Saturday, December 18, 2010

Advent: 18-24

It is the final week before Christmas.  This month has flown by and I have been glad for our nightly advent; it brings us back together before our Father.  We have missed a few days here and there, but I try to either combine the next night or give a quick synopsis.  I don't know if anyone is still using any of these ideas, but just in case, here are the last few nights' devotionals.

December 18th
What did the shepherds do after the angels left?

Luke 2:15-17 

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 
16And they came with ahaste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

Song:  Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful

December 19th
How did the Wise Men know of Christ's birth?

Matt 2:2
2Saying, aWhere is he that is born bKing of the Jews? for we have seen his cstar in the east, and are come to dworship him.
Song:  It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

December 20th
There was a new star.

Helaman 14:5 (prophecy)
5And behold, there shall a new astar arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
3 Nephi 1:21 (fulfillment)
21And it came to pass also that a new astar did appear, according to the word.
Song:  Stars Were Gleaming

December 21st
Who were the Wise Men?  Are we watching for the signs of Christ's return like the Magi?

Bible Dictionary Wise Men of the East
 Matthew 2:1–12 states that wise men (how many is not recorded), guided by a new star, came to Bethlehem to worship Jesus sometime after his birth. Who these men were we are not told, but it is certain they were not ordinary men. That they were privileged to search out the Son of God and give him gifts, and that they were spiritually sensitive and knowledgeable, suggests that they were actually prophets on a divine errand. The customary identification of them as astrologers is a gross misrepresentation. They evidently were holy men from a land east of Palestine. 
Bible Dictionary Magi
Called “wise men” (Matt. 2:1). Their identification is not made known in the scriptures, but it is certain that they were righteous men sent on an errand to witness the presence of the Son of God on the earth. Their spiritual capacity is evident: They were able to see the star when others could not; they knew its meaning, and brought gifts to the young child; and they were warned of God in a dream to return to their home by a safe route. Their knowledge was precise and accurate. It seems likely that they were representatives of a branch of the Lord’s people somewhere from east of Palestine, who had come, led by the Spirit, to behold the Son of God, and who returned to their people to bear witness that the King Immanuel had indeed been born in the flesh. We are not told how many wise men there were, but tradition usually speaks of three, because of the three gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. If they were serving in the capacity of witnesses, there would of necessity have been two or three.
Song:  With Wondering Awe

December 22nd
What is gold, frankincense and myrrh?  What gift would you bring?

Bible Dictionary Frankincense
The fragrant resinous exudation of various species of Boswellia; it was imported into Judaea from Arabia (Isa. 60:6Jer. 6:20). It was an ingredient in the holy incense for sacrificial purposes (Ex. 30:34) and was highly valued as a perfume (Matt. 2:11).
Bible Dictionary Myrrh
Used in the preparation of the holy ointment (Ex. 30:23); in the purification of women (Esth. 2:12); as a perfume (Ps. 45:8Song. 1345); and for embalming (John 19:39). It was obtained from various thorny shrubs of the dry districts of Arabia and eastern Africa. In Gen. 37:2543:11, myrrh is the gum of the rock rose.
Song:  The First Noel

December 23rd
How does the following statement relate to the baby Jesus?  How does it relate to you?

ET Sullivan wrote:

When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way.  He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send for his thunderbolts.  Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother.  And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it into the baby’s mind.  And then God waits.  The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts.  The greatest forces in the world are babies.  (In Charles L Wallis, ed., The Treasure Chest (1965), 53) 
Song:  Silent Night

December 24th
We love our Savior, Jesus Christ.  (Share testimonies, if inspiried.  Reflect on the month's discussions.)

2 Nephi 31:20-21
20Wherefore, ye must press forward with a asteadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of bhope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and dendure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life.
21And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the away; and there is bnone other way nor cname given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the ddoctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of theeFather, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is fone God, without end. Amen.
Song:  I Stand All Amazed

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