Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

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Encountering Joy On Our Journey of Advent (3rd Week of Advent)

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The third week of Advent, we remember how the angels brought the shepherds good news of great joy! Read More

Encountering Joy

The third week of Advent, we remember how the angels brought the shepherds good news of great joy!

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Prayer for the Week December 8 – The Gift of Yes

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“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”  Luke 1:28

the gift of yes

It is just mind-blowing.  An angel appears with an incredible and completely unbelievable message.  He calls her highly favored.  As a young women from a poor community struggling under the Roman rule, she may not have felt highly favored.  But things became even more extraordinary when the angel said  she would bear a son.  She was a virgin.  But, the angel said not to fear.  The Holy Spirit would come upon her and conceive in her!  And the sign that all these fantastic things are true: her cousin–an old women–was with child!

And then the angel summed up perfect theology for that moment and all of history:

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And here’s what has been continually sending me into states of awe this Advent season: Mary said yes.

Yes.

“Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”  Luke 1:38

She could have said no.  But she said yes.  Yes to a crazy plan of being pregnant by God Himself!  Yes to being ostracized by her community and family.  Yes to perhaps losing her husband and any chance at another.  Yes to raising the Son of God!  That’s a whole lot to say yes to!

I have trouble saying yes to being slightly inconvenienced by giving my time to those (I somewhat self-righteously deem) who are unworthy.  I have trouble saying yes to getting up a little earlier to pray.  Or to dropping everything to entertain an angel.  Oh, I am the queen at giving the Lord excuses.  But, Mary…..

She said YES.

She said yes to everything the Lord asked.  Is it any wonder that Jesus, when grown, said Yes to her when she asked Him to do something about the lack of wine at a wedding.  Jesus said it wasn’t yet His time.  It seems like He didn’t quite want to perform that particular miracle that day.  But, how, looking at Mary–who had said Yes to everything–could He say no to this request?

You see, saying Yes, is the key to everything.  We are so good at saying no.  Because we are afraid or hurt or unsure or lacking in faith.  But the YES is the key to everything.  YES is the key to all things being possible with God.

Oh, this coming year may have its share of challenges.  Fiscal cliffs and civil rights violations.  Family drama and personal struggles.  God challenging you up and onward and your flesh tugging you to the same ol’.  This year may hold unbelievable abundance.  And at the same time (because the two can co-exist) it may hold bone-rocking tragedy.  And yet…..

WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

So, let’s say YES!  Let’s not be held back by fear or doubt or unbelief or our pasts.  Let’s not be held captive to the culture or others’ expectations.  Let’s say yes–to love and adventure and peace and rest and believing that the impossible is just the possible in disguise–waiting for a yes to unwrap it.

 Lord, behold your servant.  Let it be to me, according to Your word.  Amen.

the gift of yes

“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”  Luke 1:28 It is just mind-blowing.  An angel appears with an incredible and completely unbelievable message.  He calls her highly favored.  As a young women from a poor community struggling under the Roman rule, she may not have felt highly favored.  But things became even more extraordinary […]

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Encountering Love On Your Advent Journey (Week 2 of Advent)

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“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2

 

“…and Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David. To be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.” Luke 2:4-5

LoveAdvent

Micah had prophesied this 700 years before the birth of Christ and yet it is so specific, calling out the name of the very town in which the baby would be born!  The magi even used this scripture when asking Herod about the baby.  You see, God’s plans were very specific.  He was bringing light into the world with the birth of a baby in a humble manger.

To me this means God has a plan for the little details.  He doesn’t forget the most humble of circumstances and is alive in them.  As we light the candle each evening this week shouldn’t we ask for the grace to see the little details, too?  We get so caught up in wanting to do big things!  We want to leave our mark on the world and succeed and leave that legacy.  What if that legacy is simply a thousand tiny things done with the greatest of love?  Blessed Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Ask to see the small acts that can be accomplished through eyes-wide-open and hearts full of light.  Hands that can be used for helping instead of hurting.  Ways to bring the light with you wherever you go.  People are hurting and are in need and somehow, especially at this time of year, there is a special grace to help in small ways, small acts of kindness that mean the world to the hurting ones.

What can you do? Start a list with your family of ways–new and old, small and great–that you can journey with love this Advent season.  And then start doing one and then two and then more.  And see how the light begins to shine your own heart.

Great love this Advent

BE IN LOVE.  SHARE GOD’S LOVE. BE HIS HANDS.

LoveAdvent

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2   “…and Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the […]

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Prayer for Week of December 12–Leave The Light On

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Advent Week 1 - Hope

When I know my husband is coming home late from work, I turn on the porch light for him and keep his dinner warm in the oven.  It’s a little thing.  It just says “I’ve been expecting you and anticipating your arrival.”

There’s motel chain that has made this concept their slogan. Remember it?  “I’m Tom Bodett from Motel 6. And we’ll leave the light on for ya.” (I know you just read that in his voice.) Read More

Advent Week 1 - Hope

When I know my husband is coming home late from work, I turn on the porch light for him and keep his dinner warm in the oven.  It’s a little thing.  It just says “I’ve been expecting you and anticipating your arrival.” There’s motel chain that has made this concept their slogan. Remember it?  “I’m […]

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The Journey of Advent Begins

Prayer Closet 2 Comments

Do you celebrate Advent with your church or your family?  Such a lovely time of year this season where we allow ourselves to yearn and search for our God who will come to us.  During Advent we intentionally remember how Christ came and we prepare our hearts to welcome Him anew.  It is a time of glorious anticipation of the coming of our King.

Advent Week 1 - Hope

One way we observe Advent is with an Advent wreath.  Every night we light the Advent candles.  The first week, just one.  And each Sunday adding another, until all are lit and shining brightly, reminding us of God’s love for us and the One who is the Light of the World. 

Four Sundays before Christmas we begin by lighting the Prophecy Candle.  This is the Week of Hope.  As the Word says, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)  This is a week to begin to wait with expectancy.  To fix our hopes on Jesus.  We read the prophecies in the Scripture about Christ and His coming, allowing our hearts to hope to see Him.

Imagine being a young Hebrew girl. Imagine hearing all your life the many prophecies of the Messiah. The great mystery surrounding these passages were never explained to your satisfaction. What did they really, really mean? Who knew?! When would they be fulfilled?! How would they be fulfilled?!

Passages such as Isaiah 61:1-2 brought such a thrill of hope to your heart! “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.”

We need this One! When, oh, when would such a One come?! Your grandfather looks for Him with dimmed eyes. Your father waits for Him at the synagogue every week. You think, “Will I be able to see prophecy fulfilled or will I, too, be an old lady still looking for that hope?! Will it be fulfilled in my time?”

And imagine if you were chosen to help fulfill that prophecy?

This year, Kristina found another type of Advent wreath from joywares.com. A beautiful cradle to cross wreath. Each night of the Advent season we light a candle and we remember Mary’s journey of carrying the boy child. As the 24th of December arrives we celebrate His birth.

I can only imagine how surreal it must have been for Mary! Many have written much more profound things about her life and speculated more poetically than I ever could. The mystery around it must have felt “other-worldly” for Mary! To have so many blessed prophecies fulfilled through your own obedience! What must that have been like? To have the destiny of the world rest on your obedience to ancient Scriptures? I can’t imagine that feeling!

Then again…..

On second thought…..

Perhaps that’s not so different from all of us! In a sense, the destiny of the world may hinge on our obedience to the Great Commission. I am, after all, God’s plan for the lost. He doesn’t have an alternate plan other than us! The world is supposed to hear, see, and experience His message through us, living out His Word! Weighty? YES! But, what a privilege! Mary was chosen to bring the Message into the world and I have been chosen to carry this message throughout the world!

All the many Scriptures about Jesus were fulfilled! Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

What about those verses about us? “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The Scriptures that are up to us, remain to be fulfilled. May they be fulfilled in our time!

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2 

Advent Week 1 - Hope

Do you celebrate Advent with your church or your family?  Such a lovely time of year this season where we allow ourselves to yearn and search for our God who will come to us.  During Advent we intentionally remember how Christ came and we prepare our hearts to welcome Him anew.  It is a time […]

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The Fourth Week of Advent: Peace

Prayer Closet 2 Comments

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.  (Mathew 1:18-25)

This is the story of Peace breaking into chaos, of man’s plan gone array, and God showing He is in control. Read More

Nativity Story

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when […]

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Third Week of Advent: JOY!

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The third week of Advent, we remember how the angels brought the shepherds good news of great joy!

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Third Week of Advent

The third week of Advent, we remember how the angels brought the shepherds good news of great joy!

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Priceless Family Time, Cheap! HOLIDAY EDITION!

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Let’s face it, this time of year can stretch budgets awfully thin, even when you’re budget savvy.  There are simply more guests, more parties, and more temptations!

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Family Holiday Fun!

Let’s face it, this time of year can stretch budgets awfully thin, even when you’re budget savvy.  There are simply more guests, more parties, and more temptations!

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Second Week of Advent: Love

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In this second week of Advent our focus is love and we light the Bethlehem Candle.

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heilige-nacht

In this second week of Advent our focus is love and we light the Bethlehem Candle.

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December Goals

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December Goals

It’s that most wonderful time of the year.  Parties for hosting; marshmallows for toasting; and all that.  You know.  In a time of year when our focus should all the more be on joy and family and heavenly things, pondering the great mysteries and treasuring up things in our hearts, we are often distracted and harried and hurried.  So, this month our goals are less about outward preparedness and more about inward preparedness.  Meaning, preparing our hearts for His coming. Read More

December Goals

It’s that most wonderful time of the year.  Parties for hosting; marshmallows for toasting; and all that.  You know.  In a time of year when our focus should all the more be on joy and family and heavenly things, pondering the great mysteries and treasuring up things in our hearts, we are often distracted and […]