Take a few moments each day to read/listen and reflect on the stories in the Advent Angels booklet. We hope these thoughts and questions will help ...
Monday 7th December ... ANNOUNCE - Zechariah's story
Someone once said that when God wants to do something new, a baby is born. This story comes right near the start of Luke's Gospel. It is the first of the angel announcements in the lead-up to the birth of Jesus. In the Bible, angels often appear at key moments in God's plan. In this story, we see both an angel and the announcement of a baby - a baby born to Elizabeth and Zechariah, even though they had given up hope. This baby grew up to be John the Baptist, who prepared the way for an even more important person - none other than God!
I wonder what it was like for Zechariah when the angel appeared?
I wonder why Zechariah found it hard to believe the angel's message?
When he could talk again, I wonder what Zechariah would tell people about his angel experience?
Tuesday 8th December ... BIRTH - Mary's story
Imagine an ordinary girl, on an ordinary day, doing ordinary things (maybe baking bread?) - that was Mary. Then an extraordinary thing happened. It was another angel announcement, another big surprise, an even more important baby on the way! Mary has questions: "what do you mean?", "how can this happen?" .. but after the angel explains, Mary sets an example of trust in God, saying: "I am God's servant ... may it happen just as you said."
I wonder what is the biggest surprise you have ever experienced?
I wonder what questions you have about the birth of Jesus?
I wonder what it would look like for you to trust in God today?
Wednesday 9th December ... DETERMINED– Joseph's Story
Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph. Mary was pregnant, Joseph knew it wasn't his child but Mary's explanation was hard to believe. With a difficult choice to make Joseph had almost made up his mind to call off the wedding. Then, you guessed it, an angel appears! The angel reassures Joseph that Mary's baby really is the Son of God and encourages Joseph to go ahead with the wedding. Joseph cares more about what God thinks than what other people think. He obeys and plays his part in God's story.
I wonder what difficult choices you face?
I wonder if you or someone you know needs God's wisdom and guidance.
Why not ask God to help with this?
Thursday 10th December ... SING – Shepherd's Surprise
In the time of Jesus, shepherds were not important people (unless you were a sheep!). They were not well educated or wealthy or well respected - quite the opposite in fact! So, why would God send a whole choir of angels to tell them about the birth of Jesus?
Maybe because the birth of Jesus was good news for all people. Maybe because were they were not too busy to listen, they were not too proud to believe, and they were curious enough to go and find baby Jesus. There's one more thing - they were quick to pass on the angelic message to everyone they met!
I wonder what a choir of angels would look like or sound like?
Imagine you met the shepherds on their way back from seeing baby Jesus ... I wonder what they would say to you?
I wonder how you would feel if God entrusted an important message to you?
Friday 11th December ... ESCAPE – Joseph Listens
It's not every new baby that attracts the attention of royal star-gazers from another land - but Jesus did. It's not every baby that receives royal gifts like gold, incense, and myrrh - but Jesus did. It's not every baby whose life is in danger from a jealous king - but Jesus was. And that's when the angel appeared again to Joseph. Thank goodness Joseph listened. This time the angel helped them escape from the wicked King Herod. Jesus was no ordinary baby, he got the attention of kings. Thankfully, someone greater was looking out for him!
I wonder what this story suggests to you about the importance of Jesus' birth?
I wonder what would have happened if Joseph had not listened to the angel.
Jesus and his parents were refugees for a time. How could you pray for refugees in the world today?
Saturday 12th December ... COMFORT – Jesus is Tempted
Sometimes tempting voices come from other people. Sometimes they seem to be in our own thoughts. It can feel like a battle inside of us:
"Go on, take it! Nobody will notice."
"Make something up, else you'll get into trouble."
"If you don't join in, they'll make fun of you too."
It can be hard work resisting the temptation to do wrong. Perhaps that's why God sent a team of angels to comfort and encourage Jesus in today's story. As for us, we can use these words from the Lords prayer to ask for God's help: "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
In what ways have you been tempted to do wrong this week?
I wonder what helped Jesus to resist temptation?
I wonder what could help you?
Sunday 13th December ... PARTY – Jesus Tells a Story
Jesus told lots of stories. He told stories about all sorts of everyday things ... growing food, doing business, throwing parties, and all sorts of others. But he often told stories to help people understand what God was like. And today's story reminds us that there's something particular which makes God's angels just want to celebrate!
I wonder what your favourite part of today's story is?
I wonder if you've been surprised by anything in today's story?
I wonder who you are most like in today's story?
Look out for the next batch of Advent Angel reflections on the St Andrews Blog from Sunday 13th December.