Advent Musings Series: Let’s unpack HOPE, LOVE, JOY, and PEACE this 2020 Christmas! Come and ponder with me these unchanging truths in a chaotic world. If you have young children, I think you will enjoy the activity provided at the end of each advent musing—a way to celebrate with them God’s timeless promises. Advent defined: The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event; appearance, emergence, dawn, birth; the coming or second coming of Christ. As we remember His first coming with awe, let’s hold hands together figuratively as we yearn for that time when He comes again and makes all things right.
With hope, love, joy, and peace, Sharon
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. —1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV (emphasis mine)
The look on my son-in-law’s face as he watched our daughter walk down the aisle toward him is forever etched in my mind. My head was like a swivel between the bride and the groom. My eyes flowed with tears as our girl and her daddy, my own dear husband, walked toward this man whose love and eagerness shone in his eyes. Right before the ceremony began, an usher had whispered to me, “Don’t miss this by thinking about the reception. Be all there, Mrs. Gamble, and enjoy.” I took his advice, and because I did, I can still “see” that marvelous moment of joy in my mind’s eye.
The Bible tells us that we are the bride of Christ! He has saved us and will one day dwell with us. His love for us is like a bridegroom for his bride. Even the marvelous joy I experienced at our daughter’s wedding won’t compare to the joy we will know when Christ claims us, His bride, the church! Hear these words from Ephesians 5:25-27: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle, or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (NIV).
The joy that is ours at Christmas comes from knowing that we are beloved, wanted, cherished by the Lord Jesus. He loved us so much He died for us and took all our ugly sin on Himself. The joy is in knowing that we are cleansed and washed clean from all the stains, wrinkles, and blemishes our own foolish choices have created. Our future is one of “inexpressible joy” when we reach the place prepared for us by the One who loves us like a bridegroom. No matter how hard life may be at the present moment, advent reminds us of the beautiful future in store for us—all because of Jesus, the One whose birth we remember at this time of year. The One who came and is coming again to take us to Himself.
Adore: Dear Lord, how amazing it is that You love and cherish me so dearly that You made a way for me to be Yours forever. Thank You for cleansing me and removing every stain, every wrinkle, every blemish. Thank You for a righteousness purchased with Your very life that makes me whole and pure and without shame or condemnation. That You would call me Your bride! That You would love me that deeply ... fills me with joy. Thank You, Lord. In Your Precious Name, Amen.
Ask: Dear Father God, as Christmas draws near and the days are packed full of activities and duties, please help me to remember Your love and bask in joy. Show me how I can take time out to reflect on the wonder of all You have done to pursue me and make me Your own. I love You, Lord. Amen.
Act: Dear Lord, when a loved one wants my attention, when I see a need of one who is hurting, please remind me and nudge me to bless them with attention and love. Help me to be a source of Your joy in another’s life this week. In Jesus’ Name and for His sake, Amen.
Activities for Children: Light the first advent candle and remind your children that our hope in Jesus is sure. Light the second candle and remind your children that Jesus loves them, and we are to love others. Light the third candle and tell them that Jesus came to earth, and because He loves us, He fills us with joy—and we are going to celebrate that! Gather noisemakers. This can be as simple as pots and pans and wooden spoons. If you want a slightly softer “loud,” choose plastic containers and spoons. Read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible or from a children’s storybook. Every time something exciting happens, have your children bang on their noisemakers and shout, “joy to the world!” For example, when Mary learns she is going to be the mother of Jesus (joy to the world!) ... Joseph and Mary make it to Bethlehem and find a place for the baby to be born (joy to the world!) ... the shepherds in the field hear the angels’ news (joy to the world!) ... the shepherds find the baby Jesus (joy to the world!) ... the wise men visit the baby and give him presents (joy to the world!).
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
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