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Advent Readings - Journey to Bethlehem

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Readings for the Advent Season

Have you ever considered how long it took Mary and Joseph to travel the 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem? What did they do to get ready for the trip?

"Preparing for Bethlehem," one of Lynne Modranski's earliest sets of daily advent readings, considers these questions and parallels them with our lives today. She calls the four candles of advent Preparation, Proclamation, Exhortation and Expectation.

In this lens you'll find readings for the four Sundays of Advent. The daily readings are available as an e-book or in print. Check out the box below to get all the details.

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Advent Readings for 2015

Why Advent Readings

and what is an advent wreath

The season of advent is so busy. We're decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping and attending all kinds of parties, programs and services. Sometimes it's so hectic that we lose sight of what the season really means.These readings are designed to help you celebrate advent. They have been created to turn our focus back to Christ during this special time of year.

Below you'll find readings for each Sunday in advent. They were created to be read as the congregation gathers. To really turn your focus on the true meaning of Christmas try having a daily reading with scripture.It is recommended that each day's time of devotion be closed with prayer. These readings don't have to be shared with candles or an advent wreath, but if you choose to use an advent wreath, you may want to know its significance

The wreath - is a complete circle. It reminds us of Jesus' complete never-ending love for us. It is green, ever-green. Again reminding us that like the ever-green, Jesus' love never turns away from us.

The candles - You should have one white candle for the center. It should be surrounded by 4 purple or royal blue candles or 3 purple and one pink one. Purple candles are used to remind us of repentance. We need to ask Jesus to forgive our sins and turn away from them. In addition, purple, like royal blue reminds us of royalty. Even though Jesus was born in a stable, He was a king. The pink candle stands for joy and the white candle reminds us that Jesus was perfect. He is God's son, God in the flesh, and He is without sin.

The Light - The light of the candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world. In Him there is no darkness and His light will brighten the world if we let it shine through us.

You don't have to have a wreath. You can simply set four candles in a circle in a special place or even light the same single candle for the entire season. Each day read the recommended scriptures and the reading. There is nothing magic about these readings. If you find others you like, use them. Advent is simply a time of preparing the heart. Your method of preparation doesn't have to be fancy or even include a candle, it just needs to include Jesus!

Advent Readings for your Kindle

Week 1: The Candle of Preparation

Light One Candle this Week

Week 1 - Preparation
Sunday Morning (for 2 Readers)

READER 1: In this day and age which we live, it is incomprehensible to worry about how we will get from place to place, but even as few as 150 years ago, that would have been an issue for our ancestors. Moving 50 or 60 miles from your place of birth was common back then.

RbEADER 2: Today, 50 or 60 miles seems so close, just get in the car and drive, but 150 years ago that would have been an 8 to 10 hour ride in a cold wagon.Plans would begin early for families who wanted to spend Christmas with their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. The best route for winter would have to be decided (no traveling through rushing waters in this cold), arrangements may have needed to be made with friends along the way to stop and warm up or perhaps get a warm brick to put beneath the rugs that covered them to keep them warm. Provisions for food for the trip would have to be made as well as letting the family know your plans to arrive (not an easy task in an age where a postage stamp took longer than 24 hours to travel 60 miles and phones had not even been imagined.)

READER 1: With that picture in mind, let us reflect on where we want to be this Christmas. Not physically, but spiritually. I want to spend Christmas with my Big Brother, it is His birthday after all. How will I get there?

READER 2: There is only one way that I know of to get to "Bethlehem" this time of year. We must spend each day in prayer and study the letters that our Brother has left for us to show us the way. So, this Christmas let us meditate on our Brother and focus on getting to Bethlehem to spend Christmas in His presence. (Light the first candle)

READER 1: As we light this candle this week, let us remember that we must be prepared. Just as you watch the trees to know what season to prepare for, use the Word to know how to prepare for this trip to Bethlehem. "Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

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Giving away one set every year

  • A Season of Promise for Advent
    Voted by readers to be the free giveaway in 2014. Throughout history God has made many promises. These inspirational shorts focus on those promises as they help us prepare for Christmas.
  • Expect the Unexpected - For Advent
    In 2013, this set of 28 Christmas Devotionals was selected to be the free giveaway! - Jesus was always doing the unexpected, and His birth was just the beginning. These readings will help us focus on some of those unexpected events in Jesus' life.
  • The Messiah Is Coming - for Advent
    This was the free download in 2012! We celebrate Advent because Christ came to earth! During the season, we remember that Christ is coming again. These readings help us prepare to celebrate both.
  • Advent Readings
    Advent Readings are short daily devotions to help us prepare our hearts as we make our Christmas preparations. On this page you can vote for the 2015 download.

Week 2: The Candle of Proclamation

Light 2 candles this week

Week 2 - Proclamation
Sunday Morning (for 2 Readers)

READER 1: How are your preparations coming to get to Bethlehem? One of the things we must do is let people know we are coming. We don't want to get to Aunt Bessie's and her not be ready for our arrival.

READER 2: Jesus sent John ahead of Him to let the world know He was coming. John proclaimed, "'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" He insisted that people repent and then be baptized as a sign of their repentance.

READER 1: Jesus sends us out to proclaim His coming also. Just as John proclaimed that Jesus was about to begin His ministry, we must proclaim the imminence of His second coming.

READER 2: (Relights the first candle) Prepare for the journey, read the scriptures and be in prayer.

READER 1: (lights the second candle) And proclaim the Lord's coming until his return.

READER 2: And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you wcith water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."Hymn of Proclamation - "Go Tell it on the Mountain"

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Week 3: The Candle of Exhortation

Light 3 Candles This week

Week 3 - Exhortation

Sunday Morning (for 2 or 3 readers)
READER 1: The theme for this week is Exhortation.

READER 2: That sounds like such a big word. What does it mean?

READER 3 (or 1): It's a message of warning or encouragement, designed to motivate persons to action

READER 2: What does that have to do with our preparation to reach Bethlehem?

READER 1: As our ancestors traveled back to their homeland in time for the Christmas celebration, they may have needed to know where the river gets extremely high or moves very fast. It would have also been handy to know where the bridge had been washed away or rocks had blocked the pass.

READER 3 (or 2): As we prepare to journey to Bethlehem for our Brother's birthday, we will need to be warned of the snares that lay along our path. We need to hear how our sin can make us late for the celebration and how our stubbornness and selfishness can block the way. If we pay attention to the Holy Spirit we will hear the warnings of ways that Satan will try to lead us down the wrong path, and we will be motivated to action, turning to the right way.

READER 1: John came with exhortations. He warned people to avoid the coming wrath by repenting and believing on Jesus. Paul preached exhortations. He preached with authority, and his listeners were motivated to give their hearts to Jesus.

READER 2: Early exhortations will make preparation for our trip easier if we heed them. (Relight the first Candle)

READER 3: Exhortations will help others if we proclaim them. (Relight the 2nd Candle)

READER 1:
Be sure to listen to the exhortations and exhort others in love. (Light the 3rd Candle)

READER 2: Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" "I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie." Hymn of Exhortation: "Good Christian Men Rejoice"

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A Quiz to See How Much You Know About the Christmas Story

  • Christmas Quiz - See How Much You Know
    Most people base their knowledge of Christmas on carols and stories. Click that link to take a quiz or two to see how much of the Christmas story you know from the BIBLE!

Week 4: The Candle of Expectation

Light all 4 Candles this Week

Week 4 - Expectation Sunday Morning (for 2 or 4 readers)

READER 1: Wow, can you believe it? There's less than a week left till Christmas!

READER 2: Are you ready?

READER 3 (or 1): We've spent a month or more in preparation for this one day.

READER 4 (or 2): We've been reading the scripture, praying more.

READER 1: We've been proclaiming that Jesus is coming.

READER 2: We've been listening to the warnings of the scripture and the Holy Spirit.

READER 3 (or 1): Yes, I think we're ready.

READER 2: This is the week of expectation. Do you remember that week when you were a child? You were thinking about all of the things you had asked for and expecting to receive a few of them.

READER 1: And can you imagine the expectation that our ancestors must have had. They would have been planning to see family they may not have seen since the Christmas before. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins. What expectation and excitement!

READER 2: That's how this week will be for those of us journeying to Bethlehem. We are expecting a joyous celebration for our Brother's birthday, and we are looking forward to it with anticipation and excitement! It's fortunate for us we're so well prepared. It makes the celebration so much more joyous and makes this last week of waiting so special and holy.

READER 1: Yes, I think that we're prepared. (Relight the first candle)

READER 2: We've proclaimed to everyone how excited we are to be celebrating our Brother's birthday (Relight the second candle)

READER 3 (or 1): I think we've tried to heed the warnings and pass them on. (Relight the third candle)

READER 4 (or 2): Yes, let's just enjoy this week with expectation for the greatest birthday celebration our Brother has ever had. (Light the fourth candle)

READER 4: You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."Hymn of Expectation: "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus"

And still more Advent Readings

at Christian Book Distributors

CLICK HERE TO FIND EVEN MORE ADVENT READINGS at Christian Book Distributors. This is one of my favorite Online Bookstores!

Christmas Eve

A Full Service I found

After I had written this "Journey to Bethlehem" I discovered a delightful Christmas Eve Service that would be appropriate to use in conjunction with these readings. It is called "Journey to Bethlehem" by Carole Adams and is available from Christian Publishers

© 2009 Lynne Modranski

What do you do to get ready for Christmas? - To celebrate the true meaning of the Holiday . . .

Lynne Modranski (author) from Ohio on November 25, 2012:

@LizMac60: So glad you can use them! It's always good to see your face on my lenses!

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on November 24, 2012:

Very useful lens for this time of year. I may steal a few ideas for the services I take.

Vikki from US on November 28, 2011:

Blessed ;) Have a great week!

jackieb99 on December 23, 2010:

Hey, love the lens. Thank you for your hard work.

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on December 23, 2010:

These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them with families. I'm adding this to "Christmas Unit Study: Bible". Thanks! =D

Lynne Modranski (author) from Ohio on December 14, 2010:

@shellys-space: Sounds absolutely lovely!!! Thanks for sharing!

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on December 14, 2010:

I love the Church Services for the month of December! Each week we light an Advent Candle and a Famiy tells about the joy of Christmas in their lives. I also read several Christian "Christian" Novels and watch great movies!

rwoman on December 08, 2010:

Thank you for this lens! I'm preparing my Sunday School class to create a digital Christmas story and this was a big help.

Lynne Modranski (author) from Ohio on December 04, 2010:

@LizMac60: I am blessed!!! Two angels in one day!! Thanks so much

Lynne Modranski (author) from Ohio on December 04, 2010:

@anonymous: Wow! 2 angels in one day! I am truly blessed!! Thanks!

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on December 04, 2010:

It's a great lens on a great topic. Blessed by another angel.

anonymous on December 04, 2010:

Awesome lens on the Advent Season! Blessed by a Squid Angel 12/04/2010.Have a great day!

Senora M on November 28, 2010:

cool lens. I subscribed to the readings. we are going to israel this year right after christmas!

Pastor Kay on November 26, 2010:

Thank you. This is just what i was looking for.

educator1941 on November 12, 2010:

Read the Bible and Advent devotions, journal and pray

Lynne Modranski (author) from Ohio on November 10, 2010:

@anonymous: Thanks, Sherry!! Have a blessed day!

anonymous on November 10, 2010:

I really like this reading! It is so down to earth that even children will be able to understand the message. Thanks, I know this will be a great time for our church.

Cynthia Arre from Quezon City on November 07, 2010:

Beautiful collection of advent readings for celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. ~Blessed~

Cynthia Arre from Quezon City on November 07, 2010:

Beautiful collection of advent readings for celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. ~Blessed~

jgelien on October 30, 2010:

Thank you for a beautiful reminder of the meaning behind the Advent celebration.