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

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isa. 52:7)

Scripture Reading

Read the following passages and then spend a moment in quiet stillness before God.
Readings: Psalm 146:1-5 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Dwelling

Remind yourself you are in God’s presence and read again…notice how God might be speaking to you through his Word—dwell on a word or phrase that jumps out at you…let your heart respond to God in prayer…take refreshment in God’s presence!

Free Prayer

  • Pray for unity in the church
  • Pray for Christian Education: schools, colleges, seminaries
  • Pray for those who celebrate the birth of a child

Prayer

Jesus, Prince of Peace: I’ve lost my childlike wonder and stuffed the emptiness with Christmas busyness and sappy sentiment. Remind me of the miracle of Christmas, that you not only assumed a human nature but a real human soul; you were fully human. Fill me with renewed wonder that you came to save me wholly, body and soul. Amen. (prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Question 18).

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Wonder

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.

“Come, Lord Jesus!” by Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckham is a world-class biblical scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and when I came across his short meditation on the New Creation in The Gospel of Advent, I knew that it was a perfect meditation for this year’s Advent Devotional where we’ve focused so much on the contrast of the darkness of this world and the light Christ promises.

Then I saw the image that CT paired with his words and, well, I’ll let you enjoy it for yourself! So here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. Take a look below at the image of “The Lion of Judah”
  2. Read Dr. Bauckham’s words and then Revelation 22:12-20

Reflection by Richard Bauckham

The Bible ends with the prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus.” It is a prayer that is echoed in many of our Advent hymns, such as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.”

Christians have prayed it from the earliest days; it is the oldest Christian prayer we know (not counting the Lord’s Prayer). We know this because Paul quotes the original Aramaic version, Maranatha, meaning “Our Lord, come!” (1 Cor. 16:22). For Paul to expect his Greek-speaking readers in Corinth to recognize this Ara- maic phrase, it must have had a key place in early Christian worship.

In Revelation 22:20, it is a response to Jesus’ promise to come. In verse 12 and again in verse 20, Jesus himself says, “I am coming soon.” This promise runs through the whole Book of Revelation (see 2:5, 16; 3:11; 16:15; 22:7, 12, 20), promising judg- ment for some and blessing for others, until at last it evokes an answer: “Come!”

We hear that answer first in verse 17. It is the prayer of “the Spirit and the bride.” By “the Spirit,” what is probably meant is the Spirit speaking through Christian prophets in worship. The bride is the church as she joins this prayer of the Spirit.

We can picture the bride waiting for the Bridegroom to arrive. She is adorned and ready for him (see 19:7–8). The bride is not the church as such, but the church as she should be, expectant and prepared for the Lord’s coming. She is the church that prays, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

We must imagine the Book of Revelation being read aloud in Christian worship. When the reader read the next sentence, “Let everyone who hears say, ‘Come!’” (22:17, NRSV), the whole congregation would join in the prayer, shouting, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Their heartfelt prayer iden- tifies them as the bride of the Lamb.

But in the second half of verse 17, the use of the word “come” shifts. Now it is the hearers, “everyone who is thirsty,” who are invited to “come” and receive from God “the water of life” (NRSV). The water of life belongs in the new creation (21:6) and the New Jerusalem (22:1). But it is avail- able already in the present to those who are awaiting the coming of Jesus.

It is as though he comes to us already, ahead of his final coming, and gives us a foretaste of the new creation. For that is what salvation is.

We wait for him because we have met him already!

Reflect on Revelation 22:12–20.

What does it mean to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus”? How does this prayer challenge or change you? Join Christians around the globe and through the centuries as you pray this ancient prayer today.

Benediction

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” (Luke 1:68)

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