Tag Archives: December

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2013 Advent Family Devotions

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DevotionBelow are links to PDF devotions you can use weekly with your family during the Advent season.  Use this time to prepare for Christmas and to set a schedule for your family to gather around God’s Word.  These devotions will also reflect many of the scripture readings from Sunday worship at Beautiful Savior, helping you and your family to strengthen and reinforce the message of Sunday morning worship.

Week 1

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I Need More…Joy!

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After hastily opening the wrapped package and making the obligatory “thank you’s”, it certainly didn’t take long to turn away from the thoughtful gift as something ho hum.

Then three year old Eleanor came along, stopped by the discarded item, and exclaimed, “What a beautiful gift! Is that yours? You must be so happy?”

As she walked away I thought to myself, “Why don’t I have joy like that?”

At times we have those feelings which cause us to cry out, “I need more joy in my life!” It’s even true at this time of year. For one reason or another we find ourselves lacking joy. There are indications everywhere that joy should fill our lives. Decorations are going up inside and outside. Christmas music surrounds us and cards start arriving daily.

Some days the festive joy does fill our hearts as we excitedly go about our holiday shopping and schedule planning. Yet, deep down we know this joy will not last. Planning becomes overwhelming, schedules start falling apart and decorating gets tiresome. Above all, we know from experience, there will be no joy when we find we don’t have enough money to purchase the perfect gift or when credit card payments come due. All of that may lead us to shout out, “I need real joy! I need joy that will last!”

Here’s some great news. Christmas brings us joy that does last—the true joy found in Jesus.

With a love we cannot comprehend, our heavenly Father gave his only Son, born to be save us. Starting in the manger in which he was laid up until he was placed on the stone slab of a borrowed tomb, Jesus lived the life of perfect obedience all of us are unable to live. Each and every evil thought, evil word and evil deed we have done has been picked from us by our heavenly Father and placed on Jesus. On Calvary’s cross, Jesus bowed his head in death declaring, “It is finished.” These words of Jesus bring us true joy. They mean that all is done and Easter’s announcement “He Is Risen!” guarantees that God our Father has accepted Jesus’ life and death as payment in full for all our sins. Easter’s announcement guarantees the announcement of Christmas: “A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” True, lasting joy is found in the forgiveness of sins that is ours through Jesus.

While we are in the midst of the season when it seems hard to keep joy in our lives, focus on the true Joy Giver. Ponder again the words of the angels to the shepherds, “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born. He is Christ the Lord.” Come and worship the Babe born in Bethlehem, and may God the Holy Spirit fill you with a joy that never ends.

Join us this Christmas to hear about the child born to save us!

Christmas Worship 2013 at Beautiful Savior

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December 2013

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What’s up with “Emmanuel?”

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of Man appear.

Familiar words to you?  More than likely you recognized the lyrics of that Christmas carol.  What do those words mean? What do they mean for you?

The pivotal word of the phrase is “Emmanuel.”  Sometimes it is written as “Immanuel.”  It is the same Hebrew word transposed into English, and the meaning behind this Hebrew word is huge for you.  The word comes from Isaiah 7:14:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Somewhat of a unique name for a baby.  But not when you consider the baby this was referring to.  This baby is the baby you know as Jesus.  This is another name for Jesus.  It means “God with us!”  To break it down, emma = with, nu = us, el = God.  “God with us” is an amazing statement, isn’t it?  God is the perfect creator of all things.   Yet, we, his creation, are imperfect.  We are fallen.  We daily fall into sin – crossing the line which God has clearly laid out in his word and even written on our hearts.   How can the perfect God be with imperfect, unholy people? Through that baby, with that name.


Jesus was “God with us.”  Not only is it incredible that God was willing to be in the middle of the sinful world, and among sinful people, but the power of that preposition “with” goes even deeper.  In Jesus, God not only was among his people, but God took on the flesh and blood of his people.  He took on the flesh and blood of his people so that he could rescue them from their captivity. So he could ransom them – pay the price demanded by their captors.

You are a part of the Israel in captivity.  While the nation of Israel found itself carried into captivity by several foreign powers, the foreign power that has carried you into captivity is sin. Jesus paid with his blood and his life to rescue you from that captivity – to free you from the chains of sin.  He became God with us, so that you could be with God for eternity.


This well-known Christmas carol isn’t just about Christmas.  Its words do remind us to reflect on what happened when God became Emmanuel – “God with us” – on that Christmas morning, and Jesus has rescued us from the captivity, but we still long for the day when that rescued will be complete.  The day when the “Son of Man” appears again.  And once again God will be with us, and we will be with God.


Do you remember the refrain for this well-known carol: “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel will ransom captive Israel!”

Do it!  Rejoice!  God will be with us, because Jesus has ransomed us – he has bought us back from the sin that claimed our lives and gives us freedom in his name.


What special comfort do you have knowing Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us”?

Write a prayer asking God to help you prepare for Jesus’ return.

Advent Worship

Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel

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Advent Worship

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The Christmas Season has been coined the “cycle of light.”  Into a world of darkness came the Word made flesh, the true light, Jesus Christ. The time of Advent is the time we set aside in our church year to prepare for the coming of the Light.  Advent has a threefold meaning: 1) the coming of our Lord in the flesh at Christmas, 2) the coming of the Lord in his Word, and 3) the coming of our Lord in glory at the end of time.  Advent is a season of repentance along with joyful anticipation.

Christmas centers of the miracle of our God born to save us.  As this celebration approaches, take time to meditate on the preparations to be made in your own heart. Join us for worship in December as we plead Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel.

Sunday morning services begin at 9:30am. These services will begin with a gathering rite built off of the words and music of Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel. 

Midweek meditative devotional services will be held at 6:30pm on Wednesday, December 4th, 11th, & 18th.

The service on the 18th will serve as the culmination of our midweek Advent preparation.  This service will follow a different format.  Families are encouraged to bring a tabletop advent wreath from home, and each member of the family can participate as we light the candles on the wreath as part of the service. Following this service we will have a time of fellowship.  Each family is encouraged to bring 1-2 dozen of their favorite Christmas cookie to share.


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