Category Archives: Advent Devotional

Worth the Wait

Advent-WreathWednesday First Week of Advent

 

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40: 28-31

God seems to bless those who wait. Waiting is a timeless discipline with eternal rewards. The scripture has many stories of those who waited and learned.

Noah waited for years as he built a boat on dry land and learned the lesson of deliverance. Jonah waited three days in the belly of the fish and learned the lesson of obedience. The prophets waited for centuries to see the Messiah and learned the lesson of faith. Joseph waited in prison and learned the lesson of forgiveness. Zacharias waited to speak and learned the lesson of humility. Anna and Simeon waited a lifetime to see the Savior and learned the lesson of perseverance.

Waiting during the season of Advent can serve as a discipline to teach us many spiritual truths. While waiting we can develop patience and true obedience. We can glimpse the hugeness of God’s love and grace and learn to recognize holiness when we encounter it. Waiting nurtures our compassion and opens our eyes to see others in need. It opens our hearts to service and fosters a freedom to give and encourage others. As we pause and wait for God, we have time to assess our priorities, discover happiness where we are and develop an appreciation for what we have.

Advent is a time to deal with our fears, our anger, our disappointments, and learn to both give and receive forgiveness. It is a time to internalize the cleansing joy of repentance and to know the peace of taking last place. While we wait, we can use the unknown time to realize that living with mystery builds faith, and suffering and sacrifice reveal God to us. While waiting we acquire a dependence on God, we gain hope, and we become sure that while we wait we are never alone.

During Advent, the Church waits to celebrate the first Advent of God into the world and waits for completeness and perfection at the Second Advent. In the waiting, we find our peace.

Reflection – What have you learned from God during those waiting times of your life?
Monica Boudreaux

Worth-the-Wait


Prayer

Lord, teach me the value and virtue of waiting in this impatient world. The prophets of old knew that the things that they proclaimed were not yet evident. As  we proclaim your coming may with do it with confidence and determination. 

Amen

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

Thanking God for Jesus

Tuesday, first week of Advent

OPENING PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you show us the loving face. Help us to love you in return.

SCRIPTURE

At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’

Luke 10:21,23-24

THINK ABOUT IT….

How wonderful it must have been to hear Jesus speak those words! God has revealed something special to them, not because they were great students are especially smart, but because God wanted them to know who Jesus was.

God still wants us to know who Jesus is. That’s why we have the Bible. That’s why we have the church. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we know that Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth and it’s not because we figured out something or because we have use our brain power instead, it’s because the father wants us to know who Jesus is so that we can be saved from sin and death.

CLOSING PRAYER

Father, we thank you for showing us your son. May we come to see him in his kingdom.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

Choosing the Path of Light

Advent-Wreath_thumb.gifMonday First Week of Advent

OPENING PRAYER

Lord Jesus, may your Justice be revealed to all nations of the world.

SCRIPTURE

He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord!

Isaiah 2:4-5

 THINK ABOUT IT…

Decorations hung on houses and storefronts remind us that Christmas is coming. The Season’s echo through the malls and offices. Would have to close our eyes and ears to miss out on the season.

In the same way, we have to shut her eyes and ears to the Evening News not to know that we desperately need a savior. War and injustice, crime and violence were not part of God’s original plan, but sin brought a lot of bad things into the world. In his life, death and Resurrection, Jesus overcame sin and death and opened the way for us to share his life forever in heaven. Meanwhile, a struggle goes on between good and evil

This Advent, let us choose good. Let us follow the Lord every day and open our hearts to his love.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord Jesus, may your kingdom come in our hearts and in our home.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

Advent–Coming

This Sunday is the first Sunday of the Advent season of the church. Advent is a special time for the church. The time is a mixture of anticipation and spiritual preparation for the coming of the Christ child. Such preparation involves repentance and joy.Those two are a rare combination. I share with you some words that my wife wrote a few year ago about Advent that emphasize the joy of the season.


Advent-Coming

Advent comes from the Latin meaning “a coming” or “arrival”. The season begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent begins our new church year as Christ comes to us again with the peace and joy needed to take us through another year.

During the season of Advent, the church celebrates two comings of Christ. First, we remember his incarnation, the coming of the Messiah, the world’s Savior. Second, we look forward to the second and final coming as reigning Lord and Judge. We thank him for His first Advent, prepare for his Second Advent, and celebrate His Presence through the Holy Spirit. It is a unique time when the past, the present, and the future realities of God are combined.

Advent gives voice to the joy and hope that the Christ Child brought to the earth and the expectation of the total restoration of God’s Kingdom when He comes again. The church looks forward to the completion of our salvation and the end of the world’s suffering when Christ comes again. The season forces spirituality into an increasingly secular Christmas and enriches our relationship to God, to each other, and those who have come before us.

The earliest recorded observances of Advent are from the fourth century. Monks set aside approximately six weeks before Christ’s Mass as a time of penitence and devotion and fasting. Advent became a time when new Christians prepared for baptism. For more than a thousand years, the church has set aside a four week period to recover Christmas as a holy time of expectation and preparation.

Today in the midst of so much despair Advent offers HOPE – the hope of the church, the hope of the restoration of creation to completeness upon Christ’s return, the hope of the salvation Christ brings. In the midst of so much war and death, Advent offers PEACE – the peace beyond our understanding, the peace that is more than the absence of conflict, the peace of Christ. In the midst of so much prejudice and hate, Advent offers LOVE – the perfect love of God, a way to love one another, the yearning to love His church. In the midst of so much sadness and loneliness, Advent offers JOY – the joy of salvation, the joy of new life, the joy of heaven

Monica Boudreaux

Advent-Scripture

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

Advent–a coming

Advent comes from the Latin meaning “a coming” or “arrival”. The season begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent begins our new church year as Christ comes to us again with the peace and joy needed to take us through another year.

During the season of Advent, the church celebrates two comings of Christ. First, we remember his incarnation, the coming of the Image result for advent candlesMessiah, the world’s Savior. Second, we look forward to the second and final coming as reigning Lord and Judge. We thank him for His first Advent, prepare for his Second Advent, and celebrate His Presence through the Holy Spirit. It is a unique time when the past, the present, and the future realities of God are combined.

Advent gives voice to the joy and hope that the Christ Child brought to the earth and the expectation of the total restoration of God’s Kingdom when He comes again. The church looks forward to the completion of our salvation and the end of the world’s suffering when Christ comes again. The season forces spirituality into an increasingly secular Christmas and enriches our relationship to God, to each other, and those who have come before us.

The earliest recorded observances of Advent are from the fourth century. Monks set aside approximately six weeks before Christ’s Mass as a time of penitence and devotion and fasting. Advent became a time when new Christians prepared for baptism. For more than a thousand years, the church has set aside a four week period to recover Christmas as a holy time of expectation and preparation.

Today in the midst of so much despair Advent offers HOPE – the hope of the church, the hope of the restoration of creation to completeness upon Christ’s return, the hope of the salvation Christ brings. In the midst of so much war and death, Advent offers PEACE – the peace beyond our understanding, the peace that is more than the absence of conflict, the peace of Christ. In the midst of so much prejudice and hate, Advent offers LOVE – the perfect love of God, a way to love one another, the yearning to love His church. In the midst of so much sadness and loneliness, Advent offers JOY – the joy of salvation, the joy of new life, the joy of heaven

2 Comments

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

Lost and Forgotten

The Lord is my Good Shepherd

12What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Matthew 18:12-14

Jackie Turner posted a Craigslist ad asking to rent a Mom and Dad for Christmas. She was willing to pay $8 an hour just to have someone to talk to and be with for Christmas. Jackie is an honor student at William Jessup University who has come a long way from her broken and abusive background. The happy ending of this story is that Jackie got numerous responses and, with help of others, is planning a giant party for everyone who responded to her ad. What an encouraging turn of events!

The letters of the scripture passage are written in red because they are the words of Jesus. In a new movement called Red Letter Christianity, Christians seek to pay careful attention to the words of scripture that are spoken by Jesus and base their Christian walks on His direction. We would all do well to be become Red Letter Christians, especially at Christmas time.

Jesus instructs us to remember the lost sheep, but lost sheep like Jackie are often forgotten. Pray that God will give you wisdom to seek out the lost sheep of your neighborhood and community. Take the time to speak, to notice and to touch people around you with His love. It is truly the spirit of the season and the Christian life.

No one should be lost and forgotten at Christmas.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent Devotional, Missional Living, Red Letter Christian

Expectations

Rembrandt Simeon houdt Jesus vast

Rembrandt Simeon 

Luke 2: 22-35

The season of Advent gives us many opportunities to develop spiritual disciplines that become part of our faith journey all year long. As we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ and anticipate his Second Coming we find that being faithful in times when the road ahead is unclear builds our dependence on God’s grace.

We can learn from Simeon about keeping faith. The Scripture tells us that he was a just and devout man in Jerusalem who had been promised by God that before he died he would see the Christ. As Mary and Joseph were taking the infant Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord and make a sacrifice, the Spirit led Simeon to the Temple, also. When he saw the baby he immediately recognized Him as the Messiah, blessed Him, and made a prophecy about His mission. Then Simeon spoke to God and told him he was ready to depart this world in peace because his promise had been fulfilled, his longing had been satisfied, and his waiting had been rewarded. After a life time of expectation the reality of the Messiah had been confirmed to Simeon. His life’s goal of actually seeing the Christ had been accomplished.

Simon had spent those long years of faithful anticipation as an opportunity to know God more intimately and to practice his devotion more fully. Some lessons can only be learned in a time of spiritual darkness or uncertainty, so God gives us the blessing of this time to realize the rewards of faithfulness. He gives us a sure hope that binds us to the assurance of holy promises. He frees us from the limitations of the measure of earth’s time or human standards of success or achievement.

When Simeon did see the Lord, he knew Him at once because his years of waiting had given him a clear understanding of God’s revelation. When finally realized, our expectation brings the joy and affirmation that God’s promises are real. A transcendence of head knowledge engages the heart and soul – that eternal part of us that is made in the image of God. We find that God’s promises are a certainty not a possibility. We can be sure of the outcome, not doubtful of the end.

Advent is a time of spiritual expectation and longing, a time of confirmed promises, a time of unashamed hope of Christ’s Second Coming. Advent is the celebration of the realization of God’s promise to Simeon and to us – Christ has come and Christ will come again.

Reflection – What spiritual lessons would you like to learn this Advent?
Monica Boudreaux

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

The Family Tree

from http://home.earthlink.net/~sanchadeayala/...

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord

Isaiah 11:1-3
 We are all curious about our family heritage. Many of us take time to go to family reunions. Still others log on to research sites to find out if there is an exciting person in their background. Isaiah traces the roots of Jesus back to show His connection with King David. It is that strong heritage of freedom that Jesus proclaims for the people.

We share in that victory and heritage because we are children of the king.

  • Meditate on your spiritual heritage and thank God for your experience.
  • What is something you are most grateful for in your heritage?

Let us delight on these things as we worship Him.

Monica Boudreaux

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

Thomas Merton on Advent

English: An acolyte lighting Advent candles on...

The certainty of Christian hope lies beyond passion and beyond knowledge. Therefore we must sometimes expect our hope to come in conflict with darkness, desperation and ignorance. Therefore, too, we must remember that Christian optimism is not a perpetual sense of euphoria, an indefectible comfort in whose presence neither anguish nor tragedy can possibly exist. We must not strive to maintain a climate of optimism by the mere suppression of tragic realities. Christian optimism lies in a hope of victory that transcends all tragedy: a victory in which we pass beyond tragedy to glory with Christ crucified and risen.

It is important to remember the deep, in some ways anguished seriousness of Advent, when the mendacious celebrations of our marketing culture so easily harmonize with our tendencey to regard Christmas, consciously or otherwise, as a return to our own innocence and our own infancy. Advent should remind us that the “King Who is to Come” is more than a charming infant smiling (or if you prefer a dolorous spirituality, weeping) in the straw. There is certainly nothing wrong with the traditional family jours of Christmas, nor need we be ashamed to find ourselves still able to anticipate them without too much ambivalence. After all, that in itself is no mean feat.

But the Church in preparing us for the birth of a “great prophet,” a Savior and a King of Peace, has more in mind than seasonal cheer. The advent mystery focuses the light of faith upon the very meaning of life, of history, of man, of the world and of our own being. In Advent we celebrate the coming and indeed the presence of Christ in our world. We witness to His presence even in the midst of all its inscrutable problems and tragedies. Our Advent faith is not an escape from the world to a misty realm of slogans and comforts which declare our problems to be unreal, our tragedies inexistent…

In our time, what is lacking is not so much the courage to ask this question as the courage to expect an answer…We may at times be able to show the world Christ in moments when all can clearly discern in history, some confirmation of the Christian message. But the fact remains that our task is to seek and find Christ in our world as it is, and not as it might be. The fact that the world is other than it might be does not alter the truth that Christ is present in it and that His plan has been neither frustrated nor changed: indeed, all will be done according to His will. Our Advent is a celebration of this hope.

1 Comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional, Thomas Merton

My Soul Shook

It was dark with only a small fire for light and warmth.  Suddenly an intense brightness, a light such as we had never seen, a light that could never be produced from a fire or oil lamp flooded our field.  An angel stepped out of the blinding light.  I have never been so terrified.  But the angel spoke words of reassurance to us and then the promise of Good News.  The Angel instructed us to go look for a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a feeding trough!  This baby was the Messiah, the Savior.  The sky was suddenly filled with a multitude of heavenly beings singing a holy hymn of joy.

Still partly blinded by the light and recovering from fear on trembling legs, we were led by a sense of holy presence to a barn behind an inn.  He was lying in an ordinary crude manger filled with fresh hay.  I saw Him – MY SOUL SHOOK! Aaron, the shepherd.

Emmaus

It was the day after Passover.  The crowds were leaving Jerusalem, traveling back to their homes.  The Temple was nearly empty after the hectic days of the annual pilgrimage.  I am a doctor of the law and on that day, I made my way over to meet with my colleagues for the discussion of the day’s questions.  I was surprised to see in their midst a small boy.  All of us were amazed at the depth of his understanding of the intricacies of the law. For him, the law was more than rules; it was a matter of heart.  He led us to see Yahweh’s purpose.  With all our combined years of study, our insights paled in the light of his knowledge.  For those hours, the law lived.

After three days of conversation with this remarkable boy, his parents showed up in a panic.  His mother reprimanded him for worrying them so.  His response has never left me.  He said to her, “Why are you searching for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

I saw the impact of his words on his mother’s face.  She knew.  I began to wonder – His Father? Could he be? As He walked away, He looked back. I saw Him – MY SOUL SHOOK! Saul, Temple Rabbi

The Scripture tells us of many others who saw the Christ, recognized Him, and felt their souls shake – the magi, Anna, Simeon, Paul the Apostle, the centurion at the crucifixion, Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.  Today, when we see Christ with spiritual eyes, recognize Him in our heart; sense His real presence – our Souls Shake!

Reflection – When did you feel your Soul Shake because you saw Christ?

 Monica Boudreaux

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional, Christian Living