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Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

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“Advent:

the time to listen for footsteps –

you can’t hear footsteps

when
 you’re running yourself.”

Bill McKibben

 

Are you caught up in the Holiday Hurry yet? I’m talking about the decorating–baking– card-writing—shopping—wrapping—parties—rehearsals—event-participation and attendance. No doubt I omitted a few items on your list.

Perhaps you’re craving a bit of quiet this Christmas. Time to enjoy the presence of your Savior. Time to reflect on Bethlehem blessings—those gifts we enjoy as a result of Christ’s advent into the world.

But how can we stop running long enough to hear our Savior’s footsteps? How can we avail ourselves of his peace and strength when our days are doubly-busy?

May I recommend the devotional book, Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room (Barbour Publishing, 2014), by my good blogger-friend, Jean Wise?

First, the soft, leather-like cover is a pleasure to hold. The thick, gilded pages are a delight to turn. And the subtle, star-studded border on each page adds beauty to the text.

Jean has provided four weeks of quieting devotionals, offering a perfect start for each day. Each week has its own theme: 1) Preparation, 2) Pause, 3) Ponder, and 4) Promise.

Each reading includes a brief devotional, appropriate scriptures, well-chosen quotes, suggestions for a more meaningful Advent season, and a closing prayer.

I’ve just begun reading and internalizing this book myself. But already my spirit has been calmed by Jean’s soothing words. For example:

“We drink in His presence and linger in His light for warmth and nourishment. We quench our thirst at His well” (p. 27).

Doesn’t that sound refreshing and rejuvenating? So “take a deep breath and enjoy the journey,” Jean recommends. Embrace moments of stillness, thank God for the gift of His Son, express gratitude, and rest.

Jean also provides gentle challenge. She well knows the tyranny of the to-do list at this time of year. A pointed question steers our focus in the right direction:

“What are we clinging to so tightly we can’t reach out to God” (p. 16)?

And then there are those readings where God’s wisdom flows through Jean’s words.

In the devotional entitled, “Advent Assignments,” she reminds us that our role in the Christmas season is not to be the perfect hostess or flawless decorator, and not to portray the ideal family.

“Preparing our hearts for the Lord implies knowing our boundaries and acknowledging our limitations…Focus on the manger in the center of the stage of our hearts (p. 32).”

Each day Jean encourages me to “reduce the clutter.” Her words bring me to the center of the stage of my heart, to “spend less time on busy work and more time with God” (p. 12).

Time to reflect. Time to listen. Time to savor the presence of my Savior.

Won’t you join me?

(You may order the book on http://www.barnesandnoble.com or purchase at a Family Christian bookstore and at Christian Book Distributors.) 

 

 

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Cover of "The Guernsey Literary and Potat...

Cover via Amazon

The title grabbed my attention:  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows).   And it turned out to be an excellent read, especially since I particularly enjoy historical fiction.

But this post is not a book review.  It’s about a statement one of the characters makes.

First, a bit of background.  A group of folk who lived on the island of Guernsey, in the late 1940s, were greatly anticipating the arrival of a writer.  She was going to tell their story of what happened during the German occupation of World War II.

Upon her arrival, one of the village residents, Juliet, says, “How beautiful of you to come” (p. 26).

Note she did not say, “How wonderful of you to come.”  She said, beautiful.

I love the use of an unexpected word that catches me by surprise and makes me think.

As I read Juliet’s statement, I thought it made a perfect gratitude prayer to Jesus, especially at Christmastime.

How beautiful of you to come—how lovely, graceful, goodly, splendorous, and magnificent.

Oh, yes, Lord Jesus.

 How beautiful of you to come, leaving the resplendent perfection of heaven behind, and:

  • Making yourself nothing,
  • Taking the very nature of a servant,
  • Becoming obedient to death (Philippians 2:7-8).

How beautiful of you to come, with glorious qualities that delight our hearts—qualities such as:

  • Love, expressed with forgiveness, patience, and benevolence (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
  • Perfect sinlessness, giving us a worthy example to follow (Hebrews 4:15).
  • Truth, in which we can trust (John 14:6).
  • Peace that defies explanation (Philippians 4:6-7).

How beautiful of you to come, to:

  • Turn my darkness into light (2 Samuel 22:29b).
  • Be the source of my salvation (Hebrews 5:9).
  • Be with me always (Matthew 28:20).
  • Provide blessing after blessing (John 1:16).

How beautiful of you to come. 

And as we welcome you into our hearts, Lord Jesus, you make us new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You make us beautiful!  We can:

  • Shine like stars (Philippians 2:15).
  • Be the aroma of Christ to others (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).
  • Reflect your image (Romans 8:29) of holiness, moral purity, and love.

Oh, how beautiful of you to come!

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