Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘advent’

I was recalling the other day the absolute joy it was when our three were still little, and they had an advent calendar to help count down the days until Christmas. They lived for that countdown.

We all have countdowns that we live for … graduations, weddings, pay day, Fridays, snow days (well, I do), Birthdays. These countdowns help to develop and grow anticipation for a desired event.

Anticipation is what God’s promise of a Saviour was to the Jews, and is to many believers around the world. The Jews were the anticipators of Jesus’ first coming, and we all share in the anticipation of his second.

Advent, is the season of anticipation.

“Be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” He spent his days in the Temple teaching, but his nights out on the mountain called Olives. All the people were up at the crack of dawn to come to the Temple and listen to him.” (Luke 21:34-38)

May our anticipation have us “up at the crack of dawn to come … and listen to him.”

Give us ears to hear, O God, 
and eyes to watch, 
that we may know your presence in our midst 
during this holy season of joy 
as we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Do-Not-Be-Afraid-1024x399

As Saturday fell, and Sunday rose, so did the first Sunday of Advent … the Sunday of Hope.

It is interesting that the Christmas story, though one of hope, has fear woven through the human experience of heaven’s story.

The angels who came down and spoke to Mary, Zachariah, Joseph and the shepherds in the watching their flocks were aware that their presence, and the message that they were delivering, would cause fear in the hearts of the recipients:

To Zechariah:
“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah!” Luke 1:13

To Mary:
“Mary don’t be afraid …” Luke 1:30

To Joseph:
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid … “ Matthew 1:20

To the shepherds:
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.”” Luke 2:10

It is said that in the Old and New Testaments there are as many exhortations to

DO NOT FEAR

as there are days in a calendar year.

Fear is a reality in our lives … we know it, God knows it.

The Bible doe not exhort, (“communicate emphatically, urging one to do something” Google search) us to not fear, because it is the exception, but because it is the norm.

God, in his wisdom and understanding, knows that we will be anxious, that we will fear in our lives. He knows that we struggle to trust our futures into his hands. He knows us so well!

The message of the Christmas story is not:

fear not, for everything is about to get easier

The Christmas message is:

life is fearful, but you don’t have to walk it alone, for God is with you always.

 

Read Full Post »

 

Jesus on the cross

near the end of life.

water is offered

it would only satisfy temporarily.

vinegar was given

a sour taste in his mouth,

increasing his suffering in his last hours.

the sour effects of some gifts,

even if given with a good pure heart,

sour is sour.

at his birth the gifts were gold, frankinsence and myrrh.

those gifts, although not “baby safe”,

gave and enhanced his real life.

the gifts of the Maggi

given by strangers,

yet these wise men understood what was needed for life.

 

gold, frankincense and myrrh they were expensive, valuable, extravagant

but, the givers knew they would give life.

Gold, because of it’s value, could be sold.

Frankincense and Myrrh

astringents, and more,

would be used each day, to improve life.

do we give gifts that are life-giving?

or ones that leave a sour taste in our mouths?

As we continue to walk through this advent season,

may we, in anticipation of the greatest gift of love,

consider giving gifts that are life-giving.

not sour, but ever lastly sweet.

 

Read Full Post »

In the Waiting

I am not a good waiter,

and by waiter, I mean someone who (has to) wait.

I think that many people are not good waiters. I especially think that today, Black Friday.

Black Friday, the day that follows American Thanksgiving, is a day of reckless shopping, spending and individualism. It is the human behavioral evidence that we do not see benefit from waiting. Ironically, Black Friday falls just two days before the next holy season, on the church calendar, that of Advent.

Advent means coming, and when something is coming, someone is waiting.

Advent is about remembering the waiting for the arrival of the Messiah (as a babe) and the waiting we do now for his second arrival. He is coming again and that coming is Advent.

To know someone or something is coming is a far more exciting waiting than any other. For in this waiting is the promise that our waiting is not in vain. What we must always remember is that there is purpose, there is the attainment of skills and strength, and humility that will make us ready for the day that the promise is fulfilled.

As we walk through this Advent season, let’s try to prepare for the promise of Christ, just as we do in the gifts and food and parties of the other side of this holiday.

When we are in the waiting, ask the question,

What will you teach me through this, God?

The Bible is full of waiting for something to come. It is also full of promises that the waiting would not be in vain.

IMG_1602.JPG

Read Full Post »

images-8

Back on the first Sunday of December (the first Advent Sunday) I posted a guest post called Do You Hear What I Hear?

For me it was the message that God seemed to be continually whispering to me, as the Christmas season was approaching, as the chaos of the festivities kept getting louder and louder, as the focus I so desired kept getting drowned out. It was the message to “listen for the still small voice.”

Really the still small voice is barely more than a breath …

It is the breath of Genesis 2:7, “and the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

It is the breath of Ezekiel 37:6, I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

It is the breath of John 20:21-22 , “again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

And,

in the still of the night,

in a simple place for animals,

not an earthquake,

not a rushing wind

… not even a fire,

but through the still small voice of a baby

taking His first breath

still,

an act of God.

Read Full Post »

I have to say I love a good conspiracy theory! I truly believe it shows great creativity of mind to think that the way things are may not be how they could be.

There are many conspiracy theories, but my favorite is probably that JFK, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis are all together, alive, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Maybe Princess Diana is there too!

A conspiracy does not have to be about famous people, or about deaths (or, presumed deaths). A conspiracy is simply a plan to do something out of the norm, strange, unique. For instance, our kids are constantly conspiring to get their dad to say yes to a cat (I, of course, would NEVER be in on that sort of conspiracy 😉 ).

There is a conspiracy that comes up each year about this time. It is a conspiracy to do something different, very different!

Just two short months from now is Christmas Eve, and you don’t have to celebrate it to know that it exists. From now on, every time you go to the mall, the grocery store, listen to the news, or open a newspaper Christmas will be the topic of the day. The only thing is it is not the Christ Mass (communion to celebrate the birth of Christ) that the day (or season) was originally about.

Christmas, as society celebrates it, has little to do with the babe born to the virgin girl, as sacrificial offering for the redemption of our sins. It has more to do with buying, busyness, baking and booze (I love alliteration). This is so far from the celebration mass for the babe in a manger! This is so far from anything that God himself would want for His children.

Advent is the season of anticipation, the season of waiting and preparing for the Messiah. It is a season which culminates in worship.

The following video is one I seek to watch, and inspire myself each Christmas season (for the past five or six). I encourage you, and me, to do Christmas differently … for the sake of ourselves, our families and others (who are so much more needy) around the world.

The Advent Conspiracy works with two organizations:

International Justice Mission in its efforts to bring rescue to victims of slavery (including sexual exploitation), prosecute the perpetrators (under the laws of that local country) and to change the justice system worldwide to protect individuals.

Living Water International seeks to get clean water to some of the 884 million people worldwide who do not have safe drinking water. This absence of clean, safe water means disease and death for so many. Something we take for granted, is so easily available to us, is gold to much of the world.

Consumerism does not equal:
Happiness
Memories
Meaning

Read Full Post »

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Fisher of Men

And he saith vnto them, Follow mee: and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19 (1611 KJV)

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Frijdom

encouraging space to think deeply

His Wings Shadow

Trust ~ Delight ~ Commit ~ Rest

Perfect Chaos

God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic World

Life- All over the map

A family journey through childhood cancer and around the world

A L!fe Lived

seeking the full life that only Jesus offers

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

The Mustard Seed Kingdom

A Blog of the Evangelical Anabaptist Partners

Brittany Wheaton

reflections on living intentionality and soulfully in the midst of the grind

The Wild Heart of Life

"He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life." ...James Joyce