About the author: Amy Crispin is the director of children's ministries at ZPC. She partners with parents at ZPC to create a great experience for ZPC kids in grades 1-4. She has served at ZPC since 2006, but has been attending ZPC since 2002! Amy is married to Matt and they have 4 kids: Natalie, Tommy, Charlie, and Andy.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: Malachi 3:1-4
Read: Malachi 3:1-4
Say: "The name Malachi means my messenger.”
God had a message for his people. Malachi reminded the people that God loved them. The Jewish people were surprised at Malachi’s message because they said, “How have you loved us?” We don’t know why the Jewish people felt like God didn’t love them. Maybe they felt like God didn’t love them because the Messiah had not come and the promises of peace and God’s blessing were not happening.
God loved his people and was very disappointed that they thought he didn’t love them. They had seen God’s power, protection, and his faithfulness to keep his promises. God always keeps his promises and never stops loving his people. God was working out his plan to send the Messiah who would rescue his people.
The Jewish people had seen God keep his promise to allow them to return to Jerusalem after 70 years of being in Babylon. He helped them rebuild the temple and the walls were rebuilt in 52 days. However, they returned to wicked, sinful behavior.
Before Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, the Jewish people were to worship God at the temple and bring sacrifices. The sacrifices and worship at the temple were pictures pointing them to Jesus who would be the perfect sacrifice. Malachi told the people that God was going to send a messenger who would prepare the way before him.
You and I know that God kept his promise to his people to send the Messiah. The Jews thought the Messiah would set up a kingdom and rule the land. We learned in Zechariah that the Messiah would come first as a humble servant. (Zech. 9:9) Jesus came first to rescue us from our sins. He is the perfect sacrifice who shed his blood to take away all our sins. (John 1:29)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Make a Christmas Card telling of the birth of Jesus.
- Find the story of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-20) and print on the computer.
- Take a piece of cardstock and fold it in half.
- Tear the story into 7 pieces, each piece a little shorter than the next so they stack on top of each other to look like a pine tree.
- Find a star sticker or make one from paper by drawing two triangles on top of each other, one of them upside down.
- Glue the seven pieces of paper starting with the smallest on top, finishing with the longest on bottom.
- Tear one more piece of paper for the trunk
- Glue the trunk on the bottom and the star on the top of the tree.
- On the inside, you get to be a messenger of the Good News! Tell your friend about Jesus and what he has done for us. Tell them his birthday is soon! Ask them if they’d like to celebrate with you. Maybe you could bring them to church or invite them over for snacks and games.
- Mail your letter and don’t forget to put a return address. Maybe they’ll write you back!
Thank you for keeping your promises. Thank you for sending your son Jesus to save me. Thank you for loving me.
Help me to share with other people why I love you.
In Jesus’ name I pray,