Week 2: Wednesday

Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

6 who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8     he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Week 2: Tuesday

Romans 8:37-39

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Through Week Two

Monday's Reading

John 3:16-21

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”


Activity Possibilities

A/Y/C: As Christmas cards arrive at your home, open them together, and after reading the greeting, pray for the sender. Especially pray for those you know who do not know the true peace we have in Jesus. Plan to keep the cards and pray for the senders throughout the year.

Y/C: Christmas is a time to reach out and bless others. What are some ways you can do that in your family, neighborhood, and community? Make a special prayer list of people you pray for this week or through the season of Advent. Create “be healthy bags” that include a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc. and/or coupons or gift cards from different fast food restaurants and keep them in your car that you can share with people who you encounter that are in need. Find simple ways to be a blessing of hope, peace, joy, and love. 

A/Y/C: How can you and each member of your family give the gift of time this holiday season? Youth and older children can offer to play with a neighbor’s or friend’s child so they can bake/run errands (and not accept any payment). Families could offer to assist the older generation by putting up Christmas lights or bless them by helping them decorate and/or take down their Christmas tree, or even help run errands. Adults/Families could grocery shop for and/or volunteer at a community food pantry for a few hours. Find a way to give quality time, a very precious gift, to others.

A/Y/C: Many of us have family far away who we will not be able to see during the holiday season. Are there people you know that do not have family in the area? Invite them to join you and your family for a special meal, a Christmas outing, or to spend some time with you on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. 

A/Y/C: When holiday hustle and bustle noise gets to be too much, have a quiet day or a quiet time of day. Turn off the extra noise in your life and avoid the store and malls that day. Also, avoid any unnecessary phone calls, text messages, Facebook updates and conversations. Use those noticeably quieter times to ask God to bring true peace to your soul. Try to create “peace moments” by spending ten minutes a day alone or as a family in quiet! This experience may create a new spiritual discipline in your life that draws you closer to God. 

A/Y/C: Who are some prayer warriors in your life? Take a plate of Christmas cookies, a box of holiday candy, or flowers to them as a thank you for being a source of strength, peace, and hope to you.

 

Prayers for the Community

StreetGrace — Battling Human Trafficking in our community and being messengers of true peace in advocacy, healing and hope

We pray that as we know and experience Jesus, the giver of true peace, that justice will reign in our community. We pray protection and grace for the children and adults who are taken advantage of, hurt, and put in harm’s way through human trafficking. We pray for the powerful light of hope, love, and peace to break through the injustices and lead them towards redemption and rehabilitation. We specifically pray for wisdom and guidance for the advocates of StreetGrace and all of those in our community who are called to challenge exploitation.

 

Prayers for the World

Egypt — Evangelical Theological Seminary and Synod of the Nile

As you pray for the world, we encourage your family to use a map or an atlas to find the countries you are praying for. You can pray for specific places in the country or place your hands on the map/atlas as a reminder that our prayers touch God and show our compassion for all people.

We pray that as we celebrate Jesus as our true peace, that His power will reign in Egypt throughout the government, people, and systems of justice. We continue to pray for Jesus’ hope, peace, joy, and love to flow in and from the Christians in Egypt as they face uncertainty and injustices. May the Holy Spirit fill them with strength, courage, and wisdom.

The Second Sunday in Advent

Theme: Finding True Hope in Peace

Worship Time

Reader 1: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Reader 2: For those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Light the second candle.

The youngest person asks, “Why do we light this candle?”

R1: This candle reminds us that God is with us as the true hope of the world through his peace. He has promised to send a savior to come and liberate us from sin that separates us from him. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

R2: The word advent means, “coming.” Advent is a season when the church looks to the coming of Jesus Christ, our True Peace, who came into the world to give all who believe in his name the power to become children of God.

R1: Today’s advent reading comes from Psalm 119:114. In this passage, we claim God as the True Hope of the world. Through his peace, he has come to save and restore us. 

"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."

R2: Please pray with me: Father God, we put our hope for true peace in you! Guide us in your truth and teach us, for you are God our Savior, and our hope is in you all day long. Help us to share the true hope we have through your peace with others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

All: And the word became flesh, and lived among us, and we have seen his glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. Amen.

 

Thoughts and Questions

A/Y/C: Read Isaiah 40: 9-11. What does this text say about God's love for us? Where else does the Bible tell us God is our shepherd and we are His sheep? How does it give you true peace to know that God has won the battle of the pain, hurt, and injustice of this world? How is he caring for you and your loved ones today? How has he cared for you faithfully in the past? 

A/Y/C: When is it hard to trust that God can give you peace? How do you share God’s peace with others in your family, school, workplace, community, and world?

C: Continue to set up your crèche scene by getting out the stable and animals. What do you think Mary and Joseph felt when they discovered there was no room in the inn and Jesus would be born in a stable?

 

Hymns/Songs

Each week we will suggest a different Christmas Carol and encourage you to sing with your family.

“Silent Night”

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin, mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.

Close with prayer, thanking God that he is with us and gives us true peace in times of joy and pain. Ask him to open our hearts to trust his power as we share his hope, peace, joy, and love with others.


This Week at NAPC

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10

Youth Caroling & Christmas Party (2 PM)

NAPCYouth spend the afternoon caroling at a local nursing home. Then they will return to The Underground at the church for their annual Christmas party.

A Broken-Hearted Christmas (5:45 PM)

The service is for all those who find Christmas to be that difficult mix of joy and sorrow, loneliness and longing. Come find a space to grieve—what has been lost, what has never come into fruition, what is broken, what is unfulfilled, what is a source of fear, the bleak midwinter in the midst of the “very merry.”

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12

Christmas Communion Service (11 AM)

Come celebrate Christmas with us at the mid-week service. Together we will celebrate Jesus' birth and take communion. Stay after to enjoy light refreshments.

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16

First Serve with Pride for Parents

Following our Toy Drive for Pride for Parents with NAPC Mission Partner FCS to benefit families in South Atlanta, you can also be a part of the parents’ shopping experience at our First Serve opportunity on December 16. We need 24 volunteers to help sorting and pricing toys, assisting shoppers, and gift wrapping. See more and register here.

Week 1: Saturday

Isaiah 11:1-6

1 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
    the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the spirit of counsel and might,
    the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide by what his ears hear;
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

6 The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.

Week 1: Thursday

Isaiah 9:2-7

2 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
4 For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors
    and all the garments rolled in blood
    shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Week 1: Wednesday

Haggai 2:6-9

6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.