Advent 2019

This Christmas season we’ll be joining together as a church for a daily devotional to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of Jesus’ birth and what that means for each us. We’ll begin on Sunday, December 1st, so be sure to get your copy of ‘Joy To The World’ at the Connecter Center (one per family) and follow along with us here and on Facebook.

If you were unable to get a hard copy of the book please follow along with this older version. Daily titles may be different but the daily reading is similar to this year’s.

Day 1: “Prepare the Way”

“Advent is for Adoring Jesus: It’s a season of preparation for that special day when we mark Immanuel’s arrival -the coming of our eternal God in frail, human flesh. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared- I mean, spiritually unprepared. It’s joy and impact will be so much greater if you are ready!” ~Joy to the World

In today’s Advent reading we are given 4 ways that we can prepare our hearts this Christmas season. We pray that your heart is encouraged and open to the love of God as we take time to prepare our hearts to receive our King.

Day 2: “Mary’s Magnificent God”

God’s ways are so different than our own. The people He chooses are typically not the ones we would choose.  Today we read about Mary & Elizabeth. They were both unknown, humble, every day women that God specifically picked to be a part of changing all of history. Ask God what you can learn today from their humility and willingness to walk the path that He had for them.

Day 3: “The Long Awaited Visitation”

A promised act of God is as good as done. He doesn’t do things in our timing, or even in the way we would expect it, but He is always faithful to His Promises. If God has said that He would do something in His word, you can always rest in the fact that He will come through in His perfect timing.

Day 4: “ For God’s Ordinary People”

If you have ever felt ordinary and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, know that the God of the universe sees you. “For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s ordinary people- the ordinary Mary and the ordinary Joseph who have to be moved from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.”

Day 5: “No Detour From Calvary”

Every step of Jesus’ life on earth is filled with God’s purpose. Starting with his birth and the very first place Jesus laid his head was in an animal’s feeding trough. From day one, God came down into the lowest and most humble places of humanity to meet us where we were at.  God could have seen to it that there was a room available in Bethlehem, but this marked the beginning of a life that was lived to serve and be poured out for all of humanity.

Day 6: “Peace to those with Whom He’s Pleased”

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. “ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Luke 2:12-14

Day 7: “ Messiah for the Magi”

Christmas is all about the good news for everyone! Jesus is the King and Promise-Fulfiller for all the nations. God shows us through the story of the Magi that He sent a Savior for the whole world, not just His chosen people, Israel.

Day 8: “Bethlehem’s Supernatural Star”

We want so badly to be able to explain everything to the natural, human mind. Sometimes we forget that we serve the supernatural God. Although He uses nature and natural things to accomplish His plans (as we read last week in Luke when he brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem through a mandatory, government census), His ways are also supernatural. The star that led the magi to Bethlehem is one of the wonders of the Christmas story. Let it sink in today, that He is the God of our hearts, and the God of ALL creation, even the stars!

Day 9: “Two Kinds of Opposition to Jesus”

Todays reading is one that we should not quickly pass over, but it is so important for us to stop and ask the Lord to search our own hearts. Today, let’s ask God to reveal any indifference in our heart that we may have towards Christ and worshipping Him. Secondly, let’s ask Him if we have any hostility towards Him and His ways. Whatever it may be, God is waiting with open arms to embrace us in our journey, He gives mercy and grace when we repent and turn from those ways. He then gives us a heart that is willing to walk in step with Him.

Day 10: “ Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh”

“The Magi’s gifts were intensifiers of desire for Christ in much the same way fasting is for us. When you give this type of gift to Christ, it’s a way of saying, “the joy that I pursue is not the hope of getting rich with things from you. I have not come to you for what you might give me, but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify and demonstrate by giving up these things in the hope of enjoying you more and enjoying things less. By giving you what you do not need, and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, “you are my treasure, not these things.”

Day 11: Why Jesus Came

Today’s reading gives a beautiful picture of why Jesus had to come for us. It closes with the words “We are free from the fear of death because God has justified us.” Take time to contemplate all that Christ did for you in his birth, life and especially his death and resurrection.

Day 12: Replacing the Shadows

God himself gave instructions for the earthly temple to be built in the Old Testament. This was a natural representation and a shadow of the true and real sanctuary of God (which exists in heavenly places). Hebrews 8:2 says that there is a true tent that God dwells in, made by His own hands, not mans’ hands. Jesus came that we would walk with God himself, not just a shadow of who He is.

Day 13: The Final Reality is Here

I love the glimpse we get into what Jesus Christ himself is actively doing right now in Heaven on our behalf. He came, lived this life, died, rose again, and now Hebrews tells us that He is our High Priest. He is seated at the right hand of God, and he represents us, you and me individually, before God himself! We don’t have to go to a priest to have access to God, as the Israelites had to do in the Old Testament. We now have a direct connection with Him because of Jesus.

Day 14: Making it Real for His People

“God does not lay His Christmas gift of salvation and transformation down for you to pick up in your own strength; he picks it up and puts it in your heart and in your mind, and seals to you that you are a child of God.”

Day 15: Life and Death at Christmas
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” -John 10:10
Day 16: God’s Most Successful Setback
“God has always delighted to show His power through apparent defeat. He makes tactical retreats in order to win strategic victories.”
Day 17: The Greatest Salvation Imaginable
The entire Old Testament foreshadows Jesus. God promised in Jeremiah that one day he would do something new; He would replace the shadows with the reality of the Messiah! Our reading today gives us a beautiful picture of this divine rescue plan!
Day 18: The Christmas Model for Missions
Jesus is our ultimate example of a life lived on mission. Today, let’s ask God to help us increase our faith and trust in Him so that our lives never drift from our true mission here on earth.
Day 19: Christmas is for Freedom
“Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city.”
Day 20: Christmas Solidarity
Christmas brings treasured memories, family time, and amazing traditions. In the midst of enjoying all of these moments, let us rejoice in the reality that Christmas is one of the most powerful moves of God on our behalf against the enemy of our souls. Christmas is a time to rejoice because we are reminded that our King is actively fighting for us!
Day 21: The Birth of the Ancient of Days
“The uniqueness of the birth of Christ is that he did not originate at his birth. He existed before he was born in a manger. His birth was not a coming into being of a new person, but a coming into the world of an infinitely old person.”

Day 22: That You May Believe

“These things are written that you might believe – really believe -that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world.”

Day 23: God’s Indescribable Gift

“Look to Jesus this Christmas. Receive the reconciliation that he bought. Don’t put it on the shelf unopened. And don’t open it and then make it a means to all your other pleasures. Open it and enjoy the gift himself. Exult in Him. Make Him your pleasure, make him your treasure.”

Day 24: The Son of God Appeared

Let’s take time today to contemplate what Christ’s appearance means in our every day walk with Him. He took on the punishment for our sin and became the only way to God. In what ways do we need to surrender and let go of the sin that so easily entangles us? He is merciful, strong, loving and kind, and He promises to never leave or forsake us. He will take our hand and walk us out of anything, any situation, any sin, that we place in His hands.

Day 25: Three Christmas Presents

Take a few minutes today to ponder all that we have to take hold of in Christ. He’s given you three amazing, powerful gifts. Let us set our hearts on Him today. Rejoice, be grateful, and let us adore our Savior that came over 2000 years ago, and will come again to redeem everyone that believes on His name.