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 80:1-2, 8-15 and 2 Peter 3:8-13
Leisurely read again…is there a word or idea that stirred within you? Linger over it and give it your attention…is there something about the reading you’d like to ask God about? Pray your life to God…take a moment to rest in God’s presence.
- Pray for God to equip us to serve in uniquely Christian ways in the public arena
- Pray for our capacity to serve the common good
- Pray for those who work in homemaking
Cleansing Lord, when you come again as judge of the living and the dead, you will be like a furnace of judgment that will consume everything evil and ungodly. But you will be a refining fire too, with a glowing, purified creation coming from the flames. Make this world beautiful for you and fitted for your kingdom; purify my heart so that I may envision that coming day. 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.
Shalom by The Bible Project
The word “Peace” is typically thrown around in our culture in the context of unrest or war. “No Justice! No Peace!” is a common refrain at protests. Prayers for peace were offered earlier this year for Afghanistan. Peaceful negotiations whether in the corporate world or between nations are readily published as the desire of two conflicting groups. I suppose that what I’m saying is that our world knows that it needs peace.
Let’s move a little closer to home. In my neighborhood a festive, 12-foot peace symbol adorns the front of my neighbor’s home. When one of my daughters asked, “Why?,” I paused for a moment to consider what would prompt them to construct this mammoth symbol of good will. “I’m not sure,” I responded and then asked, “But who do we believe brings ultimate peace?” A loud shout of our Redeemer’s name burst forth from her lips, and we agreed that, whatever reasons our goodhearted neighbor is longing for such large scale peace, we know that Jesus brings even better peace and healing in his hands.
So, with this in mind, our Advent art today comes in two forms:
- The 12-foot peace symbol from our neighborhood to remind us that we live in a world in need the sort of cosmic-sized peace that only God could “rend the heavens and come down” to bring (as we read from early this week) both mercy and right judgment resulting in an everlasting peace.
- A video from The Bible Project about the biblical concept of peace, or shalom. Biblical peace means to make complete or to restore to a state of wholeness. The Advent of Jesus is the arrival of peace. He not only made peace with God for us, but he became our peace. Through The Advent of Jesus, not only are we no longer in conflict with God, but much more God has restored us to a state of wholeness.
Click the image below to watch the video and use this guide
Note for Parents: This guide might be helpful when explaining the concept of “Shalom” to your children.
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Ps. 27:14)