December 23rd

Story

The shepherds return to their flocks, praising God for all they have seen and heard.

Activity

Enjoy a family board game night in front of the Christmas tree.

Adult

The Hebrew Bible records the history of God’s people repeatedly neglecting the greatest commandment to love God and others. How can we hope to do any better? Jesus helps us when he adds a new commandment to accompany the greatest commandment. His new command shows how his own sacrificial love can empower his followers to love others.

Read

John 13:34, Mark 12:29-31, 1 John 4:9-11

John 13:34

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.


Mark 12:29-31

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”


1 John 4:9-11

9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Reflect

  • Compare John 13:34 with Mark 12:29-31. What is the difference between these two commands? How does Jesus’ own example renew and fulfill the greatest command?
  • Review 1 John 4:9-11 carefully. What words or phrases stand out to you? According to this passage, why did Jesus give his life, and what should motivate our love for others?
  • Take a moment to pray in response to what you learned today.