During Advent in addition to my regular devotional reading, I like to read Scripture and thoughts that focus me on Jesus’ first coming to earth as a baby in Bethlehem and also on His anticipated coming again in full power and glory. Advent is meant to be a time of preparation … not just to celebrate Christmas or the festival of His first coming but to help individuals and the church prepare for His Second Advent.
In yesterday’s devotion, I encountered this thought: “When we surrender to God’s interruptions, we can rest in the knowledge that He always has a higher purpose for our lives.”
According to my personality profile, by nature I am a highly structured person. I plan things out and work the plan. I get annoyed at interruptions, and yet if I am willing to accept it, God wants to interrupt my life for His higher purpose. As we approach Christmas, I’d like to share a couple of interruptions from years past where God interrupted, and I paid attention long enough to be a blessings and to be blessed. Continue reading
Many Go to Bethlehem, But —
Do you not suppose that on that holy night long ago, there may have been other shepherds keeping sheep on hillsides who saw no star, heard no voices, took no journey, found no Babe? One can imagine them:
- here are some discussing the price of wool;
- here are others so busy amusing themselves with a game that they have no time to look up.
These did not see. The focus of their eyes, thoughts, and whole selves was downward, not up and out into the vast reaches of God’s eternal skies. One must busy himself or herself with the nearby, the immediate, the everyday problems at times; but to every life there should come times for looking up, letting thoughts reach hopefully toward One greater than he, letting his or her mind stretch forth in wonder. Continue reading
Today is the third Sunday in Advent as we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child. If you are lighting the Advent Wreath, relight the first Advent candle, which was the Prophets’ candle, reminding you that the Prophets of old prepared the way by sharing the hope of a Savior to come.
Relight the second Advent candle, the Angel’s candle, the candle of love, which represents God’s motivation for coming as the Christ Child and living among us. Today, light the third candle, the shepherds’ candle. It was those ordinary folks, people who probably had very little of this world’s goods, that God chose to be the first to know of the birth of the Christ Child. Let’s listen to the story as Luke records it:
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Continue reading
I need to consider the season of Advent in my life to slow me down and help me appreciate all that was involved in the first coming of Jesus and how we are to anticipate His second coming. It reminds me that God is faithful, and He fulfills prophecies and plans in His time.
Advent: week #1 – The Prophet’s Candle – “Hope”
This is a busy time of year for all of us. Christmas is in our thoughts, and we find ourselves involved in a rush of activities. Actually, however, we have not yet come to the season in the Christian Year that is known as Christmas. We are now observing the season of Advent.
Advent begins the fourth Sunday before the night celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ into this world. In the early Christian church, Advent was a time of repentance, fasting, and church attendance. People were trying to prepare themselves for Christmas – for receiving God’s gift of love – the promised Messiah.
Through the centuries customs of Advent have changed. However, Advent is still the season of preparation, the time when we open our hearts and minds to prepare ourselves for new experiences of the Spirit, and new understandings of what Christ’s coming means to our lives. Continue reading