How can you, as a parent, help your kids focus on Christ this Christmas? One of the most important and meaningful things you can do is to commit to studying Advent-related passages of Scripture with your children. In this article, we are providing seven key passages to study to help your family focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas.
Seven Passages to Study During Advent
What is Advent? The word advent is derived from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming.” For Christians, Advent is a season of preparing and waiting for the coming of Christ. The Christmas story begins well before the first appearance of Christ, so we will begin our list with passages from the Old Testament.
Some questions to ask as you study to help stir conversation:
- What is the meaning of this passage?
- What does this passage say about the coming of Christ?
- How can we as a family apply this passage to our lives?
We’ll help prompt you with a start to answering the first two questions.
Old Testament Advent Passages
Genesis 3:14-15 - The Protoevangelium
"The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This passage is considered the Protoevangelium, or the first gospel. It is the first mention of the promise of God for salvation, coming on the heels of The Fall when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
What is the meaning of this passage? Even though the first people disobeyed God, he had a plan to save them and us before he created them. Still, their sin had consequences, spelled out in the rest of Genesis 3. But God spared them the death they deserved because he knew he would send Jesus, his own Son, to pay their debt.
What does this passage say about the coming of Christ? This passage says that the Savior will be a person born of a woman. If humans sin, the one to pay the debt must be human. We learn here that at some point, the Savior will come as a person, but whereas the Serpent successfully tempted the first people, the Savior cannot be tempted and will crush his head.
We also get a picture of how the Savior will deal with sin and death (represented by the Serpent). His heel will be bruised (crucifixion and the grave), but he will crush the serpent’s head (resurrection).
Deuteronomy 18:18 - A Prophet Greater Than Moses
"And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him."
Moses was the most respected and revered leader of Israel, God’s people. There were many times the people doubted him, his leadership, and the God for whom he spoke. Here, as God gives The Law through Moses, he also delivers a bit of prophecy about a new leader who will be even greater than Moses - the Messiah, Jesus.
What is the meaning of this passage? Who could be greater than Moses? Moses is just a person whom God used well. Moses was flawed. Moses made mistakes. Moses disobeyed God. We need someone greater than Moses to save us. We need someone perfect, unblemished, but still human. The people heard this and knew they were looking for an amazing Savior.
What does this passage say about the coming of Christ? This passage told the people that Christ would be the greatest leader the world would ever know. It reminds the people and us that there are a few great people in the world, but only one Savior.
Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:2; 6-7 - The Savior is Emmanuel
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."
Spoken during a tumultuous time in the history of God’s people, Isaiah reiterates the promise that originally appeared in Genesis - God is sending a Savior, unlike anything the world has known.
What is the meaning of this passage? Both passages point to the Savior’s miraculous birth as a reminder that, although human, he will be something entirely different. He will be unlike anything the world has known. He will be born to a virgin, he will be a king, and he will bring light to the darkness.
What does this passage say about the coming of Christ? These passages tell us that Jesus will be a human, born of a virgin, but still human. He will be a king, he will bring peace, he will bring justice, he will be in the line of David, but he will absolutely also be fully God. He will be Emmanuel - God with us. Yet, he will be a human who can relate to us and our suffering.
New Testament Advent Passages
Matthew 1:20-25 - Call Him Jesus
Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Understandably concerned about the sudden and mysterious pregnancy of his betrothed, Joseph was contemplating his next steps when an angel named Gabriel appeared to him in a miraculous fashion and explained what was really happening.
What is the meaning of this passage? The angel explained that the child in Mary’s womb was no ordinary baby. He was to be the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He also told Joseph that he would have a vital role in the life of the greatest person to ever live.
What does this passage say about the coming of Christ? Jesus did many things during his time on earth. He healed many, he fed thousands, he preached the truth, and he even raised the dead. But, here, we learn his real purpose for coming. They called him Jesus because he came to save his people from their sins.
Luke 2:4-7 - The Birth of Christ
"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."
You can read the entirety of Luke 2. It is the narrative of the birth of Jesus.
What is the meaning of this passage? This is the fulfillment of Genesis 3, and hundreds of other prophecies about the promise that God would save the world through Jesus. Christ was born of a virgin and laid in a manger. The humble King of the universe had finally come to save the world.
What does this passage say about the coming of Christ? God fulfills his promises. There were witnesses to Jesus’ miraculous birth. He was humble, even though he deserves all the glory.
Hebrews 4:15-16 - A Sympathetic High Priest
"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it. To save the world, he became a great High Priest. He demonstrated his priesthood with his life and made the ultimate sacrifice with his death. By his death and resurrection, he secured the salvation of all who believe.
What is the meaning of this passage? Jesus was tempted as any human would be, but being God, he was completely righteous and did not give into temptation. Nevertheless, our Messiah can relate to us. He has been where we’ve been.
What does this passage say about the coming of Christ? Jesus came to restore our relationship with God. Because of what Jesus accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection, believers can approach God confidently because we’re totally and completely forgiven.
Revelation 21:1-5 - The Second Advent
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The First Advent is not the only coming of Christ. Our celebration of Christmas reminds us that he’s coming again.
What is the meaning of this passage? Jesus is coming again. This is our hope because God delivered on the promise that he came the first time. He fixed us when he came the first time. The second time, he will fix everything else.
What does this passage say about the coming of Christ? He came as a humble servant the first time. The Second Advent will usher in Christ as the King he really is.
Emmanuel Lutheran School
At ELS, we help our students focus on Christ every day of the year. They are consistently reminded of the good news of Jesus. If you would like to know more about how your student will thrive at Emmanuel Lutheran School, contact us today!"