Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Friday, December 3
By Elizabeth Reagon; Reprinted from the 2018 Advent devotional in honor of Murphy Builders Class
Is Your Gift List Complete?
Read James 1:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8-20
By now most of us are well along with our plans for Christmas—cards, decorations, gift list. But is your gift list complete? Is God on your list? James tells us that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. What can we give God? God desires and expects our love and obedience.
Some of the ways we show our love are the time we spend in prayer, meditating on God’s word, worshiping, giving, sharing, especially with the sick and needy. We show our obedience by living according to God’s word. A good review of many rules for Christian living is found in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian Christians in chapter 5. Paul tells these early Christians they must have hope, and so must we—a firm hope in God’s promises. This leads us into a brief discussion of Advent.
We are in our church season of Advent (arrival, specifically the arrival of God’s son). During December we recall the faith stories from the Old and New Testament scriptures and prepare our hearts for Christmas. A beautiful tradition is the use of the Advent wreath, which comprises three purple candles, one pink candle and a white Christ candle in the center. Each of the four candles is named to emphasize an important aspect of the obedient Christian life: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Beginning four Sundays before Christmas, the Hope candle is lighted. Each following week another candle is lighted in the order of Peace, Joy and then the pink candle of Love. The Christ candle is lighted on Christmas Eve.
And now we return briefly to some of Paul’s instructions: “Be at peace among yourselves,” “Rejoice evermore,” and “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Many of us fall far short of what God desires, but thanks be to God, He is ready to forgive as we ask. And as we study His word, these traits become a natural part of our lives.
Holy God, forgive us when we fall short of your expectations. May hope, peace, joy, love and thanksgiving be manifested so vividly in our lives that the world may recognize us as Christians. In Christ Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.