'Advent' Tagged Posts

'Advent' Tagged Posts

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 9:6-7 Early Christians knew the Hebrew scriptures like the backs of their hands, and after Jesus’ death and resurrection they found dozens of references in the law and the prophets that verified their conviction that Jesus was the Messiah. This little verse from Isaiah was well…

Daily Devotions

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” vs. 14 Isaiah 7:10-16 During the years Isaiah was an advisor to King Ahaz of Judah, Israel and Syria had joined forces and launched an attack against Jerusalem, hoping to overthrow Ahaz. In the midst of the siege Isaiah goes to Ahaz, and when Ahaz refuses to ask God for a sign, gives him…

Daily Devotions

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” vs. 11 Matthew 11:7-11 Jesus had to be careful in talking about John the Baptist. He was a well-known radical preacher who had gained enormous popularity by speaking truth to power. Large numbers of people had become his disciples, and they had been deeply upset by his arrest and imprisonment.…

Daily Devotions

Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!” vs 9 James 5:9-10 When people are in a waiting mode it’s not unusual for them to become irritated with one another. Even when there are no overt expressions of hostility there is likely to be an undercurrent of grumbling, and that’s what James was facing in his little community. He wanted it to stop, and not surprisingly…

Daily Devotions

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient.” vss. 7-8a James 5:7-8 Waiting for Christmas during Advent is not particularly difficult. Neighborhoods signal its nearness when the ladders come out and decorations go up. Even the smells around the household, cookies coming out of the oven and lefse hot off…

Daily Devotions

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.” vss. 1-2a Isaiah 35:1-4 Isaiah lived in a semi-arid land, right on the edge of the Judean desert, and he annually observed the effects of the rainy season. When the winter rains come in January or February, the desert blooms. Areas that appear to be barren much of the year suddenly are…

Daily Devotions

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” vs. 1​​ ​​​​​​​​Isaiah 11:1-4 In some homes, a Jesse tree has appeared in the family room right alongside the Christmas trees. Usually Jesse trees are not impressive in themselves; they’re just large dead branches stuck in some sort of non-descript container. They’re not at all like Christmas trees, but they are meant to be decorated. Each day during Advent some sort…

Daily Devotions

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” vs. 36 Matthew 24:36-39 When Matthew wrote his gospel, many believed that the end times were near. The armies of Rome had destroyed the temple, and many believers were sure that Jesus would surely soon return. But as Matthew recounts Jesus’ words about the end, he makes it clear that all we can know for sure is that God…

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…