Advent 2020

While getting ready for Christmas and Advent this year, I was looking to see if I had an Advent Devotional that began on November 29th and found I did. Below is the introduction to it that I wrote 22 years ago. Even though it was written so long ago, I found that it was still relevant today, so I decided to share it as is. I hope you find it as relevant as I did. If you’d like a copy of the full devotional, you can download it here:

Merry Christmas!

As Christmas approaches, we are reminded in many ways that it is almost the end of the Millennium. 1999 and then 2000. Many people wonder if this will be the end – the time for the return of Christ. Books are filling the shelves about prophecies and end times. What does the future hold? Will we be ready?

Over this past year I have been reminded in many ways that life is uncertain. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer early this year and has had surgery a few times. The doctors are unsure of what lies ahead for him. My husband was riding his bike early one Saturday morning, a car came up behind him, misjudged and my husband ended up in the Trauma Critical Care Unit at CMC. The doctors didn’t know for two weeks if he would even live and if he did what kind of permanent injuries he ‘d have. A good friend’s sister was diagnosed with cancer last Christmas, within six weeks, she was dead. A young boy, running on the track team, steps off the curb, a car hits him, he dies. The future is uncertain. No one knows what tomorrow holds; no one even knows what the next moment holds. People are worrying if the end will come in a year; for any of us, it may come much sooner.

Many of you may be wondering why I started this with “Merry Christmas. “ It doesn’t sound too Merry so far, but if the truth be known Christmas is far more than ‘merry.’

As I sat in the waiting room at CMC, wondering if my husband would live or die, I knew peace. I knew the peace that comes from knowing your loved one is eternally secure. I knew the peace that comes from knowing your loved one’s faith rested in Jesus Christ his Lord. I knew that whether my husband lived or died he was in his Savior’s hands and that gave me peace.

When I say Merry Christmas, it is because I know why we celebrate. I know that it is not whether I feel happy at this moment or not that counts. I know that we celebrate the greatest gift of all time – Jesus Christ. I know that He – Jesus – was born to come and seek the lost, that He was born to walk among His sheep and call them back to the fold; that He was born to reconcile man to his Creator, that He was born to die and be resurrected so that we might live with Him eternally. I know the truth of Christmas and, in knowing, I have faith, a wonderful gift from God, and with that faith I have the assurance that in both the good and the bad God is with me, for me, and preparing a room for me in His mansion that I may spend eternity glorifying His name.

This Christmas accept the greatest gift ever offered and know that even though life is often full of sorrows, you walk hand and hand with the King Eternal – Jesus Christ.

My prayer is that this study will be used to open eyes to the greatest truth of all time – a baby born in Bethlehem, lived a sinless life, worked miracles, claimed to be the Son of God – the Messiah, was crucified dead and buried and on the third day He rose from the dead, paying the penalty for our sins, bearing the weight of our transgressions, so that we may have life everlasting. This is the truth that sets us free. It doesn’t promise riches, it doesn’t promise fame, it doesn’t promise a problem free life, but what it does promise is reconciliation with God and life everlasting.

The Bible teaches that if we seek we will find, so I encourage you seek with all your heart, pray for faith, and accept the greatest gift ever offered and have a very Merry Christmas.

December 1998 Family visiting hospital

Advent 2018

And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:12 ESV

Once again the Advent Season is upon us. Advent is a great time to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas.

 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24

In the 8th chapter of Nehemiah, we read about how Ezra comes before the people to read from the book, from the Law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Not only did Ezra read, others taught so that the people would understand what was read.

Snow covered fence and church

To truly celebrate Christmas, we need to understand what it is all about.

Several years ago, I put together an Advent Booklet in the hope that it would help people prepare to celebrate Christmas in all its fullness and glory. If you’re looking for an Advent Devotional for this Christmas season, here’s a PDF version, Daily Scripture Readings for Advent, or you can get the epub version here:

Hoping everyone has a joyous Holiday Season celebrating the birth of our Savior! Merry Christmas!

Happy Advent

Happy Advent!

Many of us are getting ready for Christmas, decorating, shopping, baking, mailing out cards and gifts. Christmas has come to have a variety of meanings. To some it’s a special day to get together with family and friends, to some it’s a stressful time bringing up memories of bad relationships, to some it’s one of the loneliest times of the year, for others it’s a great opportunity to throw a party.

Old Family Christmas Photo

Some think of Santa and the magical times of childhood wonder. To others Santa’s a great way to make children behave. I actually heard a store clerk the other day telling a small toddler that had been crying that Santa didn’t like bad boys, didn’t bring gifts to them. And then we have the ever-popular elf on a shelf, always watching to make sure you’re behaving so Santa will know.

Some spend the holidays searching for the ‘perfect’ gift for their loved ones, for their family and for friends. Some enjoy the crowds, the music, the festivities, the holiday cheer that abounds all around. While others bemoan the lines, the crowds, the spending, the avarice and greed.

But to some of us, Christmas is more…

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

To some of us Christmas is so much more…

In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to celebrate certain feast as times of remembrance of the things He had done for them. To a Christian, Christmas is one of those times to remember.

During the Christmas season, during Advent, we remember God’s promises, we remember the prophecies found in the Old Testament telling of the coming Messiah, the coming Savior. We remember Mary and Joseph; we remember Bethlehem and the Baby born there in the manger; we remember the Angels proclaiming to the Shepherds the good news, the birth of our Savior.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” ~ Luke 2:10 & 11

May Christmas be so much more to you!

Daily scripture reading for Advent