Advent is all about getting ready! Not getting the tree or the presents or even the yummy food ready for Christmas, but instead, getting our hearts ready to celebrate the birth of JESUS!!  These devotions were written especially for children and are meant to help everyone focus on the real meaning of the season. Along the way we will give a nod to the principals that our children learned at Camp Change about God and money, which challenge us all to live beyond the “stuff” this Christmas. We hope you enjoy today’s devotion and come back tomorrow for more goodness and encouragement in the life of your family!
Day 1:  Hope in Jesus
Scripture- Mark 10:17-22

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
This is the story of the rich young man who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him that he must be willing to give up his life and follow him, but more specifically he has to be willing to give up his wealth. Jesus said this to make the point to the young man that we have to follow Jesus with our whole lives, not just some parts of it. The man went away sad because he was very rich and was not willing to take that next step. Taking the first step of following Jesus through salvation is typically easier than the next step of being willing to give Jesus complete control over everything in our lives, especially when it comes to our money and our time.
Sometimes, people with lots of money and wealth but no relationship with Jesus try to fill the spiritual emptiness in their lives with material possessions and “stuff” to fix their problems or feelings rather than leaning on God to fill them with his hope, peace, joy, love and contentment. 
Have you ever really wanted a new toy or gadget and waited or saved for it for a long time. Do you remember the excitement you had about it the first few hours or days after you got it?  After those first few hours or days, have you ever found that it wasn’t as fun or awesome as you had expected it to be in your mind?  Do you have a stash of toys somewhere in your house that you never play with anymore?  Now try to imagine a life where you truly believed that all of your happiness could be found in the next new thing you bought rather than in a relationship with God. That would be a life of constant excitement and then crashing disappointment. You would always be searching for something more.

Jesus does not expect for us to sell off all our possessions to have eternal life, he paid the price for our sin on the cross. What Jesus wants is for us to put our hope and trust in him.

But now that we’re thinking about it, if Jesus asked you, could you give up your money, your favorite toys or clothes, your home, or even your popularity at school and trust God knowing that he will provide everything we need? Once we come to understand that all money is God’s money, then we should begin to use our money in the ways that would honor Jesus rather than using it to simply please ourselves all the time. If we think our happiness or salvation will be found in material possessions, we will end up empty, broken and lost.  Jesus would ultimately give up his life for his people and what he calls us to do is give up our old life to him, be forgiven and follow him. This Christmas there is no need for us to be like the rich young man and go away sad. The Christmas story is all about the new hope found in Jesus.

 

Prayer- Holy God, we ask for you to give us hope; hope to understand that All money is Gods money and that we can bless and change the lives of others through the money that God had provided to us. Help us to become good stewards and trust in the plans that you have for our lives, God, because everything we have is a gift from you.

Activity- As a family take some time to engage your children. Go around your home and place bows on all items that you recognize are gifts from God. 

Challenge– Take some time as a family to prepare a budget and figure out how much money you are tithing. If you find that you tithe less than 10% of your annual income, I challenge you to find ways to decrease expenses within your budget so that you may tithe appropriately.