Devoting Time to Anticipation
The season leading up to Christmas tends to be a hectic one. We’re busy buying and planning and decorating for the holidays – and sometimes we just forget to stop and remember the depths of the spiritual meaning to these few weeks.
The church season of Advent helps us to do this well, providing a time of anticipation that draws us into the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love as we approach the celebration of the birth of the One who brings hope, the Prince of Peace, the Joy of our Salvation, and the embodiment of Love on Earth.
Advent 2017 begins Sunday, December 3, and each day of the season, we will post here a devotional focused on one of the four themes of the season, and ending with a focus on the Christ child at Christmas:
December 3-7: Hope
December 8-12: Peace
December 13-17: Joy
December 18-22: Love
December 23-24: Christ
These devotionals were written by members of River Road Church, Baptist, and they are accompanied by art drawn by our children (and a couple of our adults!) to represent this season and all it means for us as Christians.
I hope you’ll take a few moments each day to read these devotionals as we anticipate the coming of Christ together in the coming weeks.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!
Header Art by Evan
Content Art by Michael
Photo by Libby Grammer
“Not just a baby” a poem by Dan Bagby
We are lighting the final Advent candle and awaiting the lighting of the Christ candle.
The variety of ways people picture God amazes me.
1 John 3:16-18
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
From the simple verse, “God is love,” that we learned as children, those of us in the church are reminded over and over again that God loves us:
Don’t you love the music of Christmas?
In Knoxville, Tennessee this summer, it came to me for the first time: the four Sundays of Advent flow in a logical, and to my way of thinking, a needed sequence.
I admit it: I have trouble finding joy during the Christmas season.
When Ella was first learning how to walk, I told Daniel that one of my favorite sounds was hearing her toddle through the house.
A mother looks deep into the eyes of her infant son, as she holds his hands and pours out babbling baby-talk to him.
Years ago at a Christmas service the last stanza of “O Holy Night” suddenly captured my attention.
There are a lot of nasty things going on in the world.
For many, myself included, this time of year can be one of melancholy, and with the days growing shorter, and the signs of lushness falling to the ground, it is easy to consider that the land itself feels the same way.
Imagine Mary and Joseph adoring the newborn Baby Jesus.
The concept of me writing an Advent devotion for others to use seemed crazy.
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world, you face persecution.
But take courage; I have conquered the world!
Recently, Ken Burns’ PBS special on the Vietnam War brought into our homes the horrors of war with its gruesome cost in human life, national strife, and political upheaval.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid: for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.’” Luke 2:10
I recently made a trip to Macy’s in search of “just the right Christmas gift.”
If we were looking for things that suppress hope, we would not have to look far.
“I hope.” These words may constitute one of the shortest prayers we will ever say. I don’t mean hope as it refers to wishful thinking.
Many years ago, The New York Times ran an article about the Judith and Martin Markovitz from Newton Township, Pennsylvania.
Would you be one of our 20 writers this season? During this upcoming Advent season, I would like our church to reflect on the hope, joy, peace, and love Jesus brings into our lives. This year, our congregation will write a series of Advent devotionals that we would...