Advent is coming
To say that 2020 has been a year like no other might be the understatement of the year! Many people have struggled to create and maintain any sense of “normal” rhythms, patterns, routines, or schedules in life. Work, school, church, families, shopping, entertainment, and any human interaction has changed. Feelings of anxiety, fear, worry, and loss have invaded the lives of countless individuals. Some people have even talked about the world's need for a "Great Reset.” However, two thousand years ago, the world experienced "The Greatest Reset" in Jesus Christ. Every year, the church experiences this reset anew in Advent.
What is Advent?
The ancient church believed that the rhythm of life and worship should center on their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The church calendar was developed with Advent beginning the church year. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus and means "coming." It starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve (December 24th). An Advent wreath is often used in churches, which is filled with symbolism.
The circle of greenery reminds us that God is eternal with no beginning or end, and we have new eternal life in him. The candles symbolize God's light breaking into the world through Jesus Christ. Each Sunday, a different candle is lit accompanied by Scripture readings focusing on themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. The white center candle, called the Christ candle, is lit on Christmas Eve.
Why the journey of Advent?
The Christian life is often depicted as a journey. Both the Old and New Testaments capture this image by using the same words for physically walking on a road, and for spiritually walking with God. The Christian life begins as a journey to Jesus and then becomes a journey with Jesus. As pilgrims on the journey, we can become distracted, tired, and even lost, especially in a year like 2020. The season of Advent reframes our perspectives and reshapes our lives on what really matters. It enables us to celebrate Christ’s journey into the world, his journey into our lives, and his imminent second journey to this world.
What are these Advent blog posts?
These daily Advent posts will take the place of my traditional blog (Monday and Friday) currently working through the book of James. These daily readings are a tool to help redirect our hearts and minds to the coming Messiah. There will be 26 entries, beginning Sunday, November 29th and ending Thursday, December 24th. An additional entry will be provided on Friday, December 25th summarizing the themes and ideas over the past 26 days. Each entry will include the same format regularly used in the blog. This format consists of the following elements:
1. Recognize the Context:
An introduction with relevant aspects of the historical, literary, and immediate contexts will be addressed.
2. Read the Scripture:
The Scripture reference and text will be provided for you. However, you may want to read the text in your own Bible.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
This section will concentrate on the central elements of interpretation within the passage.
4. Relate to Life:
Remember, it is essential to be a doer of God's Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). This section will provide suggestions for prayer, actions, and study.
Thoughts or questions to prayerfully consider
Specific actions you can do that day or during the week (or create your own ways to respond)
Additional Scriptures to be read or studied Hopefully, these will be a catalyst to stimulate thoughts and ideas on how you can apply the Scriptures in your world today.
I hope daily interaction with God’s Word in this devotional will refocus your heart and mind this Advent season. I pray it will cause you to anticipate the coming of Christ to this earth, to consider his advent in your own life, and to live in light of his imminent Second Advent.
Blessings on your journey this Advent season!
The first official Advent post begins Sunday, November, 29th.