Advent 2021

Witness: Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Witness: Kristyne Young

Text: Zephaniah 3:14-17

Weekly Theme: Hope

It’s Christmas!  Well, actually it is not!  It’s Advent!  Each year it seems like Christmas creeps further and further into November and even October.  Not only does Christmas creep into Thanksgiving but it also creeps into Advent.  This year the Christmas creep has been particularly bad because of worries about shipping delays and scarcity.  We will get back to that in a moment.  However, I want to say a bit more about Advent.  Advent is the season of the Church year where we have the opportunity to prepare for, not just the birth of the baby Jesus, but also to prepare for and long for Christ to come again.  During this time we both remember that Jesus came once before, as the little baby in the manger, the baby who grew to be the man, both fully human and fully divine who died for us.  Who died, but then in three days rose from the dead, conquering death and changing everything.  We get to – and should – spend Advent looking both forward and backward.  We look forward to a time when, as Zephaniah says, “..the Lord himself, the King of Israel will live among you!  At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster.”  The day is coming when Jesus will return.  Because we know this, let us make this Advent a time when we prepare our hearts and minds to accept Jesus, both the baby from long ago and the Jesus that will come again.  That is Advent!

Christmas, on the other hand, is the season that lasts from sundown on December 24 through Epiphany on January 6.  This series of days is sometimes called the 12 Days of Christmas!  This year we decided to extend our devotional through Christmas all the way to Epiphany.  We hope you enjoy these extra days of reading and celebrating Christmas!  

Now, back to the creeping of Christmas and shipping delays and scarcity.  It is easy to get caught up in all of this stuff.  And stuff is what it is!  We worship a God who is enough.  Many of you know that more than a few years ago now, my family gave up giving a lot of presents at Christmas and moved to the four gifts… something you need, something you want, something to wear and something educational.  This changed the lives of our family & helped us all to remember that the Advent and Christmas season is about much more than giving gifts to each other.  Removing the focus from gift giving allowed us to focus on Jesus.  Allowed us to focus on relationships over possessions.  Allowed us to slow down and enjoy each moment.  Allowed us to see that God was enough and we did not need everything the world told us we needed.  My prayer for all of us this season is that we can slow down, take time with those we love, see those who are in need and spend time with our creator.  

Daily Prayer:  Gracious God, be with us this season.  Allow us to hear the message you have provided for each of us.  Open our ears to hear and our eyes to see.  Amen.  

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. What are you longing for this Advent Season?  
  2. What is a Christmas tradition that you could possibly move out of the Advent Season and into the 12 Days of Christmas?  
  3. Do you have a friend you could share this devotional study with?  Send them an email today and ask if you can forward them the devotions each day during Advent.  

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