Time to Celebrate! Jesus is here!
“How good is your memory?”
- Who remembers something you got for Christmas last year?
- What are they key points in Israel’s history we’ve talked about? (Eden, Egypt, Exile)
Last Sunday, we left Israel in Exile, where Ezekiel saw the glory of God leave the temple and God’s people. Eventually, some Israelites were given freedom to go back home. But remember, “home” had been destroyed. Most of the buildings had been burned and torn down, including God’s temple. The prophet Haggai brought God’s people a message to encourage them as they went to work rebuilding God’s house.
Read Haggai 1:13-15
In the past, what was God’s pattern when God’s people built His house?
Read Haggai 2:1-9.
What does the temple look like at this point? (v3 – Not nearly as extravagant as the first temple)
But what promise does God make through Haggai? (v9 – the glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house)
The people are rebuilding the temple, but the glory of God is not there and the older people are missing it. “But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.” (Ezra 3:12)
Even after they finished rebuilding, the glory of God did not return. In fact, God’s glory is not mentioned again in the Old Testament. Imagine how His people longed to see His glory.
Now, let’s read a familiar passage with fresh eyes.
Read Luke 2:1-14
Did you notice glory? Why is this significant?
How does John 1:14 and Hebrews 1:3 further develop this idea?
How do we experience God’s glory today?
Do you think the kind of glory we experience today is what was predicted in Haggai 2:9?
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of a very special baby who came to rescue us from our sin. It’s also a time to celebrate the return of God’s glory. Let’s get back together with the other group and join the shepherds by giving God some genuine, happy worship!
My Next Step with God is to...
This week’s family devotional is intended to be a peaceful, relaxing time together.
- Gather friends and family, and make your favorite hot drink.
- Sit around the Christmas tree.
- Talk about Christmases long, long ago (fun memories from past).
- Read Luke 1:26-38, 46-55. (If children are present, give them a chance to read if they want to.)
- Talk about the things you thank God for. (After everyone shares one thing, go around 4 more times until everyone has shared 5 things they thank God for. Take your time. Enjoy the sharing time.)
- Sing some of your favorite Christmas songs (use YouTube to help if you want).
- Eat Christmas cookies or another Christmas dessert!