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Advent and Christmas at FBCA

A Bit of Background on Advent and Christmas
Advent is a time of year, just prior to Christmas, in which the Church is invited to celebrate and prepare for Christ’s coming. 

This season is an intentional “setting-aside” so that we can look back not only at the first coming of Jesus, but also his second. Advent is traditionally celebrated the four weeks prior to Christmas Day, with each week having a particular focus. 

Immediately following Advent is Christmas Day. Did you know that the 12 days of Christmas are the 12 days AFTER Christmas? So don’t take those decorations down or stop your celebrations on the 26th. You’ve got 12 full days to enjoy and celebrate this JOYOUS season!

Why Participate in a celebration of Advent
In the midst of the craziness and busyness of Christmastime, it can be helpful to take some intentional time to slow down with our families and reflect on the purpose of this season. Through celebrating Advent, we can also take some time for self-reflection, asking ourselves what needs to be done in our own lives to prepare for the coming of the Savior. 

How to Use this Guide
Each of the four Sundays of Advent is usually associated with a particular word and Biblical character. We encourage you to take some time each Sunday from November 27 - December 25 to think through these materials together. 

You’ll find a Scripture reading for each week. (Click the link to hear some of our FBCA family read the passages aloud!) There will be some thoughts to read through, discussion questions to ponder as a family, and some supplemental material, especially for our Lower School students. Lastly, you’ll find some tangible ways to participate in and live out what we’ve looked at for that week.

Join along by clicking the days listed below or downloading the guide (link is to the right).
- Ashley Ashcraft, Director of Spiritual Life

List of 5 items.

  • Sunday, November 27

    Key Word: WAIT
    Biblical Character: Isaiah, the prophet
    Reading: Isaiah 9:6-7, Revelation 21: 3 - 7
    Click here to hear Natasha Rodriguez, our Director of Information Technology, read today’s passage.

    Some Thoughts
    As we consider what it means to wait and prepare for Christ’s second coming, it helps to consider how the people of Israel must have felt while they awaited His first coming. Several hundreds of years passed between the announcement of Christ’s coming and His actual coming.  What does it look like to wait faithfully? We often think of waiting as a passive thing, simply allowing time to pass. But Henri Nouwen says this about waiting: “Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.” 

    Today we seek to be faithful to this moment we are living in, fully present, believing that something indeed is happening: Christ is coming… again! As you think over today’s reading, look forward to what His coming will mean: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

    Supplementary Resources for Lower School students 
    Consider reading Isaiah’s story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. The chapter is titled: Operation “No More Tears!” 
    You can listen to some of Isaiah’s words on Rain for Roots album Waiting Songs. 

    Live - It - Out 
    Discuss the following questions as a family: 
    • What does Christ’s impending arrival mean for you in your day to day? How does/should it change the way we live in the here and now? 
    • Remember a time when you waited for something. How did you spend your waiting time?
    •  How can we be active in our waiting, waiting faithfully and watchfully, instead of passively waiting for time to pass? 
    As a family, sing and consider the lyrics of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Find a lyric video from ReAwaken Hymns here or listen from the Waiting Songs album from Rain for Roots. 

  • Sunday, December 4

    Key Word: PREPARE
    Biblical Character: John the Baptist 
    Reading: Matthew 3: 1 - 11, Isaiah 40: 3 -5 
    Click here to hear Joshua Gettys, our Head of School read today’s passage. 

    Some Thoughts
    John the Baptist’s message is simple: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Later in the same passage, he says it again: “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” It’s interesting that his message is so centered around this idea of repentance. Advent’s traditional color is purple, which is representative of repentance. So what might this season of preparation and celebration have to do with repentance?

    As we prepare for His coming, we will realize that it will involve some change on our part. If what we say about Him is true, that Jesus is indeed the long-awaited Rescuer, our Savior, our King, then our lives will reflect that change in allegiance; our lives will reflect our submission to Him. 

    Supplementary Resources for Lower School students 
    Consider reading John the Baptist’s story from the Gospel Story Bible. It is Story 82, titled “The Ministry of John the Baptist.” 

    Live - It - Out 
    Discuss the following questions as a family: 
    • In what ways do you need to prepare for His coming? 
    • What might you need to repent of so that you can genuinely, sincerely bow in submission to our King? 
    • How do we prepare for the Christmas season (wish lists, shopping, wrapping presents, etc) Then compare how we prepare for those aspects of the season versus how we prepare for His coming. What could we intentionally do in our lives and families to prepare for His coming? 

  • Sunday, December 11

    Key Word: REJOICE
    Biblical Character: Mary, mother of Jesus
    Reading: Luke 1: 26 - 38, 46-55
    Click here to hear Carolina Aguirre, one of our US Spanish teachers, read today’s passage. 

    Some Thoughts
    We see Mary as a beautiful picture of joy: in her song, she says: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Some of Mary’s earlier words stick out to me as well. “Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” I believe there’s a connection between her willingness and her joyfulness. I think it is because of her sincere admission (“Let it be to me according to your word”) that she is able to sing her song of joy in verses 46-56. 

    Perhaps we too need to begin with willingness. Give us grateful and willing hearts, O Lord, that we might submit to your plan, believing in you for our good! 

    Supplementary Resources for Lower School students 
    Consider reading Mary’s story from the Gospel Story Bible. It is Story 79, titled “The Birth of Jesus Foretold.” 
    Listen to Mary’s song set to music on the Waiting Songs album. 

    Live - It - Out 
    Create some decoration for your home that has the word “JOY” in it. Perhaps a yard decoration, or a banner to hang. Let it remind you of our call to REJOICE because our King is coming! 
    Write Mary’s words “Let it be me according to your word” somewhere will you see them each morning.

  • Sunday, December 18

    Key Word: LOVE
    Biblical Character: Joseph, the carpenter
    Reading: Matthew 1:18-25, Philippians 2:5 - 11 
    Click here to hear Sofia Quezada, MS student, read today’s passage. 

    Some Thoughts
    One of the earmarks of love is sacrifice. And that’s what we see modeled by Joseph here. Going through with his marriage to Mary even though she was with child could seriously hurt his reputation and standing in the community. But after hearing the angel’s instructions, he stands faithful to her. 

    Joseph’s sacrificial love is only a mere glimpse of the One True, Ultimate Sacrificial Love. By coming down in the form of a human, God humbled Himself. He loved us in such a way that He sent Himself to dwell among us and be in our midst. He didn’t create us and drop us. No, He desires to know and love us, so much so that He sacrifices His Son, His one and only Son. 

    May we go out of our way to love each other well this season. And may we be ever mindful of His great Love for us. 

    Supplementary Resources for Lower School students 
    Read Story 146, “The Humility of Christ,” from the Gospel Story Bible

    Live - It - Out 
    Read “Love Came Down at Christmas” by Christina Rosetti. 
    Sing together as a family “Silent Night.”
    Read the lyrics of “Away in a Manger” slowly together as a family. Reflect on how they illustrate God’s sacrificial love.
    Consider what sacrificial acts of love your family could take part in. Who needs to see a reflection of Christ’s love in you this season?

  • Christmas Day, December 25

    Click here to hear Stephanie Clayton, Head of Lower School, read today’s passage. 

    Some Thoughts

    Merry Christmas! As you celebrate Christ’s birth today with your families, we pray His peace and grace for you. Rest today; bask in and enjoy His Spirit with us. Anticipate and look forward to His second coming. As you do, you stand with a long line of a faithful remnant, holding fast to the promises of God, no matter the circumstances, no matter how long the wait.  

    Enjoy and celebrate today, for a light has dawned! The weary world rejoices! Emmanuel has come, and He will come again!

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY: Fort Bend Christian Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletics and other school-administered programs.