We are looking forward to celebrating the tradition of Advent together and lighting our first candle this week! We’ll be publishing the weekly devotional video at 4pm on Sunday, November 27th and it will be available to watch here and on our YouTube channel. We hope to all light our first candle, the candle of Hope, together on Sunday. The video will be available anytime after that! If you received one of our advent kits, we encourage you to begin today reading the daily devotionals. Each day of Advent you will find a brief reflection to prepare our hearts in celebration of Jesus first arrival as a baby on Christmas Day, and in anticipation of His return as the Mighty God who will make all things new. If you didn’t get an advent kit, below you’ll find scriptures, prayers, and some other tools to help you participate in Advent below.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance–an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
1 PETER 1:3-9
Almighty God, you have invited us to be saved in hope, to wait in hope, and to hope in the hope of your glory. Our hope is that your promise of a new creation is true. Our hope is that in the same way your Son, Jesus Christ, was given new life, the groaning creation will also truly live again in all the ways you intended it to thrive. Our hope is that Christ will reign. Our hope is that the lion will lie down with the lamb. Our hope is that all things will be made new. Forgive us for our inability to live in hope. We too often settle for despair. We build systems of assured destruction and call it peace. We create a culture of sensual self-centeredness and call it love. We chase after conspicuous consumption and call it life. May hope give us a holy discontentment with the world as it is. As we live lives of holy discontentment, teach us patient endurance. And as we endure, produce in us a character that reflects your coming kingdom. And may that character be rooted in the hope we have in you. For that hope – the hope of your new life – never disappoints.
• How does Jesus’ birth help bring you light and hope during the hard times and trials you face?
• As believers, our definition of hope is different than the world’s definition. Oftentimes, the world simply defines hope as “wishful thinking”. How would you define YOUR hope, based in Jesus? Patient endurance? Confident expectation?
• How is Jesus being born Good News for you? How is it good news for others?
• How does Jesus’ light in our world give us hope?
• In what ways can we allow Jesus’ light to shine through us?