Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
Top Music Videos
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means “God is with us” (v.23).
Having grown up in a nonliturgical denomination, I remember the first time my family celebrated Christmas with an Advent wreath. My dad, who was a pastor, had changed his denominational association, and with it came the emphasis on the church calendar. In high school when the transition came, I noted the differences and gained a true appreciation for the ceremony I had encountered only on occasion before this time. While I loved the symbolism in the lighting of each candle, the observance as a whole brought a sense of spiritual anticipation previously unstirred by gifts under the tree.
Taken back to its original Latin roots, the word advent literally means “a coming, approach, arrival.” We spend weeks (and for some, months) preparing for Christmas. Presents to buy and wrap, decorations to put up, food to prepare—all because we’re filled with anticipation.
But the real expectation is Jesus, and we—His church and bride—celebrate one arrival while awaiting another. Not content to take His place beside us, He chose to lower Himself that He might dwell with—and within—us (John 14:20). He’s the promise realized. The world we live in, however, is but a shadow of what’s to come. Thus, He’s also the promise awaited.
While any repeated observance can become trivialized in its importance, we guard the preciousness of Christmas when we remember that this world is not the final chapter. Jesus is returning for a people who “Look!” with anticipation (Matthew 1:23). This very hope of what is to come should stir us to greater worship today.
So, in the bright glimmer of the lights, the lively sounds of the songs, and the endless Christmas celebrations, are you looking for Him?
Read Luke 1:26 and consider how Mary’s hope wasn’t based on revealed information, but in the One who sent the message.
Why is anticipation a healthy aspect of our relationship with Jesus? How can we make sure that our hope is placed in His presence and not in what we expect Him to do for us?
- Responding to Suffering - How do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?...read more
- Laying Our Lives Down - How has Jesus’ example inspired you to freely give of yourself?...read more
- "Brutiful" - How has God worked in “brutiful” ways in your life?...read more
- The First Day—Again - How does Jesus’ resurrection infuse you with fresh hope?...read more
- Clueless at the Light - What would others say about my influence on them?...read more
- Stinging Words - How have you experienced emotional or spiritual captivity?...read more
- Everyone Has a Story - Who needs you to listen to them? Make time for them today....read more
- Gateway of Hope - How has the rough stuff of your life kept you from hoping in God?...read more
- Philip Flunked - What specific truth about God could help you with a problem you’re currently facing?...read more
- Source of All Life - Every blessing comes from God....read more
- Trapped in Sin - How can you be set free and made right with God?...read more
- Hope Beyond Discouragement - How will you point others to the Source of Hope today?...read more
- Play Your Part - How can you encourage others to fulfill their calling?...read more
- Broken Community - How do we live out holiness without becoming judgmental of others?...read more
- Giving Out Love - How has God provided for you and those you love?...read more
- Assets that Matter - How can you submit more fully to the Holy Spirit’s refining work in your life?...read more