Our final verse this week about who Jesus is: a ruler, and a shepherd.
Going deeper: Earlier this year I recorded Psalm 23 by the side of a babbling brook. Listen quietly for a word or phrase that stands out to you today. (the video is at the end of the post and takes a minute to load)
Today I’m joining Mel’s Friday Linkup. Do hop over for lots more Advent inspiration.
God is with us! Jesus came and lived among us for a lifetime; he was with a small number of close followers, and touched many more. Today he is here with us all forever. It is sometimes harder to sense His presence than it may have been when He lived with us as a human. But His power is just the same. His love and tenderness remains. His wise counsel, might power are no less.
Going deeper: Take time today to notice God with you. As you sit, as you walk, as you work, as you rest, wherever you are and whatever you do remember that God is with you. Share your feelings and thoughts, hear and sense His gifts for you, or simply rest in His presence.
The genealogy of Jesus fascinates me. It’s amazing to be able to read all down the line to Abraham! And to see all the names that we recognise, all the people who God protected fiercely, faithfully, and lovingly to preserve the line of David all the way to our Saviour.
Last year as I created this multi media Advent page I got so caught up in this genealogy that I had to write it all out down and then around the page!
Going deeper: Read this verse in context. What stories from the Bible does it bring to mind? Has one been particularly meaningful to you this year? If so, you might like to go back and read about Rahab, Ruth, Jacob, or another of the links in this precious chain.
This is one of my favourite Advent verses. These names give me such a sense of safety and provision; and a tangible reminder that Jesus is all that we need: A completely trustworthy counsellor; a Father who loves us unconditionally; a mighty God who can do anything; and a Prince of Peace who wants only what is best for us.
I am reading The Promises Bible Study and learnt over the weekend that wonderful means “beyond a person’s capabilities, unsolvable for man, or a miracle of God“. It really helped me grasp the divinity of a Wonderful Counsellor.
Going deeper: Listen here to this verse in context, a recording I made last Advent.
As we move into the second week of Advent, I want to pause for a moment after the prophecies we shared last week and return again to the very beginning and remember that love is at the centre of everything.
God created us out of love; he disciplines with love; and he rescues out of love. He is always loving us. He is love. And it’s because of love that Jesus came to us the very first Christmas.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
To go deeper read this verse in context
You might also enjoy this reflection.
He is coming to live with us: it reminds me of the time in the desert when God’s presence was with the Jews as a cloud by day and a fire by night. But when Jesus came it was so much more. The cloud and fire were a guide, a comfort, and a protection. Jesus became a human, he dwelt among us, people could see and touch him, they could speak with him. And after he completed his mission, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. Ask God for the grace to experience deep sense of His presence within you today.
Optional reading: To go deeper, read this verse in context.
It is difficult for us today to fully understand the relief of a light shining in the darkness. We are rarely in total darkness, and even more rarely unable to get out of the darkness: in this day of electric light we do not get stuck in the dark at sunset. I thought of the parable of the woman and the lost coin: if she had not found her coin before sunset, the search would have to wait until sunrise, or be continued in the poor light of an expensive and precious candle. Any work not finished by sunset had to wait until morning. Nursing a sick family member through a dark night, perhaps not even lit by the moon, would find you rejoicing at the sight of the first dawn.
By trying to enter into and understand this deep darkness I hope we will find even greater joy when the light shines into the darkness this Christmas.
Optional reading: go deeper by reading more of Isaiah chapter nine.
The prophets are a wonderful way to enter into the waiting and the mystery of Advent. This will be our theme for the rest of this first week of Advent.
Imagine yourself living 2,000 years ago, in a Jewish home, eagerly, desperately, expectantly waiting for Jesus, your promised Saviour.
Optional reading: To go deeper read more of Isaiah 11 and Matthew 1
[In Advent I will be posting one small image each day, with a short piece of scripture or idea to mediate on. Advent is often a busy time, and so I wanted to devise a devotional that could be extremely simple to engage with. If you are busy, simply carry this phrase with you throughout the day. If you have more time, explore further.]
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Isn’t it wonderful to remember that Jesus was in the very beginning, with God, at the moment of creation? The beginning of John’s gospel takes us back to the first page of our Bible’s with beautiful poetic language. Open your Advent devotions today by reflecting on this truth.
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him,
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life,
and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
Angel sketch, by Victoria
The calendar has swung to November already, and our thoughts are turning towards Advent and Christmas. I was reminded that this blog was a busy place this time last year. But since July I have been busy working, living, and making art. It is so fun to write that: “making art”; it has such a frivolous air to it!
One of my projects has been creating a mini Advent devotional, which I will be sharing here during the weekdays in Advent. It’s a very simple devotional with a single verse or phrase each day to lead us through the season. Something to meditate on briefly, or for longer periods, and short enough to carry in our minds throughout the day.
Before 1 December you may like to visit Making Advent Special: the series I wrote last year to help us plan Christmas in November in order to keep December sacred.