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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Do you feel like the holiday season is often a mad rush of baking, shopping and running around? If you're ready to try setting a different tone for your holiday, I've written this Advent devotional for you. So many times, we gloss over Advent, not letting God use this time in our lives as He intended it to be used--to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. More than a Do you feel like the holiday season is often a mad rush of baking, shopping and running around?

More than a baby is designed to help prepare your heart for Christmas. Each day's devotional is set up in the following format. Scripture reading. I include the full scripture in the e-book rather than just listing the verses to be read. Of course you can open up your own Bible and read directly from God's word if you prefer. This year I've added photos or beautiful copies of art work to reflect upon that match the topic of the day.

You'll love what these add to the day's devotion. While we're used to hearing Christmas music all during Advent, most people don't realize that Advent music is different than Christmas music. I've included beautiful Advent songs that you can use for worship throughout this time of preparation. On each day I list one of the songs and provide a link to actually listen to it online. May we be worthy to receive you. December 25th, Glenn Leupold, First Presbyterian Church. Christmas can be considered the start of Christianity, even though Easter is what makes it a religion.

Christmas makes Easter possible. Yet Christmas is not a rational, heartwarming event. Christmas is God made flesh. It is extraordinary. It is eternity breaking through into human history, even though God did not have to do such a thing. Instead of a precious, soft moment, Christmas is the crashing of the divine into human history in a way that still shakes creation.

And he can be found in a feed trough. And the king is already out to get him. Come, let us adore him. God of creation, we praise you for coming to us in our Lord Jesus. We cannot offer adequate thanks for your coming to us as one of us. We pray that we may never take your ray of light in a dark world for granted. May your Holy Spirit enliven our Christmas season this year like never before. FOCUS was created in when pastors of four churches in downtown Albany recognized a need to join together in a cooperative spirit.

First Pres Blog - Advent Devotional Week 1: I'm Coming to You

For more than 30 years, FOCUS has operated feeding programs which have grown to include tow food pantries, a year-round breakfast program which guests themselves named, "The Breakfast Club. FOCUS is also dedicated to educating others about the realities of poverty and advocating for the needs of those suffering injustice. FOCUS has committed to speak truth to power in addition to its direct ministries of the body. Today, FOCUS is a stand-alone not for profit organization, separate from those member churches that first envisioned what such a community could accomplish.

Working On Our Spiritual Health. July 3, The Earthquake of Easter. April 17, March 14, March 5, Lent May it be on earth as it is in the heavens. We look forward and outward and inward and through to a time when we shall be satisfied with justice, when waters will run clear and free, when none will hunger, when cold and heat and contempt will trouble us no more, when our bodies will be deemed enough, when our loves will be called divine, when we will be embraced instead of excluded. Come quickly, God, cast forth our oppressors; come quickly, Father, and heal our wounds! Isaiah , Louis, MO, during my service-corps year in The tender care of that community in the midst of a city that was and still is marred by racism and inequality has inspired me not only to pass that kind of care unto others, but to listen to those who are oppressed, brokenhearted, and prisoners.

This community, which had been an aging, all white congregation on the edge of shutting its doors for good, decided to open its doors to the community instead. Because of decades of redlining, the community around their building had suffered in many ways. The decision this dying church made was different than many like it.

That shift is the reason they continue to have vibrant life in their church. During my time with them, I got to hear many prayers. It is clear from this text from Isaiah, that only God and those in the broken places of marginalization are the ones that can truly tell us what liberation and relief looks like. During this season of Advent, let us remember that if we are truly to care for those who need it, we must first listen with open hearts. I remember when my doctor told me that I was pregnant with both my kids. I was anxious, excited, scared, and a bit ashamed.

I remember looking into all my options, but in the end, I chose to raise both my children. I have never regretted those decisions! And yet the bigger my belly got, the more I stood out as an unwed mother in Utah. They held my hand; they laughed with me and cried with me. They brought me food, and went with me to my doctor appointments. They were even with me at my deliveries. My church and each of its members did this for me, because Jesus did this for Mary and for us all!

Two memories touch my heart, as I sit with Psalm 96 in silence. One is an older memory from when I crossed the Pacific Ocean by myself from South Korea years ago with lots of confusion and anguish, thinking about who I am as a woman doing theology. When I realized that my salvation does not come from any Patriarchal reign within Christianity, God showed me a way to live my own salvation—apart from my questions and fears driven by all other gods, including a god imaged only as male, oppressing other genders, nations, and races.

It is a song of their own salvation to restore their dignity. Isaiah Feet are funny. They are this often neglected, sometimes sweaty, oddly shaped part of us. There is a reason why most people cover them for most of the time. Except that our feet literally carry us through life. Our feet physically propel us forward. These empires that Israel experienced as forces of destruction, desolation, and deportation were now no more.

However, in this moment Zion is rejoicing that exile is coming to an end. God has looked upon their situation and deliverance is upon them. For people mired in the hopelessness of exile, beautiful were the feet of those who brought the message that God was with them. Some feet are beautiful. Beautiful are the feet of asylum seekers who have experienced trauma in their home countries and are determined to find a better life. Beautiful are the feet of peace and justice seekers who find their way from various parts of the United States to the borders to demand that our country treat migrants and immigrants with dignity.

Beautiful are the feet of protestors who march and gather and demand that this nation takes seriously the reality that Black Lives Matter. Beautiful are the feet of those who are unrelenting in their pursuit to ensure peace and justice.

Advent Devotionals

Yolanda M. In the passage for today, John the Baptizer takes center stage once again. How could John have thought this message was what the crowd needed to hear? It was crossed out. This is the reality we are invited to lean into this Advent season. Then, looking close, he starts to see, the widow and her mite, the demon-wracked, the lepers at the gate. They were hill country people. Good-at-heart, we imagine, or mostly so.

They gathered to do right by the baby, to make sure the rules were followed. Breaking the naming rules for Ancient Israel risked opening the door to assimilation.

2018 Advent Devotions

One way of setting a hedge around the little nation. To a savior who looks forward more than back. To what is new and next. The graciousness that began flowing into the world with the birth of John is the same graciousness God offers us. A graciousness that levels the rough places, hedges, and walls — and draws us into the new. Oh, and p. Gabriel is doing some serious holy bomb dropping in the first Chapter of Luke. Whether this be news of diagnosis, of miraculous healing, of profound loss, or unexpected new life — world-altering surprises can stop us in our tracks.

What catches my eye in this passage is the way that our stunned parents-to-be respond to their respective, life-altering news. Zechariah enters into months of silence. Elizabeth enters seclusion for five months, and Mary seeks spiritual companionship with Elizabeth. Silence, solitude, and spiritual companionship, and to what end? When Zechariah breaks his prolonged silence he proclaims words of praise and prophecy — what a shift from his previous doubt and disbelief.

And Mary, in seeking companionship, experiences encouragement that supports her in engaging with the profound Mystery that has entered her life, that she is carrying and nurturing for the world.


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Holy silence, sacred solitude, and spiritual companionship — what invitations these seem to be to me as we face the mystery and profound surprises of our lives. They are so different from, and a great counter to, other natural responses to life-altering news which for me have included: efforts to control it all, a desire to clean things up, to move to the next stage before it is time, or to deny what is going on all together.

Certainly there is no encouragement towards logic.

No, the work of a shepherd sounds tedious. Constantly repeating oneself, the same flick of the staff to guide the sheep back in. Like an airplane Marshaller, without the audience or the thrill of take-off. Just the tinkling of bells. The occasional mew that one could choose to interpret as appreciation. The ruffle of wind in the grass. And yet, this lowly role describes our Holy Messiah. Again and again, Scripture attempts to inspire by portraying the coming Ruler as just this shepherd. For it is this form of saving love that we so desperately need.

The Ruler who guides each of us as precious and unique, as one of the flock. The Ruler willing to walk with us through the tedium of our day to day… The Ruler who is with us through the boring moments of crickets.

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The Ruler who calls us back when we walk again into the places that threaten to destroy us. It is this form of tender mercy that we need. The Ruler who leads us beside still waters, to cool our parched throats. The Ruler who provides nourishment needed to go on. The Ruler who sheers us with such care that we are not cut.

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The Ruler who lures us to peace. May we prepare ourselves for such a Ruler to come: a Shepherd Ruler with the patience that we need to be led. Philippians And rejoice again! Rejoice is something we say and do to express ourselves when something wonderfully wonderful has happened.

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This single word enables us to acknowledge when we have received something special. Very special. Something so unique that, in this world, there is only one. We rejoice and we celebrate! Something exceptional and extraordinary has happened and with it comes unspeakable joy. And with this joy comes a new life into existence. Someone new to love. I rejoice! My family rejoices! My children and husband rejoice! All of our loved ones rejoice and thank God because we have received a very special gift from God.

Our prayers have been answered. You answered our prayers. And God did! God gave us a reason to Rejoice!


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We rejoice because we can say that we truly know love and experience gratitude for life. New life. Less than 24 hours and 35 years ago, my beautiful, loving, brilliant, gentle, kind, thoughtful and compassionate daughter, Riana Richelle Shaw Robinson was born. Her presence and her life has filled our hearts and lives with so much joy that it has surpassed all our understanding. How did we get so blessed to receive this special gift?

I am a very proud and grateful mother, and our family is a very proud and grateful family. And we gladly and humbly share our gift.

Christmas Devotionals

The world has received a special gift as well. Rochelle R. A brief reprieve from the construction in Advent was quickly undone the following January, and the pipeline was completed that April. As of Advent , oil has been flowing through Standing Rock lands—with unknown effects on their water supply—for more than a year and a half. Advent is the time of not-yet, of promise-still-to-come. In that day, the prophet promises us, we will exult gleefully in God as all around us God topples the systems of injustice and oppression and greed that have so long ruled our world.

Yet as Standing Rock—and every injustice before and after—reminds us, that day is not yet here. We are still in Advent. And the danger for us now is that, impatient for the well of salvation, we will drink water that does not give life, drawing from wells of bitterness and anger, cynicism and resentment.

We may even be tempted to drink the poisoned waters from the cistern of despair, as one cause quickly fades into another and ever new battles are engaged, even as the unjust systems of oppression never seem to change. In these times, Advent reminds us to hope.