As we draw near the end of our Advent season this year, I am so grateful for these daily reminders of God’s love, faithfulness and salvation plan. The entirety of scripture echoes His redemptive plan — a plan that includes a child born to a virgin and laid to rest in a scratchy, old feeding trough.
As we arrive at Christmas morning, we stand together with millions of others around the globe. We kneel before that babe in a manger, the straw tattooing our knees and the stench of manure on the tips of our noses, and worship. With love, we bow before the one who came and who is yet to come again. Our hearts join in with the hope-filled prayer of generations past as we cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come.”
December 18: Operation No More Tears
I can’t remember any of my children’s Bibles covering the book of Isaiah before, and I love that the Jesus Storybook Bible includes a glimpse at some of these prophecies. Today’s ornament is a scroll, reminding us of the words that God gave to Isaiah — words that predicted the arrival of a Saviour: a royal baby named Emmanuel, the Prince of Peace.
December 19: Daniel And The Scary Sleepover
One of my favourite verses in the Bible is found in the book of Daniel as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stand before the fiery furnace. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18.
Even if he does not…
These five words pack such a punch of faith and hope. They are an incredible testimony and reminder of the faithfulness of God. I think these verses easily translate to Daniel’s attitude too. This is complete assurance that the God we serve is fully capable of closing the lions’ mouths but even if he does not, I will serve no one but Him.
December 20: God’s Messenger
The closer we get to Christmas, the more distractions there seem to be. With parties and special outings, pricey gifts and chocolates and decorations — it’s easy to get distracted, to have our attention turned from where it should be. So often, Christmas becomes about us rather than Him. In today’s reading, Jonah found his attention directed elsewhere too. It was all about what he wanted, or rather, what he didn’t want. And then God got his attention in a really big way — with a really, really, big fish. This little whale reminds us to step back and refocus on what’s truly important.
December 21: Get Ready
This cute little party hat is brought to you by readings from Nehemiah 8-10, Malachi 1, 3, and 4, and Ezra 7. As God’s people return from exile, they are grieved by the laws that they have forgotten. And yet, God whispers His love to them and reminds them that there is a greater rescue in store. As the Jesus Storybook Bible says, “God was getting ready to wipe away every tear from every eye. And the true party was just about to begin…” (page175)
December 22: He’s Here!
The title says it all, right? He’s here! What joy! All new parents know the incredible delight and relief found in the arrival of a new baby. And yet, how much greater is the celebration for this baby’s birth; how much greater the relief at the arrival of the long-awaited King. This is what we’ve been longing for, hoping for. Here in swaddling cloth, lies the fulfillment to promises written through every chapter and every verse. Emmanuel, God with us.
December 23: The Light of the Whole World
This is one of my favourite parts of the Christmas story — the calling of the Shepherds to worship. Stinking, sweaty, lowly shepherds. What an honour to be invited to worship, and what a greater honour still to be called first. That’s part of what is so beautiful about the Christmas story. That we can come as we are. We don’t have to bring gold, frankincense or myrrh. We just have to come.
December 24: The King of All Kings
This wasn’t the King anyone expected. This wasn’t how they’d interpreted the scriptures. And yet, God is the God of the unexpected — of a bigger, bolder and more complete story than we could ever imagine. The wise men travelled to visit this infant King but they were part of a bigger journey, one that had begun centuries before. A journey that led them a child who didn’t fit our understanding of ruler but who came to rule and reign nonetheless. The King of kings.
As Advent draws to a close this year, we remember that this attitude of longing and seeking continues on. Every day is cause to celebrate the One who saves.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 2:11 (NIV)
Check out the other weeks in our Advent series: