Category Archives: Advent

Advent, Day 10

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Isaiah 42:16 in the NIV and The Message

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.”

“But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way,
who can’t see where they’re going.
I’ll be a personal guide to them,
directing them through unknown country.
I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take,
make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.
These are the things I’ll be doing for them—
sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.”

Right by our side, helping, guiding. Not leaving it all on us.

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Advent, Day 9

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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”
Genesis 1:1-3

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Isaiah 60:1-3

Advent, Day 7 & 8

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Happy 2nd Sunday of Advent. This week is all about preparation. What are we doing to prepare for Christ’s return?

This morning in church our pastor, Gyle Smith, spoke about Simeon and Anna. 700 years prior it had been prophesied that the Messiah would come and Simeon and Anna had spent their days in preparation of his arrival. Anna spent YEARS in the temple fasting and praying and waiting. I can’t even say that I’ve spent days? hours? preparing for His return. Their preparation was not in vein. I wonder at what the fruit of our preparation will be!

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
Luke 2: 29-32

Josh and I talked tonight of how our time in this life is itself preparation. In light of eternity, is the good in this life not just a taste of things to come?

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Advent, Day 6

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Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Advent, Day 4 & 5

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

I think that, for many of my friends, the Gospel doesn’t bring good news but instead they see God as a God of condemnation. A God who sits on high and says, “My way or else.”. But the God I know, the God of scripture says “NO!” to our condemnation. He took on human flesh and sin, pain and heartbreak, the burden of life and the agony of death. He chose to go from Almighty God to helpless infant and tore His way into the world like the rest of us, through blood, sweat and tears. And all the while He said “NO!” to our condemnation. It was the very reason He came. Christ did not come to condemn us, but to save us.

“Everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being:
You have made us for yourself, so that our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
-Augustine of Hippo
Algeria 354-430

Advent Day 3

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A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for The Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 40:3-5

This passage compels us to long for Heaven, for the glory of the Lord to be revealed. It starts “In the wilderness”; Josh has certainly been in the wilderness lately with the recent passing of his father. Aren’t we all in a wilderness of some sort? Here, right now, in the wilderness we are to prepare the way for Christ’s return. And we long for this world to be made right, believer and unbeliever alike. We long for our brokenness to be healed, for our wounds to be bound, to live in peace with our neighbor. We long for all people to see the glory of the Lord revealed.

Advent Day 2

Hi friends! Sorry this is a day late, but Josh and I had a night out last night. We were able to attend the Believer’s Church staff Christmas party and we had a blast! I love my church and absolutely adore my church family. We ate a delicious meal, catered by the talented Christy Hartung, and played an intense game of White Elephant Gift Exchange. Thanks to my partner in crime, DMac, I made out like a bandit with a $10 gift card to Target.

Josh and I sat down this morning and had our Advent reading before leaving for work for the day.

Today’s verse is from Zachariah 9:9-10

“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey…He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea.”

What thoughts does this verse stir up in you?

We were intrigued by how Christ is described as being both victorious and lowly. How does this play out in your life as you strive to be Christ-like?

Advent Day 1

Hi friends, thanks for joining us as our little family celebrates the first day of Advent.

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What we did:

We lit our first advent candle and sat down at the table to enjoy some coloring, reading and prayer.

While Bear filled in a free coloring page that I printed from crayola.com (you can find it here), Josh and I explained to him what Advent is all about.

(I put together the following, in my own words, from some writings I found online last year. Unfortunately, I did not write down the different sources I used. If this sounds familiar to anyone, please let me know so I can link to the sites!)

What we read:

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King. Advent is celebrating a truth about God, the Revelation of god in Christ whereby all of Creation might be reconciled to God.

Expectation, anticipation, preparation, longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression.

We wait in anticipation of a King who will rule with truth, justice and righteousness over His people and in His Creation. It is that hope that once anticipated and now anticipates anew the reign of an Anointed One, a Messiah who will bring peace, justice and righteousness to the world.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” -Isaiah 7:14

What we discussed:

Josh and I talked about recognizing our need for a savior in a world where brokenness begets brokenness, sometimes for generations. In this world where loss and pain are a part of life we are thankful that Christ has come to bring us hope and it is with that hope that we face the future.

What did you discuss/read/pray about tonight? I would love to hear about your journey through Advent this year.

A Light Shining in the Darkness

As I was growing up Christmas always held a special sort of magic. The month of December was filled with love, family, food and travel and, as wonderful as it was, I always felt that something was missing. As I got older I would awaken on Christmas morning and suddenly realize that I had not made Christ the central part of my celebrating; my God and the entire reason for celebrating had been an afterthought. I had no traditions set in place to remember, thank and honor The Light of the World.

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Once Josh and I were married and established in our own home, we began discussing Christmas traditions: our own growing up and the possibility of making new ones. We started weaving the tapestries of our lives together in this way and quickly realized that we wanted more out of the Christmas season, for us and our future children. We wanted to remember and celebrate, we wanted tradition and hope. More specifically, we wanted Advent.

Webster’s dictionary defines Advent as:

1: the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting
2 a: the coming of Christ at the Incarnation
b : second coming

Advent is a time to not only remember Christ’s first coming, but to joyfully and expectantly look forward to His return.

Christians all over the world celebrate Advent in a variety of ways, through fasting, feasting, prayer, with the lighting of candles, by attending special church services, and celebrating in their own homes. I’d like invite you into our home this Christmas season to join us in the way our little family has decided to celebrate. This is the second year we have observed Advent in our home and I’m sure that as the years go by our celebrations will change and grow along with our family. But I plan to keep one thing the same, that our eyes, hearts and minds would be fixed on our savior during this beautiful season of remembrance and expectation.

First, I made an Advent calendar out of cardboard, fancy scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby, clothes pins, and string. On each card I wrote out a scripture, song, prayer or quote that fit into one of three categories: Christ’s first coming, Christ’s second coming, and Christ as the light of the world. I hung the cards on the string and each evening we would have our special Advent reading.

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I also really love the tradition of lighting candles for Advent. In some church traditions 4 candles are lit during the 4 Sundays of Advent. Each candle represents one of the following: expectation, hope, joy and purity. I wanted to incorporate this somehow into our own tradition so Josh went out to our woodpile and made us this beautiful candleholder.

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Each night of December we will light an Advent candle, select a reading from our calendar, discuss what it stirs up inside of us and pray. Our hope is that this season brings us closer to our savior and helps us keep our gaze fixed on Him. We also hope you will join us in this celebration.

If you and/ or your family celebrates Advent please tell me how! We would love to have new ideas especially as our kiddos grow.