'Advent' Tagged Posts

'Advent' Tagged Posts

Daily Devotions

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.” vs. 4 Psalm 96 Even though some say that atheism is on the march and that fewer people believe in God, the truth is that there are a plethora of gods available in the marketplace. Humans have never been without their gods and new ones are being invented every day–and there are plenty of suppliants, all ready to offer sacrifices on the…

Daily Devotions

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” vs. 6 Isaiah 9:2-7 Coronations were a big deal in the nation of Judah. They were a time for celebrations and extravagant displays; the prophets proclaimed the glory of God and pronounced God’s blessing on the newly crowned king. Isaiah describes the new king as a child given from…

Daily Devotions

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” vs. 45 Luke 1:43-45 Elizabeth speaks from experience. In the first of Luke’s nativity stories she had been the heroine. Even though her husband Zechariah doubted, in her old age she had conceived and was very pregnant when Mary showed up at her doorstep. The story as Luke tells it is touching. Two women, one very old and one…

Daily Devotions

And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’” vss. 41b-42 Luke 1:39-42 Luke began his account of the life of Jesus with an exploration of his origins and includes two birth narratives that have been irresistible for artists and theologians for centuries. He wants his readers to know that what happened in Jesus was the work of the Holy Spirit, and…

Daily Devotions

And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” vs. 10 Hebrews 10:7-10 The writer of Hebrews recognized that the whole sacrificial system as laid out in the law had been invented by humans. Their intentions had been good; they had wanted to provide a way for people to receive forgiveness of sins. The guilt of sin had been debilitating and the periodic offerings had provided…

Daily Devotions

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;’” vs. 3 Hebrews 10:5-7 After the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and its elimination as a place of worship and sacrifice, Jewish followers of Jesus scrambled to make sense of what had happened. Bit by bit, as they examined their scriptures, some of them began to understand Jesus’ death as a once for all…

Daily Devotions

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” vss. 52-53 Luke 1:51-55 Mary’s song gives definition to Luke’s vision of the peaceable kingdom. As he sees it, God is no unbiased bystander in the great scheme of things. Rather, God is intimately involved and has a pronounced bias for the poor and the hungry. Luke simply doesn’t buy the contemporary…

Daily Devotions

And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.’” vss. 46b-48a Luke 1:46b-50 Sometimes the words of scripture become so commonplace to us that we don’t quite recognize their significance. Here we have the gospel writer Luke beginning his account by giving voice to a woman! That didn’t happen with Matthew or Mark and is an introduction to Luke’s inclusive style…

Daily Devotions

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.” vs. 2 Micah 5:2-5a When we read the books of the prophets in our scriptures the meaning of the verses is often obscure and virtually inaccessible. But when Micah drops the name of a little village near Jerusalem into his oracle, his…

Daily Devotions

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” vs. 6 Philippians 4:6-7 One of the side-effects of living a joyous life is the absence of anxiety and worry. Some might question whether this is even a possibility given the current state of tension and uncertainty, but for Paul it’s a natural consequence of basking in the grace of God. In such a state, totally trusting in…

Daily Devotions

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” vs. 4 Philippians 4:4-5 As Paul brings his love letter to the Philippians to a close he says good-bye by encouraging them to be people of joy. This is the best way to show him honor and give him thanks, and he even repeats it. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” It’s doubtful that he’s telling them to be happy all the time. Being happy is…

Daily Devotions

Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.” vs. 5 Isaiah 12:2-6 Pink Candle Sunday, the Third Sunday in Advent, is just a few short days away and we rejoice as it comes close. It’s an annual reminder that the Lord has done gloriously and that the whole earth is yearning to know that God’s love is unyielding, overwhelming, and all powerful. Sadly, so much of religious history has revolved…