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Celebrate Advent!

Advent means ‘the coming.’ We observe advent to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. In some churches around the world advent takes an eminent position in the celebration of Christmas. People use the period to reflect on their faith and to prepare their hearts, symbolically, for the coming of Jesus. Though we know that Jesus has come, and that He will come again, advent is a special time to practice anticipation. For centuries the Israelites had known that a ‘redeemer’ would come. The prophet Baalam had prophesied, many years before, that “a Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel…” (Numbers 24:17). Most devout Jews knew that prophecy and others that tell of the coming of their Messiah. Some were expectantly awaiting this new king who would lift them out of the oppression they had faced for so long. However, when He did come, many of them missed it. In a bit of an ironical twist,  when Kings from the East arrived at Herod’s palace claiming  they had seen “His star” Jewish scribes who Herod consulted, confirmed the exact details of His proposed birth place. They told the king that Micah had prophesied the king would be born in Bethlehem. The wise men left the palace of Herod in search of the king, but there is no indication that the Jews who were – supposedly waiting – ever did. His coming was revealed to humble shepherds and to kings from the East. Maybe these people were really waiting. Sunday December 2nd is the first Sunday of Advent. We want to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. Christmas is a holy and sacred time, an aspect that gets lost in the holiday hustle. While we do not want to take away the joy and the traditions that make Christmas special, we want to truly remember what it is all about. As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, we look forward in faith to His second coming. Every day until Christmas there will be a new advent posting with scripture verses, reflective thoughts, and things you can do with your family. So log in every day as we anticipate Jesus.

“Be Still and know that I am God!”

Advent Posting – December 1st

READING: Psalm 46:10-11

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Christmas is a noisy time! Much of it is good – the carols, the music, the voices of family and friends – but some, not so good – the merchants clamoring for your attention, the hustle and bustle of the streets, the sound of wailing over the many tragedies that hit around the holiday times. An election is coming up and the message of the politicians confuses us. We hear the noise and coping becomes difficult. In times like these you need to be still and know that God is in control or let go and give Him control. Let Him have control of your holiday activities this year.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to lose sight of what really matters. Christmas is a time for family and friends; it is a time for sharing and caring. Stop for a moment, and purpose in your heart that  Christmas this year will be more meaningful to you and your family, than it has ever been.

“Be still and know that I am God…” When the Psalmist wrote these words (Psalm 46:10), it was in the context of calamity. He begins by reminding us: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” I think of the people in France and Mali, the refugees from Syria and places that have suffered natural disasters recently…Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swellingthere is a river…” (46:1- 4)There is a place of peace in the midst of all the terrible things that happen around us.

I admit the stress of Christmas can never be compared to what the Psalmist is describing here, but the same God who says “be still and know that I am God,” in the midst of such calamities is the same God who promises to be with you in every situation.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Teach me, O Lord, the value of stillness; to stop the feverish activity and acknowledge that You are in control. As the holiday rush begins in earnest on this day, may I learn that the real reason for the season is the birth of your Son and my savior. Amen

Things To Do:

  1. Begin the day with a period of quietness. Before you rush off to work or whatever you have to do today, spend two minutes in silent acknowledgement of God’s graciousness. Commit your day to Him.
  2. Get together with your family this evening, and remind them what Christmas is all about.
  3. Read Psalm 46

Think about someone less fortunate that you, whom you can bless this Christmas.