Week 1: Longing
This devotional is designed for us to walk through the Advent and Christmastide season together, in community. By definition, Advent means the arrival of something, or someone, important. It is fitting, therefore, that we spend ample time to prepare our entire being for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. While God created the world and humanity and declared them both very good, the willful rebellion of Adam and Eve brought sin and destruction. This sin devastates the entire world and impacts everyone. While many in our culture will try to numb themselves to the devastation of sin with the lure of material gifts, this season is really about God’s faithful work to redeem his creation. It is also about embracing the tension we experience as redeemed people in a fallen world, looking forward to the day when Jesus comes again! The weekly themes for Advent will engage the biblical story, honing in on our longing for God’s saving work, the hope found in God’s promises, and our preparation for the coming of Jesus.
While many celebrate Christmas for one or two days before quickly shifting their focus to New Year’s, the Church spends 12 days in a season known as Christmastide. Following the preparation of Advent, Christmastide is a time of joyfully praising God for sending his Son to earth. As people who live in a fast-paced, hyper-scheduled society, spending an extended time celebrating the coming of Jesus might seem strange to us. That is exactly why this season is so important. By taking time to ponder God’s amazing work and praising God for his steadfast love and grace, we will realize that worship should be the undergirding theme of our lives. The weekly themes for Christmastide are joy and mission: leading us to praise God with unbridled joy, and then going into the world to proclaim the work of Jesus, the Savior of that world!
How to Use this Devotional
Read through this brief guide so you are familiar with how to use each part of this devotional as we walk through Advent and Christmastide together.
This is a short segment of Scripture that coincides with each of the weekly themes. Use it as a prayerful introduction to prepare your heart for time in God’s Word, and as a word of hope and blessing as you go into your day. (Note: all Scripture is from the ESV.)
Daily Scripture Readings:
The passages selected for each day follow the redemptive narrative in Scripture, which anticipates the coming of Jesus. Read these once, then look to the Dwelling for further meditation.
Follow these rotating instructions to slow down, engaging with the daily Scripture reading in a way that drives you to the Lord in prayer.
These prompts flow from the weekly themes and daily Scripture readings. They can be used for both private and corporate prayer in your homes.
These prayers are based on historic confessions of the Church and were written by members of Green Lake Presbyterian Church. The intent of these prayers is for you to engage with the Church, both past and present, as we anticipate and celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior. The confessions and catechisms used in this guide are:
- BGC – Belgic Confession
- BHC – Belhar Confession
- CD – Canons of Dort
- HC – Heidelberg Catechism
- NCC – New City Catechism
- WSC – Westminster Shorter Catechism
- WLC – Westminster Larger Catechism
We offer our thanks to those who contributed to these confessional prayers:
Rachel Beatty, Steve Beatty, Judy Davis, Elisabeth Haggard, Morgan Knighton, Matthew Lanser, Tim Mesikepp, Andrew Perkins, Jessica Ribera, Emily Rose, Kevin Timmons, and Anna Van Wechel.
Since our journey through Advent is both a communal and individual experience, there are no daily devotionals assigned for Sundays. Corporate worship with your local church serves as the devotional for the day. While at church, consider striking up a conversation with someone about what God has been teaching you during this season. Please note that the very first day of Advent this year is a Sunday, so there will not be a devotional for that day.
All Scripture passages taken from the English Standard Version® (ESV®). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway.
Design and layout by Steve Hardin. www.checksteveout.com