our hearts, the eternal life that we have in Christ and the eternal being of Him. John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

December 5 – THE ANGEL TREE TOPPER - Angels appeared to people in the various events in the Scripture. God sent angels to warn, give important messages or proclaim the truth about God. To put it simply, they are God’s messengers. An angel appeared in Joseph’s dream informing him of who Mary was carrying. Angels also appeared to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the fields. So, during the Christmas season, angels represent the proclamation of the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:8-12 says, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

December 6 – CANDY CANES - In 1670, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out sugar sticks among his young singers to keep them quiet during the service. In honor of the occasion, he had the candies bent into shepherds' crooks. An Indiana candy maker added to it. The white color symbolized the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and the hard candy symbolized the solid rock which was the foundation of the church, and firmness of the promises of God. He then stained it with three stripes which showed the scourging Jesus received, and symbolized the blood shed by Christ on the cross. When you break the cane, it reminds us that Jesus' body was broken for us. Matthew 26:26-28 says, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

December 7 – THE BELLS - Christmas symbols add festivity to the celebration and Christmas bells are traditionally part of the nativity. Luke 2:17-18 says, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. The Bells are the symbol of the joy and jubilation brought by the birth of our Savior.

December 8 – GIFTS - Gifts will always remind us of the best and greatest gift that we have received, Jesus. His nativity is the ultimate gift to the world. Romans 6:23b says” but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Gifts should remind us that we can only give because we are given. It is the symbol of God’s unconditional love and compassion.

December 9 – MISTLETOE - Mistletoe is a parasitic plant, meaning it lives on the tree that it is attached to and, without it, the mistletoe would die. The plant has long been a symbol of love. John 15:9 Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so I love you, abide in my love.”

December 10 - CHRISTMAS LIGHTS - Before Christmas lights were used, candles are lit to be the light in Christmas trees. It symbolizes the light of the world who is Jesus. He came down into the darkness that the people may find the light. In John 8:12, Jesus declared that He is the Light of the World, and whoever follows Him will never again walk in darkness but will have the light of life.

December 11 – COOKIES AND PASTRIES - Christmas pastries are made with flour and remind us of the many uses of bread in Scripture. After feeding 5,000 men plus women and children, Jesus speaks to the crowd again, this time offering them a different kind of bread, one that would never rot, and would always keep them full. When the people ask for this bread, the Bible records, “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). This is a spiritual nourishment. As you eat Christmas Cookies and Pastries this year, remember it is Jesus, that sustains us and nourishes our souls.

December 12 – CHRISTMAS CAROLS – Christians began singing carols in celebration of the birth of Jesus. Over time, the singing of carols moved from homes and churches to the streets in public celebration of Christmas. The tradition of singing Christmas carols in public and even door to door continues today, sharing the joy of Jesus’ birth. Luke 2:16-17 says, “So the shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” The church is caroling this evening, we hope you can join us!

December 13 – HOLLY - Holly is an extremely hardy shrub that can be grown most places, making it one of the few plants that can withstand temperatures from 110 degrees F to – 40 degrees F. Holly plants are noted for their attractive red berries and glossy, sharp-toothed green leaves which remain on the plant year round. The holly bush represents immortality, a trait that God has given to each human being. We are all destined to live forever, either with the Lord or separated from Him. The sharp-toothed edge of the holly leaf reminds Christians of the crown of thorns with which the soldiers mocked Our Lord during His Passion. As a Christmas symbol, the red holly berry represents Christ's blood, shed for all people including those who reject Him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

December 14 – FRUIT – My grandmother always included an orange in our stockings every Christmas. For over a century children have been receiving oranges and fruit cakes are popular among adults during Christmas. These fruits remind the follower of Jesus of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “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.”

December 15 – TINSEL - This metallic decoration symbolizes light and is hung on a Christmas tree to remind the follower of Jesus that darkness has no power over the light of the world. Isaiah 9:2-3 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy.” Be a light wherever you spend the holidays.

December 16 – GINGERBREAD MEN - These cookies are intended to remind us of when God created Adam in the Garden of Eden — and therefore His creation of all of us. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Because Christ came into our world and gave His life, we can change our life and be more like Jesus.

December 17 – CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS - The tradition of Christmas stockings originated in the generous deeds of a nobleman named Nicholas who was born in 280 A.D. in Asia Minor. Nicholas never had children, but he loved children and thus often regaled those who lived in his hometown. This practice provided him with the epithet “the gift-giver of Myra.” Interestingly, his nobility never prevailed his modesty, so he always gave his presents late at night in order to protect his identity. He didn’t like the children to know who their gift giver was. Luke 2:4-5 says, “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”

December 18 – EVERGREEN - In cool climates, many plants are deciduous. That is, they lose their leaves in the fall, remain dead-looking all winter, and begin to sprout new growth in the spring. Evergreens are, broadly speaking, any type of plant that retains its green leaves or needles all year round. As Christian Christmas symbols, evergreens symbolize perseverance and resiliency to adversity. They remind us of Jesus' words, "The ones who persevere to the end shall be saved." Our faith must remain vibrant in all spiritual, economic, political, and social environments. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Remember that in holidays and rainy days, Jesus is with us.

December 19 – CANDLE - A candle, a mirror of starlight, is also a symbol representing the star of Bethlehem. Before electric Christmas tree lights were invented, families would use candles to light up the tree. Matthew 2:7-8 says, “Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” It is wise to search out the ways of Jesus and do our best to live out those ways in our lives.

December 20 – XMAS- When I see the term “XMAS” it makes me a bit ill. While Xmas is seen by some as a secular way to "cross Christ out of Christmas," the word actually is an abbreviation for Christmas. Christ was often written as "XP" or "XT" and the Greek letter Chi X stood for Christ in the ancient Greek symbol for Christians. Colossians 1:18 says, “And Jesus is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” The world’s attempts to take Christ out of Christmas is disheartening, but Christ will always reign supreme. Let us make sure he reigns supreme in our lives and homes.

December 21 – POINSETTIAS- Symbolically, we have Jesus’ life story in one plant. The leaves symbolize the star that led the Wise Men to the newborn Jesus, the red leaves are a reminder of the blood of Christ shed during His crucifixion and the white leaves represent Christ’s purity. I Corinthians 15:3-4 says, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The Gospel Story is the most needed story.

December 22 – ANGELS - Angels are God's messengers. They appear several times in Scripture and continue to protect us today as each person has his or her own guardian angel. Angels symbolize God's presence, and remind us of obedience to Him and praise of Him. Luke 2:13-15 says, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

December 23 – STAR –The Christmas star symbolizes the star of Bethlehem, which according to the Biblical story, guided the three kings, or wise men, to the baby Jesus. The star is also the heavenly sign of a prophecy fulfilled long ago and the shining hope for humanity. Matthew 2:9-10 says, “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Make certain this Christmas to stay overjoyed, even if you drop the cake or if that relative gives you a back-handed compliment.

December 24- Read Matthew 2 and Luke 2.