Bethlehem…Egypt…Nazareth…the desert…Samaria… Jerusalem…Gethsemane…to the cross…into heaven. Luke 2:4; Mat. 2:13, 23, 4:1; John 4:4; Mark 11:11, 14:32; John 19:18; Luke 24:51 I watched one of those adorably funny Facebook videos of a preschool nativity scene where one darling girl dressed as a sheep couldn’t leave baby Jesus in the manger. To the horror of the attentive angel keeping watch, the sheep-girl grabbed Jesus and began rocking him. Then, while cameras snapped their
Magi from the east came . . . to worship him. Matthew 2:1,2 The Magi made the longest trip. They are the ones who receive the award for beginning their journey to see Jesus first. While no one knows exactly where the Magi started from, many connect their origin to Persia because that’s where Nebuchadnezzar asked wise men to interpret his dream. If they came from Persia, they could have traveled close to 800 miles! Add to that the necessity to travel by night to follow th
Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Isaiah 40:3, NLT “We’re going straight through,” my father announced as he loaded two sleepy girls and too much luggage into a car that would shrink with every mile. That was my dad’s way of starting our vacation. Night would mask our need for the air conditioner we didn’t have. Sleep would keep two girls down for half the trip. Cutting straight paths is what Isaiah tells us to do to get ready for Christmas. We lit
I don’t like the panic that finds easy entrance into our world at Christmas. The stressed-out shoppers looking for bargains and finding none. The sleep-deprived children who masquerade as someone else’s kids. The tables of food that tempt us with excesses we know we will pay for dearly. Perhaps it’s time to think with more than our emotional longings for some illusive vision we have about Christmas. Perhaps it’s time to start with our heart before we add one glittering or
We are so close to Christmas. But are we just as close to Christmas Truth? Do we understand that Love is the best gift of Christmas? Come as a baby, Jesus demonstrated that God in human flesh can hold enough love to transform, heal, help, and deliver life abundantly. God-in-us is Love-in-us! Not sentimental, fickle, selfish, or ineffective love. His Love is bold, pure, unfailing, empowering. Where there is hurt, distance, brokenness, doubt, fear; God’s Love in you will make a
It is the third week of Advent. This week the focus is Joy. Too much of our lives are joyless. Routines put us on auto-pilot. The mundane uncovers boredom. It is too easy to live without expecting joy in our daily ways. Yet, the first Christmas participants remind us that joy found them in the middle of their mundane and routine. Routine is not our problem; distracted living is. We need quiet circles to protect us from the pulls and pushes of our demanding lives. We need to
I am learning that Advent is a time to re-focus. It isn’t just an opportunity to do Christmas better. No one can improve on what God did in Bethlehem that first Christmas. Instead, it is a time to let God do what He does best: bring Christmas to us! He always starts in the heart. This week of Advent focuses on Peace. If you thought hope was elusive, try making your own peace in your overcrowded Bethlehem. I'd like to send you a week of short devotionals to help you bring God
Receive a "Quiet Circle" Advent reading for each day of this week by signing up for this website using the "Connect" button. Here is the first reading for this Sunday, November 27: First Sunday of Advent: Hoping for . . . But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:25, NIV Hope is elusive when it depends on what you can provide as a reason for it. The push to give to yourself a reason to hope is broken, ineffective and sometimes dangerous.