Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Are you still in the afterglow of Thanksgiving? Hopefully the leftovers are consumed or tucked away. Maybe there’s even a piece of pie left. But I hope you feel the peace of love surrounding you. The Thanksgiving holiday is such a perfect catalyst for entering into the preparation time for Christmas because we are entering a new season now – the season of Advent. Let’s explore this new beginning. Take a deep breath as you prepare for the journey.
Advent means ”the coming or arrival of something or someone that is important or worthy of note.” It’s a beautiful definition as we fill in Jesus as our “person of note”. It’s a time to prepare ourselves and our heart to receive Jesus…again. That’s the beauty of knowing Jesus already came. We get to relive the joy of his birth every year. So we can use the Advent season to really focus on the marvelous gift God gave us. What do you recommend doing in preparation?
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.
Do you have a battery-operated candle in the midst of your Christmas decorations? If not, stop by any Dollar Tree or discount store and buy an inexpensive battery-operated tealight. Light it in the morning so it catches your eye as you get ready for your day. Look into the light of the candle and say, “Jesus brings Hope.” If you have no candle, simply inhale, pause and say those three words. Inhale and say the phrase again, then a third time. Small rituals like this can set the tone for your day. Start your day centering on hope.
When do you feel hopeful? For me, I feel hopeful when I see people respond with generosity when they see a need. In the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center, we have a Mission/Social Justice Team and we regularly watch for opportunities to serve with generosity of spirit and/or funds. Supporting social justice opportunities, such as providing shoebox presents for the homeless, or gift cards or food items for families in need are ways to offer hope to others. You can view our Social Justice Corner on the new Chesapeake Bay Mission Center public website at https://www.cofchrist-cbmc.org/social-justice-ministries.html. What opportunities do you see there that tug at your heart?
As we offer hope for others, we take steps in preparing for Jesus’s birth. What opportunities have you responded to that offer hope to someone in need? It can be a simple overture of welcome or a bigger contribution to a worthy cause. Each evening review your day and find where you offered Hope.
Dear God, we pray in the name of your son, Jesus, the Source of all Hope. We pray that we take time during the beginning of our preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth, to remember those examples Jesus lived in providing love, grace and mercy. May we offer those same things and bring more Hope into this world, recognizing that though times in life seem desperate or full of despair, we can look forward with hope, for You are with us. May we allow your guiding hand to direct our ways. We pray in Hope. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.