Great Expectations: An Advent Devotional

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Our feet physically propel us forward. These empires that Israel experienced as forces of destruction, desolation, and deportation were now no more. However, in this moment Zion is rejoicing that exile is coming to an end.

God has looked upon their situation and deliverance is upon them. For people mired in the hopelessness of exile, beautiful were the feet of those who brought the message that God was with them. Some feet are beautiful. Beautiful are the feet of asylum seekers who have experienced trauma in their home countries and are determined to find a better life. Beautiful are the feet of peace and justice seekers who find their way from various parts of the United States to the borders to demand that our country treat migrants and immigrants with dignity.

Beautiful are the feet of protestors who march and gather and demand that this nation takes seriously the reality that Black Lives Matter. Beautiful are the feet of those who are unrelenting in their pursuit to ensure peace and justice. Yolanda M. In the passage for today, John the Baptizer takes center stage once again.

How could John have thought this message was what the crowd needed to hear? It was crossed out. This is the reality we are invited to lean into this Advent season. Then, looking close, he starts to see, the widow and her mite, the demon-wracked, the lepers at the gate. They were hill country people. Good-at-heart, we imagine, or mostly so. They gathered to do right by the baby, to make sure the rules were followed. Breaking the naming rules for Ancient Israel risked opening the door to assimilation.

One way of setting a hedge around the little nation. To a savior who looks forward more than back. To what is new and next.

Advent and Christmas – The United Methodist Church

The graciousness that began flowing into the world with the birth of John is the same graciousness God offers us. A graciousness that levels the rough places, hedges, and walls — and draws us into the new. Oh, and p. Gabriel is doing some serious holy bomb dropping in the first Chapter of Luke. Whether this be news of diagnosis, of miraculous healing, of profound loss, or unexpected new life — world-altering surprises can stop us in our tracks.

What catches my eye in this passage is the way that our stunned parents-to-be respond to their respective, life-altering news. Zechariah enters into months of silence. Elizabeth enters seclusion for five months, and Mary seeks spiritual companionship with Elizabeth. Silence, solitude, and spiritual companionship, and to what end? When Zechariah breaks his prolonged silence he proclaims words of praise and prophecy — what a shift from his previous doubt and disbelief. And Mary, in seeking companionship, experiences encouragement that supports her in engaging with the profound Mystery that has entered her life, that she is carrying and nurturing for the world.

Holy silence, sacred solitude, and spiritual companionship — what invitations these seem to be to me as we face the mystery and profound surprises of our lives. They are so different from, and a great counter to, other natural responses to life-altering news which for me have included: efforts to control it all, a desire to clean things up, to move to the next stage before it is time, or to deny what is going on all together.

Certainly there is no encouragement towards logic.

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No, the work of a shepherd sounds tedious. Constantly repeating oneself, the same flick of the staff to guide the sheep back in. Like an airplane Marshaller, without the audience or the thrill of take-off.

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Just the tinkling of bells. The occasional mew that one could choose to interpret as appreciation. The ruffle of wind in the grass. And yet, this lowly role describes our Holy Messiah. Again and again, Scripture attempts to inspire by portraying the coming Ruler as just this shepherd. For it is this form of saving love that we so desperately need. The Ruler who guides each of us as precious and unique, as one of the flock.

The Ruler willing to walk with us through the tedium of our day to day… The Ruler who is with us through the boring moments of crickets. The Ruler who calls us back when we walk again into the places that threaten to destroy us. It is this form of tender mercy that we need.

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The Ruler who leads us beside still waters, to cool our parched throats. The Ruler who provides nourishment needed to go on.

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The Ruler who sheers us with such care that we are not cut. The Ruler who lures us to peace. May we prepare ourselves for such a Ruler to come: a Shepherd Ruler with the patience that we need to be led. Philippians And rejoice again! Rejoice is something we say and do to express ourselves when something wonderfully wonderful has happened. This single word enables us to acknowledge when we have received something special. Very special. Something so unique that, in this world, there is only one. We rejoice and we celebrate!

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Something exceptional and extraordinary has happened and with it comes unspeakable joy. And with this joy comes a new life into existence. Someone new to love. I rejoice! My family rejoices!

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  • My children and husband rejoice! All of our loved ones rejoice and thank God because we have received a very special gift from God. Our prayers have been answered. You answered our prayers. And God did! God gave us a reason to Rejoice! We rejoice because we can say that we truly know love and experience gratitude for life. New life. Less than 24 hours and 35 years ago, my beautiful, loving, brilliant, gentle, kind, thoughtful and compassionate daughter, Riana Richelle Shaw Robinson was born.