Advent: December 8
Read: Romans 1:1–7
Thoughts for Parents:
How does the Holy Spirit refer to you? What does He call you? He calls us those who are loved by God and called to be saints. That’s so amazing. How should He refer to us? I know how He should refer to me: Slow to believe, self-seeking, selfish, and stubborn. That’s how I should be known by Him. But that’s not who I am before Him. No, I’m His beloved. I am called to be among the saints, the holy ones. Again, that’s so amazing. How does God love us? By calling us to be among His holy people. But wait, how can it be that I’m now counted among God’s holy ones? Is it because I’ve all of a sudden gotten my act together? No, not at all. I’m now counted as part of that holy family of people because I’ve been given grace. Simply, grace is God’s unmerited favor on us and the way that works in tandem with His love is that He has decided to favor us with a reputation that we don’t deserve: a reputation for being holy, for having fulfilled every law our whole life. How did that happen? Is God just pretending? No, all of Christ’s righteousness has been transferred to me so that now, because He loves me, because He has given me unearned favor, I’m counted as a saint, a holy person.
Today when you struggle against sin … when you try to do all the things you need to do to make this Christmas season what you hope it will be, and when everything only serves to point out that you’re not making the grade, you can remember: when He thinks of you He thinks: loved and holy. You are loved, you are a saint.
Thoughts for Children:
When you think of yourself what words do you think of? Do you think little brother or older sister or good boy or bad girl? Do you think goal scorer or piano player or just not good at anything? In our verse for today, God describes you and me in two different ways. First He describes us as beloved. Now that isn’t a word we use very often anymore. It just means that you are loved. When you think of yourself, remember that you are one that is loved by God. That is pretty exciting news, isn’t it?
The other word that God uses to describe you is saint. Now I am pretty sure no one has ever called you a saint before. It is an old fashioned way of saying that you are a person that always does good.
Now if you have been awake for very long today you have probably done something that was bad. Maybe you didn’t do it so anybody could see it, but you thought something mean or you ignored someone that needed help or you didn’t do what your parents asked you to do, so how could God possibly call you a saint? Listen up, because this is very, very good news: God calls you a saint because of what Jesus did for you. He doesn’t call you a saint because anything you have done. Jesus lived always doing what was right. If you believe God loves you even though you don’t deserve His love, all of your badness is hidden by Jesus’ goodness. So today when you are thinking about how God looks at you, you can know for certain that you are loved and you are a saint.
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