Tag Archive | Advent

Hold On

Advent is not just a time of waiting and remembering Jesus first coming at His birth, it’s also a time to turn our hearts toward anticipating His second coming. Today’s devotional, reposted from faithgateway.com, calls us to pause in the midst of our Christmas celebrations to remember whose birthday we’re celebrating, and also that He is coming again.

 

As Christmas Day approaches, you can feel the excitement building. The children are out of school, family begins to arrive, last-minute packages are wrapped. But what if, by declaration of Congress, Christmas Day were delayed? How long would the anticipation hold?

The disciples were certain Jesus would return shortly. Yet as the years passed, these faithful found it harder to hold on to that belief. James wrote to encourage them. He likened their wait for Jesus’ return to a read more

source: faithgateway.com

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What Are You Waiting For?

Alot of different people wait for alot of different things. The question for you today is what are you waiting for? Advent is a season that has come to be associated with Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ. But as Christ Followers isn’t there something more? Is Jesus’ first coming to earth all there is for us? Not by a long shot. Click on the arrow and listen to Sunday’s message about what we are all waiting for and how we can wait effectively for this events to end all events.

Click on the Publications page to read this week’s bulletin

Advent and Hope

Today’s devotional brings a glimmer of  hope to our dark, troubled world as we journey through Advent this year in the midst of the strife and chaos all around us.

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.'” Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NRSV)

Advent is about hope.

When Jeremiah heard these words from God, the yawning chasm of hopelessness was already opening up to swallow his world. Jeremiah was in chains, a political prisoner because King Zedekiah disapproved of Jeremiah’s message of God’s coming judgment. However, even while Jeremiah was imprisoned, the prophecy that had run him afoul of the king began to come true, as the armies of Babylon approached Jerusalem. By the time these words above came to Jeremiah (verses 1-13 tell us), the streets of the city were desolate, as many of the townspeople had already fled. The city itself was in ruins, as many of the houses had been pulled down in a desperate attempt to make defense-works against the imminent invasion. And Jeremiah knew that further waves of death and destruction were about to strike; he had already prophesied that the Babylonians would fill the city with the bodies of the dead.

And yet… in the midst of a world falling apart, God promised that someday–and the days are surely coming–everything would be made right. Justice and righteousness would be established in the land, and safety and peace would replace the horrors of violence and war.

And this is still the hope for which we wait. So many years after Jeremiah, in Advent in the Year of our Lord 2015, our world, too, shows many signs of falling apart. I write this devotion in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Bamako, while entire continue reading

 

(c) Andrew K. Lee    SFTS/GTU MA 2015; GTU Ph.D. Student    Used with permission    San Francisco Theological Seminary      

A Season of Waiting

candles 1There are many ways to wait. You can wait with annoyed impatience in a checkout line that’s moving about as fast as molasses in January when you’ve got places to go, people to see, and things to do. You can wait with fear and dread for an upcoming exam at school or a report from the doctors office. You can wait with bored indifference or maybe even resignation for your moment of fame in the dentists chair. Or you can wait with eager anticipation like a kid looking forward to presents on their birthday or the student counting down the days until graduation. But, as long as we live here on planet earth we will go through seasons of having to wait at one point or another.

As we enter the season of Advent today we find ourselves in a different, maybe unfamiliar kind of waiting. Many of us didn’t grow up observing the Advent season. Advent at best – if acknowledged at all- was probably just a precursor to Christmas; the appetizer before the main entree rather than an important season in its own right. Important because it creates a space to help us focus our  hearts and minds on the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of the crazy, commercialized, secular celebration that surrounds us. Not that there’s anything wrong with all the trappings of Christmas or the cherished traditions with which we mark the holiday, but there is much more to Christmas than the trees, lights, family dinners, and gift exchanges. It takes a wee bit of effort to create that mindful space for reflection and contemplation for ourselves within a society that pressures us to conform to the sometimes mindless/mind numbing, frantic activity that surround the holiday season, but it is so worth the effort.

So we invite you to slow down a bit this Advent season. Join us in taking time to think about what we’re celebrating and why. Let’s spend some time in thoughtful, purposeful waiting as we prepare to celebrate the Messiah’s birth. There are tons of ways to do this. A few intentional ways to help you accomplish this are: Advent Calendars that have scripture and/or devotionals, or devotional books geared specifically toward Advent themes, online Advent devotionals, Advent trees or wreaths, or other ideas to count down the days until Christmas. There are also some really cool, fun ideas out there that are geared for families with kids, but will work for just about anyone. Here are some links to help you get started on your Advent adventure.

http://www.loyolapress.com/advent-calendar-for-adults.htm

http://kidsstuffworld.com/2013/12/season-giving-31-days-spreading-joy/

http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/random-acts-christmas-kindness-printable-advent-calendar/

https://www.goshen.edu/devotions/

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/holidays/making-meaningful-christmas-memories/celebrate-advent

http://faithfulprovisions.com/20-ways-to-celebrate-advent-season/

 

There are so many resources available to help you out there for the taking – many more that we’ve listed here. The Lord bless you as you wait!

Names

Included in the Advent celebration in some churches are the O Antiphons which focus the worshipers attention on a different aspect or name of Jesus during the Advent season. The song “Come O Come Emmanuel” is a combination of 5 of the antiphons. But if one reads the Word through, one will find that Jesus has many names and attributes – more than can be listed. He is the I AM THAT I AM, and He is all that we need. In the bulletin this past Sunday one of the suggestions for observing Advent is to meditate on the names of God. Click on the link below for a list to get you started. You can add more names that you find in your study of the Word and through life experience as you come to know Him more and more throughout your life journey.

Names2

O Holy Night

Pastor Ruth brought an inspiring advent message based on the song “O Holy Night” this past Sunday morning. You can click on the arrow below to listen.

 

Sunday’s bulletin is also posted here.

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