I love the season of Advent as it means renewal, hope, a blessed message from God, His love, redemption and Jesus our Savior all rolled into the story of the season. Personally, December 1 brings memories of my daughter’s arrival from Korea at the age of 3 months. We had been planning and waiting for her arrival but did not know exactly when it would happen. We got a call the night before that she was arriving the morning of December 1 at LAX. We hurriedly booked flights and made our way to Los Angeles. It was a scary but gloriously exciting time for our family and a day I will never forget. Seeing and holding her for the first time, bringing her home to Oakland and having friends and family members there to greet us was amazing. That day and that experience was indelibly imprinted in my memory and on my heart.
The story of Advent, Jesus’ miraculous coming to earth as a babe, is another story that always evokes memories for each of us as we encounter the living Christ in our lives. We are reminded of His humility and sacrifice in coming for us, leaving the grandeur and power of heaven for our sake. It is a sacrifice that imprints itself into the heart of every believer and helps us relive and rejoice each Advent season. Jesus is the reason for this season of the year and what joy He brings to our lives.
I pray that as we journey through this Christmas story of Jesus’ birth and as we experience the many people both earthly and heavenly: that we will be impacted by His coming in a new and fresh way, that we will focus in on the emotions and feeling this story evokes and that each story part will lead us into a deeper understanding of God. May we see God’s hand in each person and circumstance. May it lead us to realize that God is with us and in our lives just as He was that first Christmas.
I’m looking for the joy of the season. This year my verse was Habakkuk 3:18 “yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” and Nehemiah 8:10b “for thejoyoftheLord is your strength.”
Be strong, be filled and Be joyful this season! Jesus is reason enough for JOY!
My journey though the Christmas scriptures has brought me to Christmas Eve with a humble and open heart. I know I did not get to the Wise men yet, but they truly did not arrive until about 2 years after Jesus’ birth and provided monies for Joseph and Mary when they fled to Egypt. I’ll continue with their part in the story next week. However, the journey thus far has given me renewed hope in the Sovereignty of God. He was then and is now in control of all things. God has a plan which is to bring as many people to himself as are willing to come. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” All the details before, during and after the birth of Jesus shout of His sovereign power to bring about the impossible.
This Christmas Eve, meditate on the delivery of all mankind from the power of sin and the freedom revealed in Jesus’ birth. Power over sin-Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Freedom- 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Lastly, take time to rejoice in the Savior. He is worthy of all our praises and brings joy for you and me. Romans 5:11 “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”
Have a blessed day remembering how God led us in the journey, delivered His promises and provided unending joy for all mankind through the birth of His Son.
Today is the lighting of the third candle in the Advent wreath. It is called the Shepherd’s candle and represents joy. During the lighting the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds announcing the birth of the Christ child and where He could be found is told. Joy is contagious and once the arrival of the Messiah was proclaimed the shepherds wanted to find the child and worship Him. May you feel that same joy today and may it draw you closer to the Savior.
This next week we will be diving deep into Zechariah’s Song of praise after being muted for 9+ months, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the angel proclamation to the shepherds. Here are some words of JOY for today as we worship.
Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Luke 2:10 “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Romans 10:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
May we be filled with the joy of the Lord today as we continue to anticipate the coming of the Christ child who brought freedom from bondage to sin through His life, death and resurrection.
In Psalm 22 David wrote words that described the coming Messiah’s work and anguish while here on earth. When he took the sins of the world upon himself Jesus cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far for the words of my groaning?” (verse 1) The Psalmist describes Jesus’ conditions on the cross, “they have pierced my hands and my feet.” (16b) “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (18) These visions of Messiah and what awaited him were given to David. By reading them, we can see proof that Jesus fulfilled each and every prophecy made about him and be assured that He is from God. We catch a glimpse into the Omniscience and Sovereignty of God.
This advent season I will be blogging each day using prophecies about Messiah and His coming as highlighted in Handel’s Messiah. He turned the words of Charles Jennens, his librettist, who created the story from Old and New Testament passages into glorious song. Handel wrote the Messiah in about 3 weeks in the late summer of 1741. His divine inspiration has humbled and inspired audiences ever since. Recently, I got a copy of a handbill that is given out when one attends the Messiah. It contains all the scriptures that the ‘story’ is based upon and their references. Each time someone attends a performance of the Messiah, they are presented with these scriptures in both writing and song. Praise God! He has used Handel and his work ‘The Messiah’ to tell his story to the world since 1741 in this unique way.
Join me in a journey this Advent Season through the ‘Messiah’ to catch a glimpse of our Savior and His mighty works.