Advent 2014

Advent-2014

 

I don’t know  about you, but I’m excited about Advent this year. Maybe it’s the miniature stocking line I bought last year to hang on the mantle so we can visibly  count down the days to Christmas. I bought mini-treats to fill these cute little stockings today, and I plan on stuffing them with Scripture that follows along with our church’s Advent Devotional, too.

 

Advent-Stocking

This year, our Advent sermon series comes from 2 Corinthians 1.

Duane wrote the first devotional, and I was simply amazed after reading it. Amazed at a compassionate Jesus, a no-holds-barred Paul, and a simple man using his writing gifts to make the beautiful work of Christ known.

Once I read it, I knew I had to share it. (Then, I promptly freaked out because I realized that I had to write the devotional on the very next passage–tough act to follow.)

Ah, well.

I hope your Advent season is full of seeing Jesus in bigger, clearer, and fuller ways.

 

The God of All Comfort

2 Cor 1:1-7

“I dream to heal your wounds, but I bleed myself.” – Sunny Day Real Estate, “In Circles”

You’ve probably felt this way at some point in your life.  “I can’t do another thing.”  “I’m too tired.”  I’ve been hurt too badly to help anyone else.”  When everyone shares this sentiment, the church starts to look like a battle field, littered with dying soldiers writhing in pain.

Paul, however, promotes an alternate vision: “God…comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction…” (2 Cor 1:3-4).  Suffering in this life is certain—a given.  But for those who follow Jesus, dying and rising with him, suffering takes on a new meaning and becomes the conduit for loving like he does.  Perhaps Paul would have written: “I work to heal your wounds because I bleed myself.” 

We run the risk again this year of remaining the forever wounded, of doing nothing but dreaming about healing.  If so, paganism has triumphed rather than Christianity because, as Paul Miller argues, paganism is simply evil management, an attempt to keep things safe, a way to lessen the bleeding.  Jesus, on the contrary, Miller says: “is the massive center of surprise.”  When he arrives, God arrives in surprisingly human ways: hidden in a dark womb, confined to a dirty manger, obligated to unsuspecting parents.  He cries, bleeds, and dies “to heal your wounds.”

Let the church then not remain a battle field, littered with dying soldiers writhing in pain, but become an army of the walking wounded—a mobile hospital for sinners caring compassionately for others in the name of Jesus, whose father is “the God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3).

Father, comfort us in every affliction by revealing to us the power of Jesus’ affliction.  And help us to comfort others around us who need comfort with the comfort we have received in his resurrection.  Amen.

 

(I told you it was good.)

 * * * * * * * * * *

What are your Advent traditions?

Do you have a favorite Advent devotional?

I’d love to hear what you do during the Advent season in the comments below.

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  • Sarah Pacosa

    My favorite advent devotional is trinitys!! I love that we have one that is from my peoples. Also we are doing Kristi’s Jesus Storybook plan with Jack. I liked the simplicity of that. Activity wise I’m just trying to plan a few fun family activities. The craggy mountain line train ride, gingerbread houses at the grove park inn and the light show at the arboretum. Grandparents will be in town for some of those so that’s fun for them too.

  • Julie Davis

    Cool! So glad you’re going Kristi’s Advent plan. I’d love to hear how it goes.

    When are you going to the Craggy Mountain Train Ride…maybe I can bring my little man, too!

  • marcella

    I’m so glad you shared this! I was telling Matt about it, and now I can have him actually read it. (Love the image of the church as “an army of the walking wounded”.) I finally pulled together James’ advent calendar of treats, and he’s loooooving it. This week the NLG advent guide has us reading passages from Isaiah, which makes my heart glad. love to you!

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