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Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

Advent Calendar: Say Yes

Luke 1:26-38               (Common English Bible)

When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” 29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. 36 Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. 37 Nothing is impossible for God.” 38 Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

 

A friend of mine loves to share an exercise with this passage. Go read verse 38. How does Mary sound? Is she Mary, meek and mild? Now think about the fact that she’s a teenage girl. How do they talk to authority figures? Is she sarcastic or humble? Excited, frightened, or bored? We often hear Scripture in one particular voice and forget that these are real people with lives and emotions.

Regardless of how Mary responds to Gabriel, the miracle of the story is that she says yes. Her willingness to partner with God changes the world forever. How is God speaking to you this Advent? It may be through quieter means than an angel visit, but God still speaks. In what new thing is God seeking your participation? Are you prepared to say yes?

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

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Advent Calendar: Feel Energy

Isaiah 40:28-31                        (Common English Bible)

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.

He doesn’t grow tired or weary.

His understanding is beyond human reach,

29     giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted.

30 Youths will become tired and weary, young men will certainly stumble;

31     but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength;

they will fly up on wings like eagles;

they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.

I always feel like I’m running out of energy during the holiday season. Between all the shopping, parties, and extra planning, there never seem to be enough hours in my days. And I know I’m not the only one, because it’s so common to hear people talk about how tired or frazzled they are.

On top of all that, this has been a dark Advent. It’s hard to be excited knowing how many people are scared and suffering. In the midst of all that darkness, Isaiah reminds us that God tirelessly works for justice and offers hope. Isaiah promises that God never grows weary. As we look towards the promise of light and joy at Christmas, we find renewed energy to continuing shining our own light in the world.

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

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Advent Calendar: Come and See

John 1:35-42                (Common English Bible)

The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher), where are you staying?” 39 He replied, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

40 One of the two disciples who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Christ ). 42 He led him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

 

“Come and see.” Jesus gives this simple invitation to these disciples of John who are want to know more about his ministry. The gospel writer shares how that invitation leads Peter, one of leaders of the early church, to meet Jesus. From John to Andrew to Peter, a simple invitation changed the world.

I sometimes forget the power of personal invitations. We don’t have to have all the answers. A simple invitation to come see what God is doing can make all the difference. Who are you inviting this Advent to “come and see?”

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

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Advent Calendar: Sing Out Loud

Psalm 98                      (Common English Bible)

Sing to the Lord a new song because he has done wonderful things!

His own strong hand and his own holy arm have won the victory!

2 The Lord has made his salvation widely known;

he has revealed his righteousness in the eyes of all the nations.

3 God has remembered his loyal love and faithfulness to the house of Israel;

every corner of the earth has seen our God’s salvation.

4 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth!

Be happy! Rejoice out loud! Sing your praises!

5 Sing your praises to the Lord with the lyre—

with the lyre and the sound of music.

6 With trumpets and a horn blast,

shout triumphantly before the Lord, the king!

7 Let the sea and everything in it roar;

the world and all its inhabitants too.

8 Let all the rivers clap their hands;

let the mountains rejoice out loud altogether 9 before the Lord

because he is coming to establish justice on the earth!

He will establish justice in the world rightly;

he will establish justice among all people fairly.

 

Advent is a season of music. From carols to cantatas, we sing our way to Christmas. Psalm 98 invites us to see our praise as music. All of creation joins in the song to worship God, because God is doing a great thing in Advent. It doesn’t matter if we’re classically trained or can’t carry a tune in a bucket; how we live our lives with gratitude and joy praises God.

What’s your favorite carol or song of the season? How is your life joining in this song of creation? How are you singing out this Advent?

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

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Advent Calendar: Do Something New

2 Corinthians 5:16-17                        (Common English Bible)

So then, from this point on we won’t recognize people by human standards. Even though we used to know Christ by human standards, that isn’t how we know him now. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!

 

The story of Advent is God doing something new in the world: coming to us in the person of Jesus Christ. God does this new thing in order to do something new in us. Jesus comes that we might become something new, a new creation. How are you being part of God’s new creation this Advent? What new thing is God working in your life?

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

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Advent Calendar: Share Abundantly

John 10:10                   (New Revised Standard Version)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

This is one of my absolute favorite verses. Jesus comes for abundant life, which is a promise not only for the future but also for today. God’s abundant life brings hope and healing to us today. The promise of Advent is a birth, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the birth of a Savior. It’s the birth of one who comes to offer us abundant life.

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

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Luke 1:1-20                 (Common English Bible)

Many people have already applied themselves to the task of compiling an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used what the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed down to us. 3 Now, after having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, I have also decided to write a carefully ordered account for you, most honorable Theophilus. 4 I want you to have confidence in the soundness of the instruction you have received.

5 During the rule of King Herod of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron. 6 They were both righteous before God, blameless in their observance of all the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to become pregnant and they both were very old. 8 One day Zechariah was serving as a priest before God because his priestly division was on duty. 9 Following the customs of priestly service, he was chosen by lottery to go into the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense. 10 All the people who gathered to worship were praying outside during this hour of incense offering. 11 An angel from the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw the angel, he was startled and overcome with fear.

13 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah. Your prayers have been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to your son and you must name him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many people will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the Lord’s eyes. He must not drink wine and liquor. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth. 16 He will bring many Israelites back to the Lord their God. 17 He will go forth before the Lord, equipped with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and he will turn the disobedient to righteous patterns of thinking. He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? My wife and I are very old.”

19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in God’s presence. I was sent to speak to you and to bring this good news to you. 20 Know this: What I have spoken will come true at the proper time. But because you didn’t believe, you will remain silent, unable to speak until the day when these things happen.”

 

I don’t think we tell people enough that encountering the divine is risky; you might leave different than you approached. Zechariah would have known this as a priest, but he still gets a first-hand lesson. Even though Zechariah is incredulous about the angel’s announcement, he does listen. Later in Luke 1, he will share the angel’s words with his newborn son.

Advent is full of these pronouncements about what God is doing in the world. It’s exciting, sometimes terrifying, and always new. People never leave the same, but the end result is always good. What is God speaking to you during this season? How are you preparing to respond?

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

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