• Karen O'Reilly

Joy: An Advent Devotional Bible Study 2022

The season of Advent is upon us! Do you and your family celebrate Advent?

Advent is the perfect time to prepare your heart for Christ this Christmas.


Advent Bible Study

To help you prepare for a Christ-Centred Christmas, I have the perfect Bible study for the Advent season!

There are 25 Advent devotionals with guided questions that you can download and print.


They are in a PDF format which means that you can read, pray and answer the questions in the prayer journal on your phone or another digital device immediately. (It also means that you can study God's word anywhere throughout your day in this busy season!)


All you need is a notes app such as Books, Samsung notes, or the inexpensive app, GoodNotes (super easy to use!)


25 days of daily Bible study focusing on 4 sections.

  1. The Promise of the Messiah.

  2. Christ is coming.

  3. Christ is here.

  4. Christ our redeemer.


It has a prayer and gratitude journal to encourage you to unpack what God is speaking to you through the various scriptures that have been selected for this devotional book.


What is Advent and why do we celebrate it

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas.


The church's new liturgical year begins with the season of Advent. It is a time to help us prepare for remembering Christ in Christmas when we celebrate the fulfillment of our longing for the savior with the birth of Christ Jesus.


During this time we observe a season of prayer and reflection, and a time of expectation of Jesus returning in the future for His bride (us!).


The word, 'Advent' means 'coming' in Latin. It is obtained from the Latin word 'adventus' which is translated from the Greek word 'parousia'.


There are three meanings to this word, 'coming' in Advent.

1. The first one is when we remember that over 2000 years ago Jesus came into the world as a baby (miraculous conception) to live as a man and to die for us.


2. The second meaning is happening 'now' as Jesus lives in the hearts of us that have surrendered our lives to Him and know Him as our savior.


3. And the third meaning of this word, 'coming' will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to earth as King at the time of judgment.


A Christ-Centred Christmas:

During the Christmas season, the true meaning of Christmas can get buried in all our preparations with the decorating of our homes, gift buying and hopefully preparing for family gatherings.


Our Bible study for Advent contains a prayer and gratitude journal for you to write out the daily scriptures and to prayerfully consider what God is saying to you through these verses. Each day try to list three things that you are grateful for. This can change your whole perspective of the day ahead!


There are a few ways of following our Advent scripture plan:


  1. Free sample: I have a list of 25 Bible verses that you can read daily with a sample of our first Advent Bible study. You will find it in the Resource Library.

  2. Advent Bible Study: I have also written 25 daily devotionals that unpack each verse and give you a bit of context surrounding each verse. You can read all about that here.

Related: Joy - Advent Devotional Bible Study in pdf format.


Advent Bible verses:

This Christmas Advent Bible plan contains 25 portions of scriptures for 25 days that will bring you to Christmas Day. This Bible plan weaves its way through the Old Testament and through the New Testament of the Bible. All the Bible verses in the devotional Bible study have been taken from the New Living Translation Bible. You can look up these verses in other translations at biblegateway.com.


We will be just like the Wise men that had searched the scriptures and knew about the promised King to be born in Bethlehem. They had watched for these prophecies to unfold and they found Him! They found Jesus!

Now that we have found Him too, we also look forward with hope for His second return in the future.


Advent scriptures:


The Promise Of The Messiah


1. Psalm 98:1-9: Sing a new song to the Lord for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory, his holy arm has shown his saving power! The Lord has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation! He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song, with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness. ( We uncover some interesting facts about these verses in our Bible study!)


2. Isaiah 7:14: All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). (we uncover the role King Ahaz plays in the background to this verse in our Bible study)



3. Isaiah 9:6: For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


4. Micah 5:2: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.

(we uncover the threat that Judah was under when Micah prophesied to them and all about humble beginnings in our study!)


5. Malachi 3:1: “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.


The Israelites were tired of waiting for their promised Messiah and they began to doubt. Their worship became empty and their morality slipped, also so did the priests! This is when Malachi comes along. Malachi prophesizes that the Messiah is returning.


Christ is coming


6. Luke 1:26-27: In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.


We discover Elizabeth in her late years is miraculously expecting a baby. Zechariah [ her husband] can't quite believe the angel Gabriel when he delivers the news to him, and he is struck dumb for not believing!


The angel Gabriel also visits Mary, a young girl, not yet married to Joseph and a virgin, and delivers similar news to her. Mary is from a lowly family and the city of Nazareth which was not a prominent town. We discuss the repercussions toward Mary in our study due to Jewish customs in our study. She truly was a brave lady that risked everything to become the mother of Jesus.


7. Luke 1:28-30: Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!


God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. We will be reading in the days to come more about Mary and we will learn of her heart for God and how strong her faith in Him was.


8. Luke 1:34-36: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.


We put ourselves in Mary's shoes in our Advent Bible study and consider questions like, What could it mean to have the Holy Spirit come upon you and overshadow you?


9. Luke 1:37: For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. AMPC version.


We read in the previous verses about the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she would miraculously conceive by the Holy Spirit and give birth to Jesus - the Savior of the world!

She asked and wondered ' how can this be?' These familiar words spoken by the angel Gabriel are also spoken for us. This verse is a reminder for us to believe in God, regardless of the situation in our lives, and that nothing is impossible for our God.


10. Luke 1:38-41: Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.


Have you ever wondered how Mary was able to be so calm and confident when she said to the angel, 'I am the Lord's servant? May everything you have said about me come true '. We discuss this and explore the question of whether you would be brave enough to say 'yes to God ' if He asked you to do something difficult for Him, in our Advent study.


11. Luke 1:42-45: Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”


Can you imagine being given the gift, of being the mother of Jesus?

Yesterday we read that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary arrived at her house. Upon being filled with the Spirit, Elizabeth immediately delivered a message inspired by the Spirit.

What a blessing it is to believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God and that through faith in Him and the cross, we have salvation.


12. Luke 1:46-56: The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.


These verses are a hymn of praise that Mary spoke in response to Elizabeth's recognition through the Holy Spirit that Mary was carrying Jesus in her womb.


13. Matthew 1:18-25: This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.


You need to read the whole of Matthew chapter 1 in your own Bible to get a clear picture of Joseph and his dream from God. Joseph was a righteous man which was why it would be a disgrace to marry Mary.


Just as Joseph was about to make a big mistake, God steps in and an angel visits him in a dream and states these verses from Matthew chapter 1. This put Joseph's mind at rest and his heart was full of Holy expectation that he and Mary had been chosen by God to fulfill the promises God had made long ago[ Isaiah 7:14].


Christ is here


14. Luke 2:1-7: At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.


Have you ever considered that God used Caesar to take a census at just the right time when Mary was 9 months pregnant to get them to Bethlehem on time for the prophecy to unfold?


Everything is working according to God's sovereign decree!


15. Luke 2:8-12: That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”


Do you ever wonder why did God choose to announce this amazing news to shepherds? We explore the answer to that question in our printable Advent study.


16. Luke 2:13-20: Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.


As soon as the angel had finished his announcement about the newborn King to the shepherds, a heavenly choir surrounded him and they praised God loudly!


The shepherd's response shows how amazed and excited they were to hear the news. They went immediately to see what the 'fuss' was all about and then they were so excited that they couldn't keep the news to themselves and they felt compelled to tell everyone who would listen.


Consider how you can tell others this ' Good news ' about Jesus and how He transforms lives today.


17. Matthew 2:1-12: Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview, the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.


The wise men trusted God so much that when they were instructed in a dream not to return to Herod, they obeyed. There is much treasure to be mined from these verses and you will discover some of these truths in our Advent study.


18. Matthew 2:18-23: “A cry was heard in Ramah—weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”


Matthews's gospel includes a number of parallels between Jesus and Moses. eg. Jesus' flight to Egypt parallels Moses hidden in the bulrushes and the murder of the baby boys by Herod parallels the murder of the baby boys by Pharaoh.


Joseph had a dream from God warning him to flee Bethlehem and he obeyed immediately. The journey would have been 150 miles. They would have known nobody there, although it seems that Egypt had a substantial Jewish population. The only currencies they had were the gifts the wise men had given them and Joseph's skill as a carpenter.


Joseph models unwavering obedience and courage to step out when God calls him to do something.


Christ our Redeemer


19. Galatians 4:4-7: But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.


We are starting the final section of our Advent devotional, 'Christ Our Redeemer' today. From now until Christmas Day we will be remembering the 'Why' Jesus had to humble Himself.


You are adopted! You are a daughter of the King!

You are so precious that you are the reason we celebrate Christmas!

Wow, what a thought!


20. Philippians 2:6-8: Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God

as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave

and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on the cross.


Do you ever wonder about the mystery of God allowing His Son to give up His position in heaven to become like us, just to bridge the gap between sin and God?

Explore the answer to that question with us in our Advent Bible study here.


21. 2 Corinthians 9:15: Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!


This is the time of year when we are concerned about choosing just the right Christmas gifts to give to the special people in our lives.

Have you ever received an "indescribable gift?"


This Christmas spend some time considering this indescribable gift of grace that Jesus has given you.


22. John 14:1-6: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.


These verses remind us of what our savior has prepared for us. Jesus is preparing the disciples for His imminent departure. They are gathered to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover. While they are feasting and re-telling the story of God's deliverance from slavery in Egypt, Jesus explains that He is about to leave them.


The disciples are very troubled but Jesus wants to calm their fear, frustration, disappointment, and bewilderment. That was when Jesus makes this statement that is offensive to many and a costly truth, Jesus answers Thomas and all of us: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me" (v. 6).


That categorically tells you that one way is right and every other way is wrong. It's all or nothing.

Jesus is the only way!


23. Revelation 22:13-14: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.


These Bible verses from Revelation 22 sum up our whole Advent journey.

The idea behind Christ's second coming has its roots in the Old Testament understanding of

" The Day Of The Lord". That day will be a day of judgment. Everyone from the past to the present that has made Christ their Lord and Savior and is enjoying fellowship with Him will be given their heavenly reward but for the people that do not acknowledge Christ as their Lord and savior - that day will be a terrible one!


24. Daniel 7:13-14: As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world so that people of every race and nation, and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.


Advent is coming to a close! Jesus is coming!

In the book of Daniel, God gives Daniel several visions. The one in these verses is a reference to Jesus our Messiah who would come and set up an everlasting Kingdom.


We have been weaving our way through the Old Testament and New Testament discovering the true Advent of Jesus and the implication He is in our lives. These verses also remind us that not only has He come as a babe but He is coming again soon!


25. Revelation 3:20: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.


Happy Christmas! We did it, this is the last verse for Advent and my heart is so ready to celebrate the birth of my savior!


Are you ready too?


As you sit down to enjoy your Christmas dinner with family and friends - remember these verses. Just imagine Jesus sitting with you at your table, dining with you but He won't enter your heart, home, or any area of your life unless you invite Him. Jesus will never enter a place in your life that He is not welcome.


God wants to bring healing and wholeness to every area of your life, but He will wait for your invitation. So in a quiet moment today, invite the Lord to be with you and to shine His light on an area of your life that you haven't totally surrendered to Him.


I hope you have enjoyed exploring our Advent scriptures. There is so much scripture treasure to be mined from these Advent Bible verses and I have only covered a fraction of the treasure that you will uncover more in our Advent Bible study.



Let's talk about how to benefit from this list of scriptures:

I find that writing them out, allows you time to learn them and think about them more deeply. I have some pretty journal stationary with prompts to help you during your devotional time. It should take about 10 minutes to write each verse but spend as much time as you have, sitting in God's presence and listening for His Holy Spirit speaking to your heart, instructing, and guiding you.

Copying scripture and carrying it with us throughout the day, reading it and memorizing it, makes God's word a part of us. It renews your mind and calms your anxious heart.

Take Action :

  1. Download the scripture verse list, and journal paper HERE.

  2. Find a quiet place with your cup of coffee, Bible, and a favorite pen or journal on your iPad!

  3. Pray as you write your scripture verse for that day.

  4. Ask God to reveal Himself to you and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

  5. If you feel convicted of something- confess it and ask for forgiveness.

  6. If you feel moved to worship - worship God! Just enjoy His presence.

  7. Most important: make an appointment with yourself, journal, and God every day for your scripture writing time. I find it works best for me to do it in the morning. It helps me to gain ' God's perspective' on my day. But you do it at your own perfect time. The important thing to remember is to do it and if you miss a day - just double up the next one!


I would love it if you could share with me your thoughts as you work your way through this Scripture plan. You can connect with me via email karen@scripturalgrace.com or on our FACEBOOK page.

It's all about His grace.

Karen.


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