Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
What is Advent?
Advent is the four-week season of preparation to celebrate the coming of Jesus at Christmas. This year we will prepare room for Christ in our hearts and lives through daily readings in from Philip Reinder’s Seeking God’s Face and the occasional work of art: a song, a painting, or a poem. Something that will sneak past our usual barriers of noise, hustle and busyness to help cultivate a discerning eye for both our sin and the hope Christ carries with him.
Our hope is that this season of expectant waiting will help us to tap into both our sense that the world is not as it should be AND (a glorious and!) that God in Christ has come down to bring healing and consolation to our broken world and hearts. Advent is a season, then, where we say: All shall be well! Because the true King has come!
Call to Prayer
“The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)
Read the following passages and then spend a moment in quiet stillness before God.
Readings: Psalm 146:2, 6-10 and Isaiah 40:1-5
Read again slowly…find a word or phrase that catches your eye or moves your heart…slowly repeat it…pray your thoughts, desires, needs, and feelings from your meditation…enjoy the presence of your Lord and Savior.
- Pray for servant leadership, kingdom vision, godly stewardship, and effective organization of the local church
- Pray for a deep missional identity to mark the local church
- Pray for denominations, agencies, and programs
Satisfying God, it sometimes hurts to hope, and so I settle for less. I confess that I’ve often given my heart to impostors and counterfeits that can never deliver. Nurture in me a desire for your generous reward—a glory I can hardly begin to imagine—and a longing for that great day when I will fully enjoy your promises in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Question 37).
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
Advent begins in the dark. Literally. It is the darkest time of the year. Advent, which begins our church calendar, begins facing this darkness. Advent comes to us as a gift of darkness, emptiness, and says – will you enter this period of waiting with me? Will you pause to remember and recognize your own emptiness and darkness – and practice longing for the light? These works of art invite us to enter into the wonder and waiting for the Light of the World to dawn on Christmas morn.
The Stump of Jesse by John Hendrix
John Hendrix is an illustrator by trade. Over the years, he has compiled several sketchbooks-worth of “sermon sketches.”
He notes, “My sketchbook drawing doesn’t just involve rendering objects in my sight lines, but translating ideas into visual concepts. My favorite time to do this is in church. On Sunday mornings, sitting in a creaky wooden church pew, I draw during the sermon. As the preacher climbs behind the pulpit and begins, I open my sketchbook and uncap my pen. With pick axe in hand, I look for a ripe spot and start digging.”
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Ps. 27:14)