Welcome to Westgate Alliance Church’s 2018 Christmas Devotional Guide. This year, Westgate’s theme is “A Christmas Scavenger Hunt.”
God had a plan for humanity before creation began, and that plan included the coming of Jesus. From the moment of the first sin, God declared His solution. God declared to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15 (NIV)
From that moment the plan started to unfold. Clues were given through the patriarchs, then through the Nation Israel, and finally through the prophets. Today people are looking for clues that explain our current life situation.
Friedrich Von Schlegel, in Philosophical Fragments, said, “The historian is a prophet looking backwards.” A prophet is a person in history looking forward; the gaze of the two meet when prophecy meets the true event in history. The Old Testament is filled with prophecies - clues that lead us to Jesus, the promised Saviour.
At Westgate, this Christmas we will search for major clues in the Bible that reveal God’s plan for humanity, and through these clues we will prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Christmas is a time of peace, joy and celebration in the truth that God took on human form and dwelt among His creation. Jesus, fully man and fully God, was birthed through the power of the Holy Spirit and brought into this world through a young virgin by the name of Mary. The entrance of God into our world was the beginning of a plan to redeem (free from bondage) humanity (God’s finest creation). The death of Jesus Christ on a cross paid the price - purchased freedom for humanity.
Only Jesus has prophecies made hundreds of years in advance made literally true. Only He did miracles; only His immediate followers claimed He died and rose from the dead, so in comparison, He comes out superior to other great religious leaders. -- Norman Geisler
From the perspective of a disciple of Jesus Christ, Christmas is a sacred time - a celebration of life, a declaration of thankfulness through words and actions. All the decorations, songs and actions during this season should point to Jesus. After all, we are celebrating His birthday.
As followers of Christ, it is our task to champion Christ.
Preparing for Christmas (Advent):
Christmas is not just a one-day holiday, but a season, and the best way to get the most out of the season of Christmas is to enter the season with structure and a plan. That is what Advent is. Participating in Advent celebrations helps to keep the season in focus and leverage it to the max.
What you need to make a simple Advent Wreath
- A circular base of fire-safe material (styrofoam, wood or metal).
- Five candles (usually 3 purple, 1 pink and 1 white) - various stores carry a range of coloured candles for you to choose from.
- Fresh or artificial greens, pinecones and other Christmas ornaments.
- Florist wire or similar non-flammable fastening material.
Prepare the base of the wreath so that it can hold one candle in the center and four candles around it. Firmly secure the candles to the base using the wire. The white candle should be in the center with the others arranged around it. Add the greens, fastening them on securely, along with pinecones and other Christmas ornaments.
Have fun as you prepare this wreath. Try to make it a family event. To add a festive touch, you may want to play Christmas music or sing favourite carols as you assemble the wreath. Talk about Christmas memories, and the special moments of Christmas that are so significant to your family.
You might want to enjoy a special Christmas beverage or snack after the wreath is set up ready for the first candle lighting on December 2nd, 2018.
This year, Westgate’s theme is “A Christmas Scavenger Hunt.” We will study the Old Testament searching for clues that tell of the familiar Christmas story. The story is true and foretold from the very beginning.
But more than just examining the clues and how they reveal the true Christmas story, we want to learn how we can allow Jesus to be our Saviour. So, every day throughout the Advent season, we will engage in the clues that tell about the Christmas story; we will apply the truths that we find to our lives.
My hope is that you will use these short devotional moments for your personal encouragement. If you can use these short devotional moments in a family setting, then please do. One of the better ways to get the most of these short devotionals is to block out 15-30 minutes every day. Put on some Christmas music or worship music that focuses on Jesus Christ. Spend a few minutes (maybe 5) listening to the lyrics of the Christmas music, possibly singing along. Then, read the scripture passage for that day as referenced in the devotional guide, read the devotional thought, and engage in the personal application. Don’t forget to memorize the memory verse. Finish by spending a few minutes in prayer (start with 5 minutes). If you are in a family setting, ask each member of the family what they would like to include in the prayer.
Please use and enjoy this devotional booklet.