category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 16

Monday, December 18

1 Kings 18:1-18; Psalm 125; Ephesians 6:10-17

We recognize the season of Advent as being a season of anticipation and preparation for what God is doing and the miraculous event that is the birth of Jesus. So, we prepare. We clean and decorate our homes for guests; we attend special advent services at church; we shop, and we do everything we can to fit everything into our schedule. In this preparation, we often prepare for the singular event of Christmas or a specific gathering, because we’ve been told over and over that this season is for preparation. But as we get everything ready, we often prepare for the wrong things. In preparing for one day, we do not truly prepare for what lies ahead. Advent is the beginning of our entire liturgical calendar, the start of a new year of possibilities. We must prepare for more than a day or a singular celebration; we ought
to prepare for everything that lies ahead.

In 1 Kings, Obadiah was actively working for God and God’s people, preparing for what they needed to be protected. In Ephesians, the people of God are instructed to prepare by putting on the whole armor of God, encasing themselves in the Lord, allowing God to be their preparedness and security. The Psalm reminds us that we need to prepare to trust in the Lord because the Lord surrounds His people but the wicked cannot remain. In these scriptures and throughout the biblical text, we find repeatedly that God reminds the people of their safety and protection, that they are set to do God’s work and that all they must do is trust and prepare.

I find the feeling of warmth and being surrounded frequently during Advent. I find in working with children that watching them experience the traditions of the season for the first few times allows me to remember the comfort and the warmth of many traditions. As we light candles on Christmas Eve, I find myself looking around at the children of our church and noticing them surrounded by warmth and light. It serves as a reminder of the community that we carry that often feels closer during the Advent season. These simple moments when we are reminded of community mean more than preparing the cleanest house, the best gifts, or the busiest schedules.

This season, and throughout this year, rather than worshiping the false gods of busyness and perfection, resist the urge to be all that you think you must be and instead worship the God who can guide you into who He intends you to be. Allow God to surround you as he has surrounded his people throughout history. Allow the Holy Spirit to be within you, becoming a vessel preparing for the complex and holy work ahead. Trust that the Lord goes before you and will keep and guide you. Just as we anticipate the birth of the Christ child, may we anticipate the continued work of God and wonder what beautiful plans may lie ahead.

Kristina Kyles
School of Divinity Student

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 15

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 17

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