And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
There is something undeniably joyful about the Christmas season. The lights and sights, the parties and presents, the time with family and friends all combine to make this “the most wonderful time of the year.” But none of this compares to the “good news of great joy” that the angel brough to the shepherds in Bethlehem.
The angel came with news of a special birth. The Old Testament is punctuated by a series of special, even miraculous, births that opened a new chapter in redemptive history. And it looked forward to an utterly unique birth – a virgin birth – which signaled the coming of God’s divine king and the dawning of the Messianic age. That age begins with this birth.
This special birth took place in a special place. Ever since the dark days of the Judges, the hope of God’s people has been fixed to an eternal king, who comes from a special place. This king will be a second David – a better David – a righteous and deathless David – and he will hail from David’s own hometown of Bethlehem, the very place the angel directs the shepherds.
The angel proclaimed the birth of the promised Savior. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The death-defeating, sin-destroying, cursing-reversing, Savior of has arrived! The long-awaited Christ – the Messiah – the Anointed One – the Spirit-endowed, Spirit-empowered, prophet, priest, and king– has come to rescue God’s people and judge his enemies. And the angel tells the shepherds that they can find him in the most unlikely place – in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.
This is good news of great joy.
This 6-week Advent study is meant to be an exposition and exploration of this “good news of great joy.” It is an introductory study, hence the title “Advent 101.” It is aimed at middle school and high school students, though I’ve personally taught it to adults as well. You know your church and your students best, so feel free to tailor this material to find the best fit.
Each of the six lessons is designed to fill a 30-45 minute time slot. Over the course of this study we will work through the nativity narratives in the Gospels in the following order:
Lesson 1: The Genealogy of Christ (Matt. 1:1-17)
Lesson 2: The Birth of the Forerunner (Luke 1:5-25)
Lesson 3: The Virgin Birth (Luke 1:26-56)
Lesson 4: The Nativity of our Lord (Luke 2:1-21)
Lesson 5: The Adoration of the Magi (Matt. 2:1-23)
Lesson 6: The Theological Significant of the Incarnation (John 1:1-18)
Some lessons include optional readings and questions, which may allow you to go further or dig deeper into a particular topic if time permits. I’ve also included some quotes from the likes of J. I. Packer, J. C. Ryle, and C. S. Lewis to illustrate or apply certain truths. The major leg-work has been done for you; now you can you can make it your own. Add your own quotes. Find your own illustrations. Come up with your own application question. The great Roman orator, Cicero, argued that every oration must be tailored to suit the audience, speaker, and occasion. The same is true of a study of the Advent.
The word Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus, means “coming,” and the Advent season is a wonderful time to look back to the coming of Christ in humility in Bethlehem and forward to the coming of Christ in power and glory at the end of the age. The Collect (prayer) for the first Sunday in Advent from The Book of Common Prayer (1662) provides a wonderfully summary of the spiritual significance of this season:
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty; to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost now and ever. Amen.
We pray that this study will help you and your students marvel at the “great humility” of our Lord’s first Advent and prepare your hearts for his Second in “glorious Majesty.”
Lastly, Advent 101 is completely free. When we say “completely free,” that means not only monetarily free, but with no strings attached. That means you don’t have to sign up for our newsletter, you don’t have to share this on a social media platform, etc. Reformed Youth Ministries seeks to spread the good news of the gospel by reaching students for Christ and equipping them to serve. Part of that goal is fulfilled through the production of resources.
© Reformed Youth Ministries