An Advent Devotional
'But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."'
- Luke 2:10 (NIV) -
What is the Advent devotional?
The word advent actually comes from the Latin adventus, which simply means “arrival.” Advent is the coming, the arrival, of the presence of God Himself— God with us. For hundreds of years, followers of Jesus from a wide variety of church traditions around the world have set aside the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a meaningful season of celebration and anticipation. That’s what we’re up to here.
This Advent, we invite you to stay tuned in to the songs and stories of the season and allow them to nudge you toward festive celebration, family connections, and joy. Each daily reading is anchored by a line of an Advent hymn. You may wish to listen to or sing the hymn to prepare for your daily study. Let these songs guide you to an awareness of a God who wishes to draw you into a deeper connection with Himself. You are included in His story, so join in the beauty and wonder of the season. Let's take this one day at a time.
The purpose of the Advent devotional?
If the whole idea of celebrating Advent is new to you, you’re in good hands. This devotional is meant to protect yourself from the unintentional consequences of the modern pace of life. In his book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer defines daily worship practices as “a schedule and set of practices to order your life around the way of Jesus in community. They are a way to keep from getting sucked into the hurry, busyness, noise, and distraction of regular life. A way to slow down. A way to live into what really matters... key relationships with family and community... a healthy soul. You know, the good stuff.”
Our prayer is that through our weekly gatherings (Sundays), your small group, and this advent devotional, we will see and know Jesus more this Advent season than we ever have before.
How to get the most out of the Advent devotional?
Create a scheduled and intentional time for 10-15 minutes of reading this devotional. Screens and alerts off. Take a moment to:
Quiet your thoughts
SCHEDULE YOUR READING
Set aside a time and place to read this devotional and to meditate on the corresponding scriptures. Create a distraction-free environment.
PRAY BEFORE YOU READ
Ask God to reveal His truths as you read. Pray for consistency and clarity.
READ WITH A FRIEND
Read with someone that will hold you accountable for your daily reading.
Proverbs 27:17 says. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
SHARE WHAT YOU ARE LEARNING
Don’t just read it. Share how God’s word is speaking to you.
“When we learn to read the story of Jesus and see it as the story of the love of God, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves--that insight produces, again and again, a sense of astonished gratitude which is very near the heart of authentic Christian experience.”
- NT Wright
The work of advent is to believe that God loves the world enough to rescue it from oppression, evil, violence, and death. Many of us have been taught this in concept, and then heard Bible stories used to reinforce that the way God works is always – if there is enough faith or will – dramatic and immediate. We are taught to have faith and wait. But if you really have enough faith, we are told that you will see God move. This, while not ill intentioned, has convinced many of us that the everyday things of our lives are not spiritual enough to count as God “moving”. We may begin to believe that God is not with or for us in the less extraordinary moments of life. This idea has convinced us that our prayers are not spiritual or fervent enough, and that our spiritual activity isn’t up to par. It has told us that we are not enough because if we were, God would come. The “God-with-us” narrative of advent turns this on its head. The coming of Jesus is much more about a movement than a single spectacular moment. It is about everyday things converging with the divine to make it all sacred and holy. This is a way that God loves us. Allowing ourselves to be immersed in a story where God is making everything, every moment, every bit of growth and change, sacred.
- What are the sacred moments that you may have missed in your life today or this week?
- What do you think God may have been showing or reminding you of in that moment?
- Who inspires you to “see God in the little moments” by being more attentive to God’s daily interaction with them? What can you learn from them?
Heavenly Father, we are asking for grace and patience to see your love in the little moments of our lives. It’s easy to rush from one moment to the next and it’s even easier to assume that you are only present in the biggest moments of our lives, but we know that’s not true. This Christmas, teach us more of your love so that we may love us more like Jesus loves us. Amen.