Advent Begins Sunday, Nov. 27th

Advent-Cover-smallThis year the season of Advent (the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas) beings on Sunday, Nov. 27th. Jesus’ coming was not just a one-time event as a child so long ago, but his coming invades our lives everyday if we have eyes to see. The Advent season is seen as an intentional time of attuning our hearts, in the busyness of our frenzied days, to recognize all the unexpected ways Jesus still comes to us. In a world of distractions it could be that we may miss his coming all together if we don’t give intentional practice to paying attention. This will help. (I’ve included a sample devotional below.)

With a short, insightful daily devotional, Scripture reading, and two reflective questions, Advent Reflections: Let the Weary World Rejoice! is perfect for churches, individuals or families to be used as a tool to help you slow down and keep your heart in a place of wonder and anticipation rather than a place of exhaustion.

If you would like to give this book as a gift or make it available to your congregation or small group, hard copies are available on my website: Keeping Company With Jesus for $5 (shipping and tax is additional; discounts for larger quanitites apply)

It’s not too late to order your copy! Order today and they will arrive before the 27th.

Or you can order Advent Reflections: Let the Weary World Rejoice! as an e-book on Amazon for $2.99.

What others have said about Advent Reflections:

“It’s my favorite Advent devotional!” Dave M.

“I loved the daily devotional thoughts. They were new and refreshing!” Shari D.

“We used for our family devotions and my teenagers even liked it!” Lisa L.

“This has been such a blessing to me! I want to share it with our church!” Donna B

Here is a sample of a daily devotion:

“She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins. …The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him ‘Immanuel’ —which means, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:21, 23

Did you realize when God sent His son, Jesus to come to this earth, He gave His Son TWO names? Do you remember what they are?

“Jesus,” which means “Savior” and

“Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”

The pairing of these names tips us off to a reversal in our typical understanding of salvation. We usually think of salvation as Jesus “saves” us from grief, heartache, or whatever we need saving from. What we really want is for Jesus to change our circumstance and make all things better.

But God revealed Jesus as the Savior-Immanuel which means that salvation is not our ascent out of the hard, pain-filled conditions of this world. The real miracle…our real salvation is that God is WITH us. The Christian life is not about getting life fixed; because the reality is, some things can’t be fixed. It is about experiencing God’s presence in the mess of our unfixedness.

“Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now — in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality, not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws, but because we let go of seeking perfection and instead seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.” -Mike Yaconelli

Salvation is certainly the release from the penalty of our sins but it is more than that. It is a matter of having our eyes opened to see that God is with us in this life. We are not alone in our brokenness. Christ now enters every confusing, fearful, restless place in our lives and offers himself as a place of refuge and peace. Rather than be defined by our circumstances, we discover “the saving love of Christ is the measure of our lives.”

When we really see that, we can start to embrace life’s ambiguity and all of sudden it is okay that life is a bit muddled. It’s okay that things don’t make sense and don’t come to tidy conclusions because we can know God is with us in the midst of it. This means we can spend less time worrying about how to get life fixed and a lot more time praying to experience Christ’s presence in every circumstance.

Once we understand this, we begin to cultivate a life with God, a life that was not lived on the surface of things. We begin to let go of the “death grip” on our cherished image of life of our own making. Eventually we begin to realize it is not about how we can make life “work” better, but how we can, on a continual basis, stay attentive and available to the transforming presence of Christ in us.

In the words of the angel Gabriel, “The Lord is with you….Do not be afraid.”

Questions for Reflection:

  • What circumstances have you been so focused on that you have missed God’s presence in the midst of it?
  • What can you do to cultivate a life that is “not lived on the surface of things”?
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