Happy December 1st, 2019! Today is the beginning of Advent and I hope you will join me as I journey through the scriptures and remember the birth of Jesus! I will be using a pamphlet published by Abington Press and written by Teer Hardy. The use of the pamphlet will be a guide as I do not have permission to copy or reproduce it’s material. Here’s a copy of the cover and they are available through amazon.com; christianbook.com and barnesandnoble.com. If you would like a copy please let me know and I will certainly try to get you a copy.
Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 2019. By Teer Hardy
First Sunday of Advent ~ December 1, 2019
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” ~Deuteronomy 6:4-5
The Advent season focuses on hope, peace, joy and love. Each week churches light specifics candles celebrating each word. The first is HOPE, the second is PEACE, the third is JOY and the forth is LOVE. Advent is described as a time or season of preparation and anticipation. Do you have any specific things you are prayerfully considering during this Advent season(?). I am seeking to reconnect with all four but most especially “PEACE.” Peace can come in many forms and I hope it comes with a broad brush stroke across many troubling things. I seek to be more accepting of others and to radically love others. Radical love is to meet people where they are, not where my expectations think they should be. I want to see radical inclusion for those on the fringe of society. I would like to help to eradicate hatred, promote peace through kindness and mutual trust and respect. I would like to see neighbors being neighborly with one another. I would like to see kids have the opportunities to be kids. See the extinction of greed and dominance.
So, it’s December 1st…are you still in the Christmas mood, (?) with the way things are marketed these days, Christmas has literally been on display since Halloween in most brick and mortar stores. It’s all about the hustle & bustle of buying this and that, making a list, checking the list, planning parties, attending parties, wrapping gift, receiving gifts, eating and cooking its mind boggling! Advent is the opposite of this, it’s personal and it’s contemplation. I shared this in a previous post of mine, what Advent is to me…When you think of Advent what kind of things come to mind? It is defined as a waiting period, in anticipation of the Christ child’s birth. As Christians, we celebrate this season every year, what is it that makes it so special and unique each year? The story doesn’t change, we have Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem each year, the inn is always full and they must seek shelter in a dark and damp stable…what then is there to be waiting in anticipation for… I cannot provide your answer but I can share mine. For me the beauty of the story is it is the same, it is me that is different each year. I’m thankful for the gift of salvation that came in the form of a baby, innocent and pure. I’m thankful for the grace that is extended to me and for the forgiveness of my sins. None of these things would be possible if that baby is never born. I love the firm foundation that the manger serves in my life. Every year it is new to me, no matter where my life has taken me over the past year, I have renewed hope through the birth of Jesus. Advent is reconnecting with the baby in the manger, a time of prayer, repentance and renewing of my faith. Stripping away all the cumbersome and pointless acts I’ve have placed upon myself that has separated me from Jesus…guilt, greed, punishment, neglect, fear, sin, competition, pride, pressure, things and many others can keep me from the love of Jesus. He’s there waiting for me, He’s never left me alone, even when I try to chase Him away, His love remains. I know I am loved, I just let the world cloud my judgement from time to time.
During this time of Advent, we will experience things as well as people competing for our attention and perhaps our resources. Stand firm in the faith and the promises of Jesus. Remember that there is one God, that the Lord our God came into the world as a child and that the hope, joy, love and peace God accompanied that Child.
Prayer: O God, you alone are God. During this season of anticipation, we look to the empty manger and wait. Remind us, by the power of your Spirit, that during this season of Advent, while others are competing for our attention, you alone reign over the Earth and we await Emmanuel with hope, joy, love, and peace. ~Amen.