Welcome to Advent. Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas. Every one of us will make preparations this Advent. The question for us at this point, as the season is beginning, is where will our preparations take us? Will they take us to an empty manger on Christmas day, frazzled and worn out from getting caught up in the commercialism and busyness of buying gifts, hanging lights and decorations, attending parties, gathering with friends, baking, cooking, wrapping, cleaning, attending concerts and watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Or, will they instead take us to the manger of Jesus ready to celebrate and worship the one who chose to leave heaven to join our mess, to reveal to us the Father who loves us, and to open the way to the Father through the cross and empty tomb?
The word Advent means ‘coming’ in Latin and the season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas day. In the Old Testament we see a people who were waiting, anticipating and longing for the Messiah to come. Just over 2000 years ago angels put on a never seen before light show for some shepherds to let them know that the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, was born in the backwater area of Bethlehem in a place where animals were kept. Jesus is the center of God’s redemption plan and He lived His life listening to the Father and serving those around Him. After His death and resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven to prepare a place for us and commissioned us to carry on His work of sharing in words and action the love of God. Just like our ancestors in the Old Testament, we too are waiting, anticipating and longing for Jesus to come again and to complete the work of restoring all things to how they were at creation.
Our theme for Advent this year is Rooted. We will be using the Jesse Tree, an ancient practice of the church, to daily look at Bible stories from creation to the birth of Jesus. In these weeks we will be introduced to the family tree of Jesus, imperfect people that God used to bring about the perfect one. Jesus came to earth rooted in God’s restoration plan that began back in the garden and we are to continue His work rooted in Him.
I am excited about this devotional because we made it! Each day you will read a devotion that was written by one of our own. I know this season can be very busy for us, but I encourage you to sit down for a few minutes each day, whether by yourself or with your family, and experience the story of God that is pointing towards Jesus. If you have teens or kids, each day there are Family Activity Options that you can do together. Join me, let’s prepare well!
Enjoying the Journey