Advent: The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event; appearance, emergence, dawn, birth; the coming or second coming of Christ
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Advent Musing: “But he told me he loved me,” she wept, broken by his betrayal. Precious friend, his mouth may have said the words, “I love you,” but his actions told the truth, didn’t they? God did not only speak words of love, God showed his love among us by sending His only Son into our world. He didn’t come in strength and glory. He came as an infant, totally unable to even feed himself, let alone defend himself. He came vulnerable, small, and weak. He entrusted Himself to the care of a poor carpenter and (probably) a teenage girl. He grew up slowly, like we do. He learned to walk and talk. He studied the Scriptures and discussed them. He stayed home longer than men in our culture do. He was hidden and unknown, tucked away in a small village living a simple life throughout his twenties.
When He was in His prime, a strong man of thirty, He stepped onto the public path marked out for Him. He spent Himself generously for three years teaching, healing, feeding, and touching those around Him. Sometimes the crowds were so massive that He and His disciples didn’t even have time to eat. Sometimes when He tried to get away to a remote destination, people followed Him. He lost His beloved cousin John. He wept when his friend Lazarus died, despite the resurrection right around the corner. He felt what we felt, including loneliness and betrayal.
Finally, after asking God if there could be any other way, He laid down His life in an agonizing death. He took the punishment that was due us and conquered death itself so that we might live with Him, purified and whole, forever. He didn’t mouth platitudes. He showed his love among us. Rejoice! You are deeply loved.
Adore: Oh, God of Heaven and Earth, how we praise You! Thank You for showing love undeniably and unmistakably by coming to earth and living and dying and rising again ... for us, despite our unworthiness. We marvel at Your plan. We are humbled that You, who placed every star just where You wanted, would distill Yourself into a helpless baby and live among us. Thank You for showing us what Love is. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ask: Please, Lord, help me to fully appreciate and trust in Your love for me. Forgive me when my own disgust at my failings gets in the way of believing the truth that You love me—even though I am broken and messed up. Thank You that Your love for me doesn’t depend on my performance, but on Your promises and on Your unwavering character. May I have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for me!* And help me to love You more and more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Act: Father, please give me discernment to see the lonely ones, the hopeless ones, who need Your touch. Make me a vessel of Your love, dear Lord. In Jesus’ Name, help me to love someone through You, today. Amen.
Activity for Children: Light the first advent candle and remind your children of the sure hope there is in Jesus. Then, light the second candle and tell them how much Jesus loves them. Explain that He showed His love in many ways. Even when He was beyond tired, He still healed people who were sick. When He noticed people were hungry, He made food for them. When He had hoped for quiet time alone, but people needed Him, He got up and helped them. When we needed to be punished for being bad, Jesus said, “Punish me instead.” Share the story of His death and resurrection in an age-appropriate way. Talk about ways your family could show love to each other: helping a sibling pick up toys, setting the table for Mom, going to bed without grumbling, sharing a toy, etc. Then, help your children cut out paper hearts. Keep them simple and call them “Christmas love hearts.” Have envelopes available and ask each child to place 5 hearts into his or her envelope. Tell them that each time they show love to someone, to also give that person one of their hearts. When everyone has given away all their Christmas love hearts, have a celebration! Perhaps watch a Christmas movie together or pop popcorn and play a favorite game. You decide what would be fun for your family. Celebrate showing love as a reminder of how God showed His love for us.
* Ephesians 3:18
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)