Sunday, December 13
To begin, light the first, second and third Advent candle which symbolizes joy. If desired, play the Advent Contemplative Playlist during your devotional time.
Lasting joy has met the grace of God in unexpected ways.
Open your Bible, and read the following Scriptures in tandem:
–Genesis 18:1-15 & Genesis 21:1-7
–Luke 1:26-38 & Luke 1:46-56
Many times joy arrives in ways we cannot anticipate–far exceeding what our human imaginations could have hoped for. In these stories, we can see Sarah’s joy for promises fulfilled in her old age ring together with the young Mary’s song of praise. One woman the mother of a nation, the second a young virgin girl who would give birth to the Savior of the world. Both parties being recipients of the miraculous joy that God uses to bring forth blessing and salvation to the whole world (Gen. 22:18).
Joy is the work of God planting promise & fulfillment in the hearts of His people. All joy and blessing pointed to the arrival of Jesus. What indescribable joy it is for us to know that God demonstrated His love for humanity by sending His Son! What unrivaled joy we have today to know that same love that sent Christ from the cradle, to the mount, and the cross is shaping us today. What joy we have to know that even in our present moment, that the same Spirit that born and raised Jesus, dwells within us to guide us in all truth. How much more than is the incomparable joy to come?
- What strikes you about Sarah and Mary’s stories of encountering the promises of God, and their ending joyful response to plans of the Lord?
- How is Jesus inviting you into a posture of joy?
Resting in the presence:
- Take 5 minutes or so to sit in the presence of God while reflecting on this theme of joy. Sit in a silent posture and ask the Holy Spirit to guide to a posture of joy.
- If you are finding it difficult to stay focused, read and pray through Psalm 30:11-12.
Daily Devotional for Week 3
Advent is a season of repentance and preparation as we grapple with our need for God’s intervention and God’s call to address injustice in the world. The focus of this third week of advent is joy.
Listening Prayer » Take a few minutes to allow your whole self to be heard from God, and in return allowing your hearts to be opened to the whole being of God.
Scripture Reading » See daily readings below.
Watching Prayer » Take a few minutes to engage in prayer centered around letting God lead the conversation visually and speaking to and around what we see as we commune with him.
Closing Prayer » Jesus, help us focus on you during this busy season. May we stay aware of the joy you bring into our lives. We want to find you in the everyday moments and come with hearts of gratitude to your manger on Christmas. Amen.
“One of our biggest problems as Christians is that we want the miracle without the love. We want to see the kind of healing Jesus brought, but we don’t want to learn Jesus’ way of loving broken people.” – John Perkins
Scripture Reading » Psalm 125, 1 Kings 18:1-18
“A Christian community is therefore a healing community not because wounds are cured and pains are alleviated, but because wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision.” – Henri Nouwen
Scripture Reading » Psalm 125, 2 Kings 2:9-22
“Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. she gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the christ risen.” – Mother Teresa
“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth
Scripture Reading » Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26, 2 Samuel 6:1-11
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Scripture Reading » Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26, 2 Samuel 6:12-19
“Joy came always after pain.” – Guillaume Apollinaire
Scripture Reading » Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26, Judges 13:2-24