Waiting for Christmas


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Brief Description

Intersection includes compete resources for teaching both younger and older youth, including learner’s materials, teaching guides, and handouts. The teaching guide is options-based, so teachers can customize sessions to match their favorite approach.

“Waiting for Christmas”

The season of Advent is one of anticipation. Just as students look forward to the end of the school year—or for that matter, the next vacation or even simply the next weekend—Christians are encouraged to look forward to the two-fold celebration of Christ’s birth and his imminent return. Yet, in reality, Advent is a season filled with a mix of family tradition, commercialism, and spiritual depth. For some, it is a time when families get together to enjoy each other’s company, recall cherished memories, and with any luck, create new ones.

For others, however, it is mostly a time of frantic activity centered around buying, selling, and meeting social obligations. And finally, for perhaps a smaller group, it is a time of quiet reflection and celebration about God’s coming to dwell with us. Then again, of course, for most of us Advent is a mix of all three of these.

This unit seeks to address a variety of factors which relate to the Advent season. For starters, with the primary goal of teaching your young people to wait with others, Session One highlights Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. In fact, it is in the context of community that our waiting is made all the more meaningful. Moving on, Session Two recalls the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, mentioning both the integrity with which she waited as well as the integrity that God honored in choosing her to be the mother of Jesus. This particular session challenges youth to come to grips with the meaning of integrity.

Session Three focuses on the story of John the Baptist and his fiery words to those who were waiting expectantly for a warrior Messiah. We are challenged to wait patiently as well as hopefully for God to use our lives in the most effective way possible. Session Four provides the opportunity to explore the meaning of the birth of Jesus from John’s viewpoint, who doesn’t give us a record of the Bethlehem event, but does offer us the teaching that God was in Christ, the Word made flesh. Finally, Session Five recalls the visit of the wise men and ushers in the season of Epiphany. In Matthew’s words, we are reminded that the One who came for the house of Israel indeed came for all people—from all times.

Certainly, the commercialization of Advent has taken its toll on some Christians’ enthusiasm for the season. Youth and adults alike grow tired of seeing seasonal decorations appear in stores earlier and earlier every year. Some are bothered by the overwhelming volume of “stuff” advertised year in and year out. Teenagers are astute enough to know that Christmas is much more than this, and they want to experience the fullness of the season. This unit explores Advent from a genuine perspective, one worthy of our attention. Use this five session study to help your group realize that Advent involves more than simply lighting candles and hanging wreaths. Celebrating Advent is a time both to remember God’s great love for us through the birth of Christ and to relish in the promise of Christ’s return.

by Tom Allen

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The purchaser of this file has permission to print twenty copies of this Learners Study Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

The purchaser of this file has permission to print one copy of this Teaching Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold, copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

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