Join With Us as We Watch For the Light Together This Advent

Watch for the light. (Daily Scripture Readings)

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep…Then God said, ‘Let there be light.’”  (Gen. 1: 1-3). When God enters our lives, there is light. When God enters into our world to camp with us, God comes as light. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1: 1-5)

As we begin this Advent season together, may we again see the wonder of the light and life of God entering and making our lives new. With the distractions of consumerism, may we pause with anticipation and be guided by the brightest star. May we together, help nurture and strengthen one another. 

December 1 is the beginning of a New Year in our Christian calendar. I would like us to try something new this blessed New Year. As the Word that was in the beginning is Jesus Christ, and the Word is our living Scripture, I would like us to enter into the Word together every day of this month in the anticipation of seeing Christmas again through the eyes of our children. In our busy lives, this pause will help ground us with the fullness of why we celebrate Christmas. 

Parents, I have been intentional in selecting Bible verses that help build from the prophecy to the birth of Jesus. One of the greatest gifts we can share with our children is a love of reading our Scripture. Pick the time that works best for your family. We will choose to do this each night at bedtime. If you think of a Christmas Carol that goes well with the song, or a story, may we share the true gift of Christmas of a great light. Also, we will be regularly blogging and sharing thoughts on these readings on our website throughout Advent. Please join in and share in the conversation at www.spiritoflifeav.org.

Daily Readings:

1-Dec

Isaiah 2: 1-5

Nurture

2-Dec

Isaiah 7: 13-14

Sign of Emmanuel

3-Dec

Isaiah 9: 1-7

A coming king.

4-Dec

Isaiah 11: 1-3, 6-9

A peaceful kingdom.

5-Dec

Isaiah 25: 6-9

Passionate waiting.

6-Dec

Isaiah 35: 1-10

Prepare for God’s reign.

7-Dec

Isaiah 49: 1-2

You are God’s beloved child.

8-Dec

Jeremiah 1: 4-5

“Before I formed you—I knew you.”

9-Dec

Psalm 139

You are beautiful.

10-Dec

Isaiah 60: 1-5

Your light has come.

11-Dec

Luke 1: 5-25

Song of Zechariah

12-Dec

Luke 1: 26-38

Angel comes to Mary

13-Dec

Luke 1: 39-56

Mary shares good news

14-Dec

Luke 1: 57-66

Prepare the way of the Lord.

15-Dec

Isaiah 40: 1-5

(Prepare the way)

16-Dec

Luke 1: 67-80

Song of Zechariah

17-Dec

Matthew 1: 18-24

Angel tells Joseph

18-Dec

Luke 2: 1-5

Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem

19-Dec

John 1: 1-9

Light shines in the darkness

20-Dec

John 8: 12

Light of the world

21-Dec

Isaiah 42: 1-9

A light to the nations.

22-Dec

Micah 5: 2-5a

Prophecy of one of peace

23-Dec

Zechariah 9: 9-17

The coming ruler.

24-Dec

Luke 2: 6-20

Jesus is Born

25-Dec

Luke 2: 21-38 and Luke 1: 31-32

Emmanuel

26-Dec

Matthew 2: 1-12

Wise men follow a star.

27-Dec

Matthew 2: 13-23 and Luke 2: 39-40

Herod becomes angry

28-Dec

1 John 3: 1-3

Children of God

29-Dec

1 John 4: 9 and John 3: 17

Why did Jesus come?

30-Dec

1 Peter 2: 2-3

Spiritual Milk

31-Dec

Colossians 3: 16-17

New Life.

 

Merry Christmas, Pastor Rob

Immanuel

Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying,  Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.  But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.  Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

 

Where do we find hope?  Do we find hope in the might of our armies, our defense–our ability to stand stronger than the other?  Yahweh intervenes and offers another way.  God offers instead faith and hope through another intervention–Immanuel.  Immanuel means God with us. In this time of waiting, may we be so thankful at this promise and the miracle of how God has been working from the beginning for the purpose of restoring a relationship.

Walk in the Light

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
 
       In days to come
        the mountain of the LORD’S house
    shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
        and shall be raised above the hills;
    all the nations shall stream to it.
        Many peoples shall come and say,
    “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
        to the house of the God of Jacob;
    that he may teach us his ways
        and that we may walk in his paths.”
    For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
        and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
    He shall judge between the nations,
        and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
    they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
        and their spears into pruning hooks;
    nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
        neither shall they learn war any more.
 
       O house of Jacob,
        come, let us walk
        in the light of the LORD! (Isaiah 2: 1-5)

Day 1 in our Advent journey together.  What a great place to begin.  Many scholars believe this to be the original beginning of Isaiah–Chapter One is therefore a later submission–a prequel.  I think of the whole of Isaiah as three books: 1. Warnings; 2. Exile; 3. Restoration.  In our opening today, the people trusted in themselves.  God is distant.  But for God, we are held close.  God is judge is righteous.  My favorite definition for righteousness in most of Scripture is ‘restorative justice.’  Justice is not about casting out, or for the sake of retribution.  But our righteous God cares about relationships.  God cares about us.

God cares enough that the highest points are not our own successes, but it is our connectedness to God and one another.  God’s purpose is for all nations to follow in this path; “…all nations shall stream to it.”  God’s judgment shall arbitrate for many.

What is restorative justice, and this high place?  It is a place where we beat our swords into plowshares.  It is a place of hope.  A place where instead of stand-your-ground laws, we get our hands dirty caring for one another.  Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.  Amen