Download 2007 Advent Devotionals Today
November 5, 2007
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Below, please preview the advent devotional for this week, plus the remaining devotionals for Advent and Christmas.
The Presence of Christ
December 16, 2007
A gentle breeze, a gentle moment, perhaps a gentle rain or snow can capture our attention and cause us to pause in the routine of our day. These moments of "pause" can bring a smile, a deep breath, a renewed joy, or a sense of anticipation.
As I was reading Philippians 4:4-7, I was struck by verse 5, "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." I grappled with the idea that the Christmas season with all of the preparations could be described as gentle. I pictured the chaos of getting children ready to play their roles in the Christmas programs. I pictured the local shopping mall and the hectic traffic. I pictured the overbooked calendar and wondered if "gentleness would be evident to all." I wondered if we would find ourselves remembering, "The Lord is near." Or might all of the activity deprive us of such a gentle presence?
Matthew 11:29 refers to Jesus as gentle and humble in heart. The invitation of the previous verse, Matthew 11:28, is to come to Jesus and rest. If we hope to put on the gentleness of Christ, we must accept his offer to come to him and rest. It is through rest that our gentleness and joy can be renewed. It is through rest that we can:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your
gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious
about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer of Promise: Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20, Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 3:7-18
Christ is Our Compass
December 23, 2007
Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. O Lord God Almighty, how long will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people? You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful. You have made us a source of contention to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us. Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:1-7
One of many aspects in the Christian journey is being in a process of almost constant transition. We do not need to move from one place and try to settle in another to realize it; the whole of human life is passage from one stage to another. We go through childhood, adolescence, adult years, aging; we work on our education, try to make a living, build friendships and family; we have our ups and downs, hopes and anxieties. Even when we wish to slow down and, so to speak, "smell the roses," life moves on and we find out that roses too have thorns. We search for rest and instead we find ourselves getting even busier. We are passengers of time that never stops.
As Christians, in any transition we experience, we eventually realize its spiritual significance. These transitions remind us, for one thing, not to get too comfortable here and help us to keep focused on our eternal destination, on something that is imperishable, stable, and everlasting. In a time of challenge, we more acutely become aware of our need of divine support and restoration. The experience of God's presence gives us a sense of stability.
The shining face of God is like stars on the night sky. Regardless of where we are, in Russia or the US, the same stars shine above us. Regardless what stage of life we are going through, the same God watches over us. And as we approach the commemoration of Christ's coming to our world, let Bethlehem's star that announced his birth be our compass in the sky that helps us navigate through our lives.
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, let the star of your Son and our Lord and Savior guide us through all transitions of our lives. Let this manifestation of your never ending love towards us, that we commemorate during this Advent season, be the source of our restoration and spiritual nourishment. Let your face shine upon us and the delight we find in your salvation accompany us in our earthly pilgrimage. Amen.
Readings: Micah 5:2-5a, Psalm 80:1-7, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-45
The Christ of Salvation
December 25, 2007
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14
The book of Titus tells us, "For the grace of God appeared to all, bringing salvation..." This Christmas day is a day of singing (Ps. 96), a day of rejoicing for the "child" born in our midst (Isa. 9). The heavenly choir praised God before the shepherds (Luke 2), following the announcement of the angel. It was a one-time event that changed the world.
Now Christmas comes on a regular basis. Every year it arrives, and we are inundated with advertisements, television specials, and special events at church for three months (or what seems like three months). Our reaction is like a fire under a wet blanket. We try hard to make it meaningful, but this quest gets more difficult every year. Perhaps we should look at how the shepherds reacted as a reminder.
The shepherds, these humble men of the fields, known for caring for domestic livestock, sheep, said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." How simple and yet profound - go and see!
On this Christmas day, 2007, take some time to turn aside and "see." Ponder the implications of this humble birth. Reflect on God taking human form to provide salvation for each of us. Look into the eyes of a newborn baby and think about the new life that peered out at Joseph and Mary. Imagination is a wonderful gift from God for enriching our worship experience at Christmas. Turn off the television, set aside the toys, really see the Christ who came to provide grace and salvation.
Have a blessed Christmas!
Prayer: Gracious God who sent your messengers to proclaim your son's coming, grant us a special day of "seeing" your son. We pray in his name, Amen.
Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14