Crossroads: The Candle of Prophecy/Hope

Isaiah 9:2-7

advent_wreath_xsmWelcome to the first week of Advent! Advent is a time of preparation, when we wait and prepare for the Christ child. Each week you will light a new candle as we recognize the things that Christ brings to this world: hope, peace, joy, and love. Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation, for at the end of Advent we celebrate Christmas and the Christ child. For children, the waiting feels like an eternity. Each devotion during this Advent season explores what each group was waiting for: the prophets were waiting for something they’d never see (the Messiah). Mary and Joseph were waiting for a baby and the change in their lives that would bring. The shepherds were waiting for daylight. The angels waited thousands of years to be able to announce the coming of the Messiah. And finally Christ, who was waiting to come into the world to save it.

The Candle of Prophecy/Hope

Light one purple candle. Say to your family, “This is the candle of hope. The prophets in the Old Testament were full of hope that, eventually, the Messiah would come. The prophets were waiting, waiting on God’s rescue plan. They talked about Jesus without knowing him, and were waiting and prophesying about someone they would never see.”

Read Isaiah 9:2-7. From the NIV: 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; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah would never meet the Messiah and yet he continued to bring hope to the Israelites through his prophecies. Eventually, the Messiah would come and rescue them, getting rid of the things that weighed them down and defeating those who tried to oppress them. Throughout its history, Israel had been conquered many times. Its enemies were in charge of them and they wanted to be free. But they couldn’t imagine the freedom that Jesus would bring, because Jesus would (and did) defeat the ultimate enemy: death. No longer would death be in charge. Instead, the love of God would get rid of the power death had over everyone and we would be free to be with God for all eternity.

The prophets waited with hope that someday the Messiah would come. These days, children wait with hope that someday they will get to drive, someday they will go to college, someday they will get to stay up as late as they want. Whereas most of the prophets never got to see their hopes realized in the Messiah, children will eventually be able to drive, go to college, and stay up as late as they want. But for now, it feels like those things will never arrive. As they wait with expectation for these things and for Christmas, remind them that the prophets waited a long, long time for the Messiah to arrive. But eventually, their hopes and dreams came true in the form of Jesus.

Our prayer life can feel like this too. There are times when we pray fervently and often for things we really need, situations that need help, or for people who need healing. Sometimes God answers quickly, but often, we wait and wait in the hope that God will answer our prayers. It can feel as if God will never answer us. But if we, like the prophets, don’t give up, eventually God will answer our prayers. The answer will not always be yes, but God always answers.

Discussion

As a family, talk about how it feels to wait for things that seem so far away.

Prayer

Thank God that the prophets never gave up, that they continued to tell people that the Messiah was coming. Ask God for help in pressing on when it seems like what we wait for will never happen.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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