Scott L. (1997)
“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
When I was asked to find a meaningful verse to write about, I was confused. I didn’t know whether I should make it pertain to Advent, the time when we wait for the coming of our lord, or whether it should be a verse that I personally use to draw strength and wisdom. I’ll try now to do both.
The above is a quote from Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. He was filled with the Holy Spirit when he spoke this prophecy. He knew that his son would prepare us for the coming of the Lord, as the angel had told him.
Well, we know that God was with us on this earth in the person of His son, Jesus Christ. We all know that God is with us today as the Holy Spirit.
To me, it means so much that, among the miracles of Jesus, he healed the sick and helped the blind to see. This is what he continues to do to this day. I’m living proof of that. Now I still have my personal downs, but each day that I walk with God, I feel like I’m getting better. We all fall short and we all fall down.
What we need to do is to praise God, ask for His forgiveness and to pray for the knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.
“Open my eyes, enlighten me, Spirit Devine.” Amen
Jim E. (1997)
Isaiah 7:14, 35:1-2, 40:3-5, 52:10
Several years ago, I was to attend a seminar at Belleville U.M.C., that featured hymn-writing duo Richard Avery, and Donald March (you might know them from their hymn, “We Are The Church”). One of the things I remember from that day was their method of remembering the colors of the liturgical year. The color for Advent is purple. You can remember that by thinking about what Advent means…Prepare. Thus, Purple.
Advent is a time of preparation. With preparation comes hope. Without hope the process of preparation seems meaningless. When a chef prepares a meal, one hopes it will be satisfying to those who partake it. When a musician prepares music, he hopes it will be satisfying for those who hear it. Everything is prepared with a hope for the end result. As we prepare for the coming of Christ, it is hope that keeps our faith alive.
We learn in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14) that God will appear to us in the form of a child. It seems to me that this is where preparation began. Isaiah 50:3-5 says, “Make a road for the Lord through the wilderness, make Him a straight, smooth road through the desert. Fill the valleys; level the hills; straighten out the crooked paths and smooth off the rough spots in the road. The glory of the Lord will be seen by all mankind together.”
Advent calls for a vigorous, positive tone of hope. In the hymn, “Toda la Tierra” (“All the Earth is Waiting”), the text mingles phrases from Isaiah 7:14 and 40:3-5 with words of hope for today’s world. It closes with “In lowly stable the Promised One appeared, yet I feel his presence throughout the world today, for he lives in all Christians and is with us now again, and with his coming he brings liberty. Prepare the way of the Lord!
Greetings! This year's Advent devotions combine contributions from past years, interlaced with current contributions.
Introduction by the late Irma Ward, Pastor Emeritus:
"It is the prayer of those who have shared their Advent thoughts with you that this Holy Season will bring you a deepening sense of His presence. The One whose name is Emmanuel, God with Us!
Every page is personal witness of this fact, that in Christ we are encouraged, supported, comforted, challenged, forgiven, redeemed, blessed. Here are Scriptures of special meaning to persons in our fellowship; an intimate opening of hearts, a sharing of joy and pain, of promise and fulfillment. Some meditations are written by young children, others by youth and young adults, still others by mature and senior members of our fellowship. Each one reminds us we are one body, bound together in His love.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, we have beheld His Glory. (John 1:14)"