I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend and most of us can attest to how getting back to a normal routine after a holiday break can make us feel: ironically, if we are to admit it, it’s not all that thankful. It’s perhaps complaining of fatigue or simply the day to day reality that now awaits. But let me encourage you to maintain that thankful disposition we focused on last week.
December 1st is the start of Advent Season for the Believer. Advent is the anticipation and expectation of waiting for Our Savior Jesus Christ to be born as we celebrate Christmas. Now, for most of the world waiting for Christmas, it’s often consumed with the thought of buying gifts and celebrating the warm fuzzy feelings of family and friends coming together, putting up the Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, eating good food, and just enjoying the season.
However, for the Believer, beyond enjoying those warm fuzzy feelings, it should hold a weightier significance and honor in our hearts as we remember what we are actually celebrating. Advent allows us to do just that: remember the joy and hope of waiting for the coming of the King Jesus. Because if we aren’t intentional, we can get sucked into everything the season isn’t about and miss out on remembering a glorious truth that we have been given.
So, as we wait, let’s prepare our hears and remember:
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4)
We will never be able to fully comprehend God’s timing. But we can rest assured that His timing is reflective of His immeasurable love.
We can see this clearly in Matthew 1 where he begins the book with the genealogy of Christ. We often skip this part because we think it’s just a list of names showing us the lineage Christ came from, but those names are portraits of undeserved grace, showing us how God sustained sinful mankind for the purpose of something greater: Jesus Christ. I encourage you to read through the list of names and see how the stories of those people weren’t prim and proper but messy and at times even wicked. YET, God used them. He chose them. He guided them. And in that, He shows us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Christ entered this world, not announcing His authority, but in a helpless state of a baby that would need the care of his parents. His humility shows us that “He was in the form of God, but didn’t count equality with God to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death…” (Philippians 2:6-8) May we model such humility in our own lives.
So you see, we have MANY reasons to STILL be giving thanks! Christmas is the connection to the grand story of God loving us enough to plan for our salvation. As you wait, let this Advent season renew your hope and joy in ALL that we have been given by God, all that we have IN Christ Jesus and all that we are able to do WITH the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
2 Samuel 11
Matthew 1 (read the genealogy of Christ)
Questions to Reflect on: