Advent 4: The Christmas Story Connected to the Past Story

magi

When we turn to the pages of Matthew’s gospel account, we see a story transpiring right from the beginning. It’s a story that’s been going on for quite some time.

We know this because that’s how ch.1 begins. It’s another stressful genealogy recounting name after name, many of which we are unsure of how to pronounce. But the genealogy is a clue that a story has been unfolding, a very ancient story that harkens back to the Jewish father, Abraham (and Luke takes us back even further). Continue reading

Advent 3: The Ordinary in Extraordinary Redemption

advent candles

The Christmas story in Scripture is embedded with some extraordinary stuff. Angels announcing salvation, visionary dreams, prophetic songs, mouths being struck silent. This is no ordinary moment in time!

Yet, in my recent reading of the first chapters of Luke’s gospel, I’ve been struck by something quite the opposite. I’ve been noticing God’s redemptive work within the ordinary. Continue reading

Advent 2: The Intimations of Redemption

john the baptist stained glass

Christmas can be a season of hurried frenzy. The stores are filled with people looking for the best deals. Days are spent racking our brains to figure out the best gift for spouse, children, family, and friends. Deadlines to meet at work by the end of the year, all that we can head out of the office for a week to “enjoy” the Christmas holidays.

We have been trained to hurry, rush, and stress during the holiday season.

We’re left frazzled, needing a holiday break after the holidays.

But the season of Advent arrives asking us to slow down. To remember the patient processes of our God. His promises cannot be nuked in the microwave. He’s not always giving us 5 simple guidelines to follow to get our best life now.

The season of Advent reminds us there is a waiting process. Continue reading

Advent 1: Job (the guy in the Bible) and Advent

job and 3 friends

Tomorrow begins the season of Advent. It’s a time in which the historical church has set their eyes toward remembering the coming of the promised messiah. Plenty of reflections and messages will be shared from the Gospels. Many will turn to some of the prophets as well, including the well-known Isaiah.

One place the church will probably not turn to is the book of Job. Yet I want to offer something here of why the book of Job just might be a place we turn to this Advent season. Continue reading

Before Advent

adventcand51Today marks the beginning of Advent in the church calendar. It’s a day celebrated by millions upon millions as we prepare for the coming of the Lord, remembering what happened in that small town of Bethlehem just over 2,000 years ago.

Normally, when we begin to offer reflections during the season of Advent, we start with Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:26 – the announcement that the Christ will be born. And while those 2 accounts carry great import for God’s people and the world, the story doesn’t actually begin there. Continue reading