Advent 2021 • Week One • Activities

Saturday, December 4th, 2021

Unwrapping the Names: Jesus; The Resurrection and the Life; King of Kings; Light of the World; The Christ/Messiah

Verse of the Day

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
— Romans 15:13 — (NIV)

HOPE IN ACTION

The author of the book I’m reading through Advent gives the following suggestions to put our HOPE into action.

🔅 Decorate a Christmas tree. This can be done alone, with family. 🔅

🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲

Reflect on how the evergreen trees symbolize life in the middle of winter as Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.

🎄🌟🎄🌟🎄🌟🎄🌟🎄🌟🎄🌟🎄🌟🎄

When you see twinkling lights, remember that Jesus is the Light of the World and He calls us to be shining lights in the darkness.

⭐️🎄🔔✝️🎁✝️🔔🎄⭐️

You might want to consider making ornaments to remind you of Jesus’ names we have learned so far on our journey through Advent. Also, color printable ornaments are available at unwrappingthenames.com now known as https://onethingalone.com/advent/

🍪🥠🍪🥠🍪🥠🍪🥠🍪

Bake cookies, write the names of Jesus on them and share them with people who regularly care for your needs with little thanks. These could be your mail carrier, garbage collector, land/leasing offices. You can also extend to include family, neighbors, coworkers, or deliver persons. Celebrate the birth of the King of Kings, who was born for the high and the low.

✂️📝📫🖍👩‍🍼👨‍🍼🙏🏻🛐

Make Christmas cards for families with small children in the hospital, the holidays can feel very lonely. Share hope with them. Pray that Jesus, the One who saves, may fill their hearts with hope.

🎄😇🎄🎄😇🎄

Participate in an Angel Tree buying gifts for children in need. You can also find links and more information at unwrappingthenames.com now known as https://onethingalone.com/advent/

🛐⛪️🎄✝️🌟🎄⛪️🛐

Help decorate your church or you workplace if allowed. While decorating listen to Jesus-centered music or sing Christmas carols. A playlist is available at unwrappingthenames.com now known as https://onethingalone.com/advent/

BONUS CONTENT

Go to unwrappingthenames.com to download a free printable activity sheet and other fun resources to celebrate Advent.

Thank you for joining me during this first week of Advent, I look forward to spending each day of Advent with you.

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent 2021 • Week One • Day Five

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Verse of the Day • Matthew 2:4

Jesus came not as an anointed one, but as the Anointed One. In the Old Testament “anointed” meant [being set aside for service] specifically as a king or priest. Jesus came as the Anointed One, both King and Priest, set apart not by man but by God Himself.

God also sent John the Baptist as a forerunner to Christ. John the Baptist was an interesting individual in the New Testament, “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” (Matthew 3:4). John was preaching to the people and baptizing them, calling people to repent and making preparations for the Messiah. Many of the people who gathered believed that John was the Messiah and he repeatedly told them he was not, he was the forerunner, the messenger sent from God. The story of a Messiah is foretold in prophecies throughout the Old Testament. Upon the arrival of the Anointed One, many were in disbelief. Jesus was not at all what the people had expected. He was not a warrior with a large army that would defeat the Roman rule and oppression placed on the Jews. Nope, Jesus was a man with a quiet spirit and a meek disposition. He was born under suspicious circumstances, and He had no possessions. He was welcoming, He spent time with outcasts, sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes. He was not their idea of a great Jewish leader. Many were just plain disappointed in Jesus. After all, this Jesus is the focal point of their belief system, the hinge of all their history. God had answered the prayers of the Israelites, Jesus is the Messiah and they rejected Him.

Today, all people who are believers in Jesus as the Christ, as the Anointed One can celebrate Him. The season of Advent is a period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
— John 1:11-12 —

https://www.etymonline.com/

🔺 🔻 CHALLENGE 🔻 🔺

♦️ Have you ever tried to fit Jesus into your idea of who He should be or how he should act?

I have no doubt that I had tried to fit Jesus into what is convenient in my life on more than one occasion. It is interesting to me as I look at my life and the different stages it has gone through to include the straying away from God and failure to do what is right [sin]; I have found it’s always best to return to the foundation of my faith. Specifically, I have a focal point that takes me back to the night I ask God to forgive me and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I am immediately taken back in time and I’m asking my mom about salvation and she drives me to our pastor’s home where we talked and prayed.

🔷 🤔 🔷 🧐 🔷 🤔 🔷 🧐 🔷 🤔 🔷 🧐 🔷

💬 Take time this season to read through the Gospels.

💬💬 Reacquaint yourself with Jesus.

💬💬💬 Marvel at His miracles.

💬💬💬💬 Chuckle at His witty responses to the Pharisees’ snide remarks.

💬💬💬💬💬 Weep as His people reject Him and as He walks towards Golgotha.

Go beyond surface familiarity with the stories and engage with the Anointed One as He is revealed in the pages of Scripture.

Prayer ~

God of Heaven and earth, thank you for sending your son Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One. Forgive us for assuming we have all the right answers, for trying to fit Jesus into “into a box” our idea of who we want Him to be instead of who He actually is. Thank you for the privilege of being called your children, your sons and daughters. Continue to feed us with your word, you are our Hope. Please bless the person reading this prayer, I ask all these things in Jesus the Anointed One, the Messiah. Amen.

➡️➡️➡️FOR FURTHER STUDY

• Job 19:25 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Job%2019:25&version=NIV

• Daniel 9:25 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Daniel%209:25&version=NIV

• Matthew 2:4 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%202:4&version=NIV

• Matthew 16:16 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%2016:16&version=NIV

• Luke 9:20 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%209:20&version=NIV

• John 1:41 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%201:41&version=NIV

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog space today. I hope you will consider joining me as I continue to journey through Advent. 🤍

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References :

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/?amp

https://www.etymonline.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

An Advent Devotional — Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu

Advent 2021 • Week One • Day Four

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Everything becomes more and more itself. Here is joy that cannot be shaken. Our light can swallow up your darkness; but your darkness cannot now infect our light.” C.S.Lewis, The Great Divorce

Photo Credit: Me
May 9, 2017 – Indianapolis, IN

The Bible gives us so many examples of “light.” Jesus is described as the light of the world in today’s verse. As the sun in our solar system gives light, Jesus is the light source of our spiritual lives. Our faith and devotion to God allows the light of Jesus to shine not only in us but also through us. In being faithful servants of God, we have the ability to spread the light of God’s goodness and grace to our hurting world. In the surrendering of our own selfish desires and asking God to use us for what He created us to do, we are furthering the kingdom of God.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr./Strength to Love, 1963

Personally, I have never been a fan of the dark, I don’t like being scared and I don’t liking watching scary things, it’s a choice and I am completely okay with it. Jesus illuminates everything, nothing can be hid from Him, sin has no hiding place though we try nonetheless. Sin cast a gloomy darkness over our lives, it is the absence of illumination, this illumination is the absolute presence of God. It is through our repentance and God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness we can shine for Him. Jesus will light our way, he will turn our dark crimson sin into a shining reflection of His light, He will cleanses us from our transgressions.

Will you allow Jesus to light up your life? David, in Psalm 36:9 wrote this, “In your light we see light.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”
— Philippians 2:14-16 —

🔺 🔻 CHALLENGE 🔻 🔺

During the Christmas season we can see lights of every color adorning pine and evergreen trees. We see stars hanging with garland and bows announcing the Christmas holiday. I encourage you to take time to see the lights and to ponder the one true light. One can become easily distracted with all of fun, festive and sometime short tempered events caused during this season. Be intentional with you words and actions, be a beacon of light to others and show them the purest light of all, Jesus Christ.

Prayer ~

Dear Jesus, thank you for your guiding light in our lives. Please open our hearts so that we may see your light and to share it with all those around us. This is the season and celebration of your birth, help us to be ever so mindful to look up at you light and to follow where it leads, just as the wise men did centuries ago. Amen. 🌟💫⭐️✨

➡️➡️➡️FOR FURTHER STUDY

• John 1:4-9 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%201:4-9&version=NIV

• John 12:35-36 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2012:35-36&version=NIV

• 1 John 1:5-7 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20John%201:5-7&version=NIV

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent 2021 • Week One • Day Three

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
— Matthew 2:2 —

The wise men who followed the star in the East were the first non-Jews to search for and to worship Jesus. The wise men believed that the manner in which His birth was announced by the cosmos, meant that He must be royalty. Indeed, Jesus is the King of Kings. Jesus was at the very beginning of creation and came to rule what is rightfully His kingdom. Matthew dedicated almost entire chapter showing to the lineage of Jesus, including His birth.

Matthew 1:1-17 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%201:1-17&version=NIV

“Star Rising Over Bethlehem”
Sketch Credit: Me
December 9, 2016 at 1:34am

In the Gospel of Luke, perhaps one of the most beautiful and triumphant stories of Jesus, King of the Kings is when Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey and the crowd praising God and shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” ~Luke 19:38

Many did not understand that Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. Jesus did not act like the kings of the region, Jesus did not come to attack the current government or to over-take the government rule. Jesus entered this world a humble king, he loved the unloveable, cared for the forgotten, welcomed sinners and the outcasts. Jesus came to give love, offer a new way of life, to offer HOPE! Jesus will return someday to reclaim the kingdom He created and is rightfully His. In the book of Revelation, John writes this, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.“ ~Revelation 19:16

Jesus deserves all the honor and glory as our Lord and the King of Kings, not just on holidays but all year long. We will someday join in a chorus with all the angels and with all of creation singing praises to our King!

Who is the King of Glory?

👑 His name is Jesus! 👑

🔺🔻 CHALLENGE 🔻🔺

Being human we so often do not give praise where it’s due. Whenever I think about my own humanness, my sinful nature I think of characters from C.S.Lewis’ works “The Screwtape Letters” and “The Great Divorce.”

“Whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out…”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape LettersTags: human-nature, temptation

“You weren’t a decent man and you didn’t do your best. We none of us were and none of us did.”

C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

🔺🔻 Today, let’s look and think less of ourselves and fix our eyes on the King of Glory. Worship Him today with our words and our actions. 🔻🔺

Prayer ~

Heaven Father, King of Kings…please forgive me for the times when I am self-centered and I fail to recognize your kingship. You are my HOPE, without you I am nothing. Jesus, thank you for all of creation and for your sacrifice, defeating death at the cross so I can be made new in you. All praise and glory to you Lord Jesus. Amen.

➡️➡️➡️FOR FURTHER STUDY

• Zechariah 9:9 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Zechariah%209:9&version=NIV

• Matthew 2:2 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%202:2&version=NIV

• Luke 19:37-42,44 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%2019:37-42,44&version=NIV

• John 19:15-19 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2019:15-19&version=NIV

• 1 Timothy 1:17 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20Timothy%201:17&version=NIV

• 1 Timothy 6:16 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20Timothy%206:16&version=NIV

• Revelation 15:3 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Revelation%2015:3&version=NIV

• Revelation 19:16 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Revelation%2019:16&version=NIV

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent 2021 • Week One • Day Two

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Verse of the Day ~ John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” ~John 11:25

🔳🔲🔳🔲🔳🔲🔳🔲🔳

Wow! Hearing those words ignited a flame in my soul, I hope it did yours as well. The story of Lazarus is one that I have heard on several occasions and each one varied in the lessons learned. I love that about the stories in the Bible, the many life applications they can teach us. The story of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life after being dead and buried for four days is an incredible story of life, death and resurrection. Death is something we all must face at some point in our lives. The death of a friend, coworker, relative, parent, child or spouse to only name a few. Not only will we experience the death of others but the reality of our own impending death. As a believer in Jesus Christ, death is nothing to fear, it is the end of one journey, the earthly existence and the beginning of our life eternal, life everlasting.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” ~ C.S.Lewis

The greatest fear for many of us is death. Death brings to the surface a enormous amount of emotions that many of us just are not prepared to deal with. How does one rationally come to terms with the uncharted depths of death. Losing someone whether unexpectedly or an anticipated one, is never easy. Often those left behind are grief stricken; having many questions with few if any answers. In our verse for today, Jesus tells us; no in fact, He assures us that He is the RESURRECTION and the LIFE! Mary and Martha had suffered a great loss when their brother died from a severe illness. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had already been dead four days. Martha was upset, burdened with grief and said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21). In the following verse, Martha believed that Jesus could resurrect her brother, she is quoted saying, “God will give you whatever you ask.” (John 11:22).

Martha had properly acknowledged the relationship of Jesus, with His Father, but failed to understand that Jesus himself is the resurrection and the life. The intricacies of the relationship of God and of Jesus is perfectly transparent and beautifully expressed in one of my favorite passages John 1:1-4. The power of life and death are in Jesus.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”
— John 1:1-4

We DO NOT need to fear death, DEATH has been defeated by Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:54, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

Resurrection is both a present and a future event. The current reality is those who believe in Jesus will ultimately never die, never die a spiritual death. There will be temporary physical death, our bodies will die and wither but our soul, our spirit will continue on its journey until Jesus’ return and His resurrection of all believers. On that day we shall say, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:55

Indeed, friends there is HOPE, hope for today and for the future. Death is defeated in Jesus as He transitions us from temporal life to life eternal. We live the lives of the resurrected.

🔺🔻 CHALLENGE 🔻🔺

• What does it mean to live like the resurrected?

We are to live the life that Jesus would want us to live, as believers in Christ we have thrown aside the old and put on a new, a great Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Each day is a new opportunity to live for Jesus and share His message. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is out of reach, seize the day…today!

• What implications does this mindset have on our relationships, jobs, finances, service, evangelism and pastimes?

Life and how we pursue it, sets the stage for our mindset. “Walk, the walk and Talk, the talk.” A question we need to ask ourselves is, “Does my actions speak the same language I’m vocabulary is speaking?” Similar to, WWJD [What Would Jesus Do]. Our God is a God of HOPE, Grace, Peace and Forgiveness. We are imperfect beings, we have sinful inclinations AND we are children of God. Do not let FEAR keep you from running towards God for redemption and forgiveness. Pride and arrogance and FEAR tell us to run away and hide from God, Adam & Eve story ring any bells(?). Do not FEAR disciple either, God disciplines the ones He loves. Hebrews 12:5-6 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Hebrews%2012:5-6&version=NIV

🛑 🤔 Today, pick one of these areas and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to engage in it as one for whom life is eternal. ✅

Prayer ~

Jesus, Lord and Savior, thank you for another day to praise you for defeating death. We know you are the RESURRECTION and the LIFE. Continue to watch over your world and your people, as we look forward in HOPE for the day when there will be no more death, no more sorrow and no more grief. Guide us to live a life pleasing to you, help us to live out your resurrection. May we be a sweet incense of life to a dying world so they too may have life eternal with you. ~ Amen.

➡️➡️➡️ • FOR FURTHER STUDY

Psalm 139:13 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Psalm%20139:13&version=NIV

Luke 7:12-16 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%207:12-16&version=NIV

Luke 8:41-56 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%208:41-56&version=NIV

John 11:39-45 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2011:39-45&version=NIV

Acts 3:15 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Acts%203:15&version=NIV

Romans 8:18-25 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Romans%208:18-25&version=NIV

Ephesians 2:6 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Ephesians%202:6&version=NIV

Colossians 3:1 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Colossians%203:1&version=NIV

1 Thessalonians 4:13-16 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20Thessalonians%204:13-16&version=NIV

Revelation 1:18 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Revelation%201:18&version=NIV

🔶 Something Extra — C. S. Lewis 🔶

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent 2021 • Week One • Day One

Monday, November 29th, 2021

Verse of the Day ~ Matthew 1:21

The Biblical baby name Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua and its meaning is savior, or Jehovah is my salvation. *

Wow, this is an exciting and new fact I never knew about the name of Jesus. Digging deeper into the names of Jesus and Joshua I found more fascinating details of the well documented and known Joshua of the Old Testament; and Jesus is a beautiful tapestry flowing throughout the Bible, from prophecy to fulfillment of the Law in the New Testament.

The name Jesus was a very common Jewish boys name when Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. From the very beginning God took hold of something commonplace to show us that there was something infinitely more than the common.

Here’s a few references to Joshua, son of Nun, in Deuteronomy 32:44 (Joshua leading the people of Israel out of Egypt with Moses), Nehemiah 8:17 (the gathering of the Feast of Tabernacles that was last performed in the times of Joshua), Acts 7:45 (the tabernacle in the wilderness brought to the Gentiles by Joshua), Hebrews 4:8 (Joshua speaking of another day ahead for God’s people), and in the books of First and Second Chronicles and Ezra. In the Hebrew text, Joshua is named “Yeshua bin-Nun” (Neh. 8:17) and “Yehoshua.” (1 Chron. 7:27). *

Joshua was a great leader to the Israelites, charging them into many epics battles and led them to the promised land. Jesus came to save people from their sins, He saved through an epic battle he fought alone, making the way for His people to enter the Promised Land of God’s presence.

The Israelites of Jesus’ day were looking for a leader much like Joshua. They looked for someone to free them from the Roman reign of oppression, to remove the heavy yoke that afflicted pain upon them but physically and emotionally, not to mention spiritually. They wanted someone to lead them like their forefathers. Someone to rescue them and they did not see Jesus being that person.

God’s plans are always better than our own. His perspective is bigger and wider than even our imaginations. The Creator of the entire universe had more than an earthly plan for the dilemma of sin. His answer was that of cosmic proportions, to save all who believe in Him from the yoke and bondage of soul-deadening sin and welcome all, Jew and Gentile a like into the family of God.

🔺🔻Challenge 🔺🔻

As we enter this season of Advent, do you have any expectation for yourself, what about of Jesus? Is there a list, perhaps checking it twice? Are there requests you have made in prayer? This I know to be true, prayers are answered! We may not like or want the answer we get and we may not understand the answers we receive, please know that God’s perspective is that of an advantage it is always in our best interest. A challenge that we can all accept is to open ourselves to God’s saving touch, the presence of the Holy Spirit, asking God what He wants to do in our lives. Let us begin with open hearts filled with HOPE, knowing Jesus is the Savior!

Prayer ~

Lord, Jesus, thank you for coming into this world to save me, and not just me but for all people. Please forgive me of my selfishness and my arrogance, teach me your ways. Soften my calloused heart so I can love as you do. Fill my heart with your hope and transform me into your image. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.“ – Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV). Amen.

➡️➡️➡️ • FOR FURTHER STUDY

Psalm 139:1-24 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Psalm%20139:1-24&version=NIV

Isaiah 53:1-12 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Isaiah%2053:1-12&version=NIV

Matthew 21:11 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%2021:11&version=NIV

Luke 2:11 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%202:11&version=NIV

Romans 11:26 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Romans%2011:26&version=NIV

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

* Biblical reference for baby name Jesus:
The New Testament Strong’s Bible concordance G2424

* https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/yeshua-deliverer-savior.html?amp

https://www.christianity.com/jesus/is-jesus-god/names-of-jesus/jesus-an-ordinary-name.html

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Advent • The 1st Sunday • HOPE

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Photo Credit: Me
October 28th, 2018 at 8:21pm

Dearest friends and visitors —

Welcome to Advent 2021, I am excited to share Jesus with you this holiday season. I will be utilizing an advent devotional written by Asheritah Ciuciu. The book is called “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.” I am excited to read this book with you. The author has a website where you can access additional resources at:

Essential Meaning of HOPE:

• to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

• to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true

• to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment

• to expect with confidence

• desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment

• someone or something on which hopes are centered

🟢 ▫️ 🔴 ▫️🟢 ▫️ 🔴 ▫️🟢 ▫️ 🔴 ▫️ 🟢

I thought I would start out with the most obvious, the dictionary meaning of “hope.” When and where have you experienced hope in your life? I think we often learn about things like hope at an early age that can become more defined as we grow and learn. I can remember hoping for Santa to bring me a particular gift at Christmas and unwrapping it on Christmas morning. I now know it was not Santa but my parents, but “hope” was still real, it was just delivered differently than I knew at the time. I hoped for many things growing up and still do today. Hope is not passive for me, it’s alive and is even energy driven at times. As one definition puts it, “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.” Hope is not merely wishing, is it a desire and an expectation. The scriptures gives us hope, promises, prophecy and fulfillment. In a word, Jesus!

Sharing HOPE with you is my desire…

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the opportunity to participate in Advent this year. Please bless the person(s) reading this and I humbly ask for your Holy Spirit to calm our hearts and minds so we may be open to your words. In Jesus name. Amen.

Scripture verse: John 8:12

Why do we light a candle?

— This candle reminds us of the promise that a Messiah would come, bringing peace and love to the world.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
— Isaiah 9:2 — (NIV)

Discussion Questions

1. God planned Jesus’ arrival thousands of years before it happened. What does that tell us about God?

God can be tough to explain or describe, I like to say that God is outside of our understanding of space and time. We are linear in our thinking, everything must start and end. The concept of God always being and never starting has some of us scratching our heads…

2. How does Jesus’ light in our world give us hope?

Our hope is Jesus, he has provided the blueprints to life everlasting. He is our guide and our example. He is the great teacher, the obedient son, a loyal friend, trusted companion, great healer and the Savior of the World. Jesus works in and through us to shine His light is the darkest corners of the world, in our cities, in our neighborhoods, in our families and most importantly within ourselves. 🌟

3. In what ways can we allow Jesus’ light to shine through us?

This is a favorite question of mine! I strive to share Jesus with others, I used to think in order to do God’s work one must be educated properly, be someone of importance, a pillar of the community… Seriously, I was so wrong! First, it’s nothing we can do on our own, we must surrender to Jesus, then just let his light shine. It’s not the big grandiose gestures and the loud voices…NO, NO, NO, it is the small still voices, the smiles we share, the noticing of people , looking them in the eye, not looking past or through them, it is in these moments that we allow God’s light to shine the brightest. You just might be the one person who makes the difference in someone’s life simply by being kind.

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I could not decide which version of Silent Night to pick, so here’s two that touched my heart. I hope at least one of them is comforting to you.

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

http://unwrappingthenames.com

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

Advent 2021 • Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

Friday, November 26, 2021

Merriam-Webster Definition of Advent

NOUN
Ad·vent | \ ˈad-ˌvent , chiefly British -vənt \
Definition
1 : the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting.

I have always celebrated Christmas as both the birth of Jesus and the arriving of Santa. I was well into my adult years before I truly understood Advent and it’s benefits. I truly hope you will consider joining me on my exploration of the season this year. I typically choose a book or booklet to read in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. This year I have chosen a book by an unfamiliar author by the name of Asheritah Ciuciu. The title of her devotional caught my attention right off. “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.” I love learning new things about my Lord and Savior, and this book seemed perfect. I began attending church at a very young age and have countless memories of attending Sunday school long before I began elementary school. I was privileged to attend summer vacation Bible school, along with several of my cousins and local friends. Right after I began seventh grade I started attending a Christian school K-12 and after graduating from high school I chose to attend a Christian College. My journey has been more of a winding road instead of a more straightforward road; is that not true for most of us? No matter where life has taken me, I always return to my center, my foundation of faith. God is someone I guess I’ve always known who He was, the Creator of all things, the beginning and the end but mostly at this time of year, the baby Jesus laying in a manger is a beautiful and deeply rooted memory.

So, Why Celebrate Advent?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. I celebrate Advent for two reasons; first it’s about bringing the birth of Jesus into the here and now. Preparing a way for Jesus. Just as Mary and Joseph prepared themselves to be Jesus’ earthly parents. The second reason is to grow closer to God, to prepare my heart for that which I was created to do. The past year and a half has had defining consequences from the pandemic. We have had to face challenges and changes that many of us were not prepared for and did not want. Relationships have been tested, life expectations changed, and it’s not over yet. The one constant has been God, He has not changed and He has never left us alone. As I prepare for Advent I am going to be intentional with my time, actions and words. I am going to be more diligent and structured in my living. I am going to “Unwrap the Names of Jesus,” as I wrap myself in His Word. Join me starting Sunday, November 28th, 2021 for the First Sunday of Advent.

The lighting of the Advent candles starts on the first Sunday of Advent and with each new week another candle is lit. “*Advent means “coming” from the Latin word adventus, and remarks a season of expectantly preparing to celebrate the first coming of Jesus.*”. We are now keenly awaiting His second coming when He will establish His kingdom, as we now celebrate Jesus’ presence with us through the Holy Spirit.

Credit: https://www.goodreads.com/

Some Bible verses to ponder as you and I prepare for Advent.

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“Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.”
— 1 Peter 1:13 — (NRSVA)

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.”
— Galatians 4:4-5 — (NRSVA)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”
— John 1:1-4 — (NRSVA)

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
— Isaiah 9:6 — (NRSVA)

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

* Denotes quote from the Author page 10.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

🍁 Thursday, November 25th, 2021 🍂

Hello friends and family —-

Wishing you a happy and healthy day!

I prepared a few favorites yesterday so I could take leftovers today because I’m working. It definitely was not my momma’s cooking but I tried. Turkey slices with gravy, sweet potatoes and dressing. 🦃🍽🧡. I’m thankful I was able to enjoy my momma’s cooking for forty-seven years of my life, she’s in Heaven now.

I am thankful for so many things, I could never do justice in listing them, I thank God for all the blessings in my life. And, YOU, yes you reading this I am thankful for your presence in my life. I pray for you and ask God to continue to watch over you. 🍁🧡🍂

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.”
— Colossians 4:2 — (NRSVA)

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“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God.”
— 2 Corinthians 9:11 — (NRSVA)

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“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.”
— 1 Timothy 4:4-5 — (NRSVA)

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“Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord , for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.”
— Psalm 106:1 — (NRSVA)

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

http://www.biblegateway.com/