First Week of Advent: November 30 – December 5
Scripture: Deuteronomy 18:17-19; Isaiah 11:1-5; Jeremiah 23:5-6
Meditation: Have you ever waited expectantly for the arrival of a very special event—a wedding, the birth of a child, a graduation, a reunion…? How long did you have to wait?
More than 2000 years ago, there was a man, whose name was Simeon, and a woman, named Anna. Simeon and Anna waited…and waited (we will read their story next week). They waited expectantly for the greatest event the world had ever seen; the coming (advent) of the greatest person the world would ever see—the Messiah, who would bring consolation and salvation to his people.
As we start this advent season, looking forward to Christmas Day, let us each ponder the question, “For what am I waiting expectantly? The presents? The parties? The gathering of family? Or is it to be amazed again at the coming of God himself as a humble baby—Jesus, the Savior?
Prayer: Father, cause our hearts and minds to wonder anew at the unsurpassed gift of your love in the sending of your son, Jesus, our only salvation.
Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Audio and Lyrics: youtube.com/watch?v=7xtpJ4Q_Q-4
Second Week of Advent: December 6 – 12
Scripture: Luke 2:25-38; Isaiah 49:6-13; John 1:1-14
Meditation: Can you see it? Can you see the light that is the baby Jesus? Simeon and Anna, with the help of the Holy Spirit, recognized the radiance of the Messiah in that newborn boy. Light had burst onto the scene, piercing the darkness of oppression…of doubt…of fear…of sin and death itself! “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In fact, this Light will overcome all darkness and make that which was dead, alive again.
Do you see it? Do you see Him—Jesus, the Light? He has come amid the darkness of the world to bring life and salvation to the people of all nations. In this advent season, let us bask in the glory of his radiant love and reflect the brilliance of his coming to all peoples.
Prayer: Lord, help us to see you. In you alone is true life, and as we worship you this season help us to reflect your light to those around us.
Song: How Lovely Shines the Morning Star
Third Week of Advent: December 13 – 19
Scripture: Genesis 3:8-15; Romans 3:23-24; Romans 6:23; 1 John 4:9; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 2:10-3:1
Meditation: Why did Jesus come? The simplest answer is….Love! As we saw last week, Jesus came as the light and life of mankind—mankind who is trapped in the death and darkness of sin. We are all enslaved by sin because of the disobedience of our great, great, great….grandfather and grandmother, Adam and Eve. And no efforts of man from that time forward could break the chains of sin’s bondage.
But, did you see it? Did you see the promise of hope given by God in Genesis 3? Even as he rendered his sentence of judgment for Adam and Eve’s wrongdoing, God promises an offspring from the woman that will “bruise/snatch” the head of the serpent/evil one. The first advent! The first anticipation for the coming of a savior, who will right the wrong of sin.
So, what man could not accomplish in saving himself, God took on himself and came as a man—Jesus, God the Son—to redeem that which is trapped in sin, death, and darkness. Why? The best answer is his never-ending, never-failing…love! Do you know his love?
Prayer: Father, remind us of your unfailing love in the sending of your Son. He is the only hope in breaking the power of sin in our lives and bringing the dead to life.
Song: Love Came Down at Christmas
Audio & Lyrics: youtube.com/watch?v=3Dw-ovufNdg
Fourth Week of Advent: December 20 – 24
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 2:1-7; Philippians 2:5-11
Meditation: Joy to the World, the Lord is come!…in the form of a helpless baby!
Wait! Isn’t all of this out of order? Our Mighty God coming as a helpless babe?…the Word taking on flesh?…the King of Glory born among animals and laid ignobly in a feeding trough as a crib?…the great I AM kneeling down and washing the dirty feet of his disciples?…the one Without Sin being convicted of wrongdoing?…the Author of Life being killed on a cross?…the Savior not being saved?
Out of order—Yes!—but still the mysterious, perfect, loving response to an out-of-order world by our mysterious, perfect, loving God.
Prayer: Jesus we praise you for coming to set right our out-of-order world. Thank you for your sacrificial love. Thank you for selflessly taking the punishment that we justly deserved.
Song: Joy to the World
Audio & Lyrics: youtube.com/watch?v=cr8myPmEpWw
Christmas Day: December 25
Scripture: John 14:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:12-13; Matthew 24:44; James 5:8; Revelation 22:20
Meditation: Christmas is here, but the anticipation of advent is not over. There is more to come! The coming of Jesus as a baby was not the end of the wait. His death on the cross was not the end story. The tomb had no means of containing him—death had no way of holding him. So, he sprang forth with glorious life and lives today in heaven, preparing a place for us who believe in him.
And so we wait for his second advent—his second coming—when he will consummate the establishment of his kingdom as Lord, Prophet, Priest, and King. No one knows the time—it could be tonight, it could be next year, it could be the next millennia…it could be this very hour. But Jesus’ clarion command while we wait is…be ready! Be patient. Establish your hearts. The coming of the Lord is at hand! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus! Are you ready?
Prayer: Father, help us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives today as we wait for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Song: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Audio & Lyrics: youtube.com/watch?v=JEEd0uWnDGs