The word advent means, a coming or arrival, especially of something or someone extremely important.
In biblical terms, Advent is a season. It refers to the four weeks leading up to Christmas day, the day that we celebrate the arrival of our Lord when He came to dwell among men.
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
In many churches, the four Sundays of Advent are celebrated by the lighting candles, illustrating the Light that came into our world on that first Christmas day. The four weeks of Advent are intended to be a time to reflect on God’s ancient promises and prophecies and remember those that have already been fulfilled. Advent is to be a time of preparing one’s heart in anticipation of Christmas.
Let’s begin this Advent season by reflecting on an ancient greeting from Fra Giovanni, a 16th-century Italian architect:
I salute You. There is nothing I can give you which you have not;
But there is much that, while I cannot give you, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take heaven …
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present.
Take peace …
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy.
Take joy …
And so at this Christmastime, I greet you with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away. (1)
Take from Jesus
We don’t often think in terms of “taking” but we do think about Jesus giving. Taking is nothing more than accepting and receiving that which Jesus came to give. Let us slow down and “take” as Fra Giovanni exhorted. Take Heaven. Take peace. Take Joy. And, we would add, TAKE TIME. In our day, the world seems to be moving at warp speed. Take time to reflect on God’s love, joy, peace, and grace, given to us that first Christmas.
Reflect on Love:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Reflect on joy:
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Reflect on peace:
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you
Reflect on grace:
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Reflect, Remember, and Find Rest
Remember Jesus’ words of hope and promise when He proclaimed that He had come to preach the gospel, heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance, restore sight, and give freedom (Luke 4:17-21). Jesus came to give us rest:
Mat 11:28-29 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Find rest for your soul in knowing that Jesus is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). He gives you love, joy, and peace. TAKE (partake, receive) and FIND REST!
Light the First Advent Candle
The first Advent candle is the candle of Hope. God’s prophecies give us hope. Take a minute and watch as God’s purpose and plan is unfolded through His prophecies. Advent Candle 1-HOPE: Prophecy Reveals Hope
(1) Christian Century Pulpit, December, 1957, “Greeting at Christmas,” by Fra Giovanni, AD 1513, p. 22.
The Season of Advent (the 4 weeks before Christmas)
Will You Find Rest This Advent Season?
Advent Candle 1 – HOPE: Prophecy Gives Hope (video)
Advent Candle 2 – LOVE: Promise Reveals Love (video)
Advent Candle 3 – JOY: Jesus Is Our Joy (video)
Advent Candle 4 – PEACE: Pause to Find Peace (video)
Christmas-themed GOT QUESTIONS?
- Does “Xmas” Cross Jesus Out of Christmas?
- The Most Important Lesson for YOU in the Nativity Story?
- Misconceptions about the Journey to Bethlehem (video)
- Errors in the Nativity Story? Is Jesus’ birthplace wrong?
- Who were the Three Wise Men? Fact or legend?
- How Did the Wise Men Know to Follow His Star?
- Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 Days After Jesus’ Birth? Or Was It Much Later?
- What is the significance of the Three Kings' gifts?
- Was Jesus born in a stable, a cave or a house?
- Was Mary a Levite, making Jesus both King and Priest?
- Was Jesus born in September (not December?)
- Should we celebrate Jesus’ birthday in September?
- Was Jesus born in a stable, cave or house?
- Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
- How did Jesus become a man?
- How did Jesus become a man?
- Do You Get These 7 Things Right or Wrong About the Nativity Story?
- Are You Stuck in the Middle This Christmas? (short video lessons from the popular comedy TV show "The Middle.")
- What are the Prophecies of Christmas? (video)
- Where are the genealogies of Jesus in Mark and John?
- Why are There Two Different Genealogies for Jesus?
- A Boastful Christmas Letter
- Peace Delivers Hope
- Promise Ignites Hope
- Preparation Produces Hope
- Prophesy Reveals Hope
- Alone at Christmas? Feeling lonely?
- Another reason God came to dwell with man.
- How can you have a white Christmas without snow?
- Christmas, abortion and Joseph, the forgotten man of Christmas
- Remember the Wonder of Christmas
- Will you find rest, peace and joy this advent season?
- A Christmas Morning Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
- What If You Had Been There When Jesus Was Born? (video)
- Pause to Find Hope (video)
- Pause to Receive the Promises of God (video)
- Pause to See Jesus (video)
- Pause to Hear God’s Plan (video)
- Christmas Trivia Fun
- Songs of Christmas Series: Away in a Manger; Mary, Did You Know? Rose of Bethlehem; Good Christian Men Rejoice; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; I Wonder As I Wander; What Child Is This? The First Noel In the Bleak Midwinter (a golden oldie)
Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6)
In this time of confusion and uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control. Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19. As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) once said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.”
Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it: Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live: Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.
God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble. When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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