category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 21

Saturday, December 23

Judges 13:2-24; John 7:40-52

Advent is the time for all of us to reflect on how we can prepare our hearts and homes for Christ’s birth in today’s world. These two passages give us guidance on how to be prepared.

In the Judges passage, Samson, like Jesus, had the announcement of his birth come from a messenger from God. Manoah, Samson’s father, seemed skeptical when his wife told him she had been visited by an angel of the Lord and told that, even though she was barren, she was going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Manoah was skeptical and prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born” (13:8). The angel returned and spoke to Manoah and his wife and told them, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her” (13:13-14).

Since Manoah’s wife prepared for Samson’s birth as instructed and honored God’s commandments after his birth, Samson grew to be a strong man who saved Israel from the Philistines. Like Jesus, his life had to be sacrificed to complete his mission.

In the John passage, Jesus is preaching to the crowd at the Festival of Tabernacles. The Jewish leaders order the temple guards to bring Jesus to them. While the guards are at the festival, they hear Jesus preaching and they hear members of the crowd saying, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Others, however, believed the scriptures and believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

The guards did not arrest Jesus and they returned to their leaders. The leaders were furious, but the guards said, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.” The leaders told the guards they had been deceived by Jesus, just like Jesus’ followers. But Nicodemus spoke up saying, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” (7:51).

Both passages show us how easy it is to be skeptical. As we celebrate Advent with our families, let us remember the scriptures that tell us all that Jesus is coming soon.


Heavenly Father, thank you so much for all of the wonderful blessings that you have chosen to bestow upon us. Thank you for a strong faith that makes us faithful to you and to believe that Jesus Christ is our personal savior. Thank you for this Advent season and the anticipation that Jesus is coming soon. We love you, Lord. Amen.

Gary Smith
Chair, Board of Trustees

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 20

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 22

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