Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The First Sunday of Advent

This is being posted after the fact but I wanted to include it during the Advent season. Every year during Advent we use a "hanging" Advent wreath that my father built. A number of years ago I wrote a series of "candle lighting" devotionals for each of the candles on the wreath. I now use it every year - sometimes with different Scriptures and with different aspects to the action points. It has become very meaningful to me and really helps me get my heart right before Christmas. I will post the second in the series later this week and the third on Sunday and fourth as well and we go through December.

The First Sunday of Advent

Keyword: Light
Theme: Preparation
Action: Repentance

Advent means “a coming” or “an arrival.” It refers most often to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ (i.e. the Advent of our Lord). In the church calendar, it is the start of the liturgical year. Originally it was a type of “Lent” before Christmas, a time to prepare the heart for the coming of the Lord. However it emphasized a joy-filled hope in the coming of the Lord.

The theme of this first Advent is preparation.
We must prepare our hearts because a great light has come into the world that will reveal all darkness. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light!” Isaiah 9:2
Come back Lord! Judge us for even your judgment is mercy.
Break the terrible hold that evil has on the world and on us.
We eagerly anticipate Emmanuel - God dwelling among us. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 Our preparation must include spiritual disciplines to line up our lives with the One who came to earth in humility.

The Keyword is Light
Let Your light shine into our darkness! The light shone into the darkness and the darkness could not comprehend it or overcome it.
John 1:5

Our Action is Repentance.
If the light reveals any darkness in us we need to confess and repent, receive cleansing and forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Isaiah 11:1-5
John 1:1-14

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light (Romans 13:12) now in the time of this mortal life. It was in mortal form that Your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility: so that on the last day, when He shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise with Him to the life immortal, through Him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Open our blind eyes, Lord! Shine Your light into our darkness! Break the terrible hold that evil has had on the world by stirring up your people to repentance, holiness and right living. May we remember you this Advent season and place you at the centre of all our activities and desires. In the name of Jesus our Emmanuel. Amen.

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