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Spiritual Growth

The Proof is in the Manger – Advent Devotional Day One

By Andrea Olson

1st Sunday of Advent

Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Isaiah 9:6 “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 1 Peter 1:13 “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.”

Romans 15:13 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Has Heaven heard the groanings of our hearts

Has Heaven seen us stumble through the dark

When will Messiah make His arrival And turn things upside down

Jesus come and save us from ourselves

           -Lyrics from “The Proof”

 

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it must have been like waiting for the Messiah. They had heard for generations about the coming Messiah. They were waiting for this One who would save them, rescue them. But they had been waiting, hurting, groaning, and stumbling for so many years. They needed a Savior. But they were able to hang on to one thing… Hope. They knew with absolute certainty that He would come. They had hope in the promises that God had made generations before. Hope in the God who delivered them before. And hope that He would do it again.

Today, at the start of Advent, we pause to reflect on the hope we have in Jesus and that He is coming back again. Maybe you find yourself in a place of doubt, especially with all the division and challenges around us. Perhaps you feel like you’re hurting, groaning, or stumbling and wondering if He sees you…if He is indeed coming again.

Waiting is hard. Can you relate? I know that I can. However, we have a powerful opportunity to thrive in our waiting. How? We must prepare while we wait. It is an active waiting. It looks like daily saturating ourselves in the Truth of Scripture, which has a cumulative impact on our future. And then, when we need to remember hope, we have a reserve from which to draw.

Advent is an opportunity to practice active waiting. A chance to pause and reflect on the beauty and brevity of what God has done, is doing and will do for us. It allows us to continually prepare our hearts to remain soft and open to Him.

Each day this week, I challenge you to return to this section and read the Scriptures linked here every day, whether alone or with your family. Let them wash over you and remind you of Truth. I also challenge you to try different translations each day. The Passion Translation, NIRV, and NLT are great companions to help us gain a greater understanding. As you reflect (alone or with your family), grab your journal, pray the prayer below and then listen. Write down what He speaks to you. As you prepare your heart for the coming weeks, may the Words of Truth in these scriptures remind you of the hope we have in our Jesus.

Lord, thank you for the Hope that I have in Jesus. I know He is coming again, but sometimes I struggle with doubt in the waiting. Today I choose to prepare in the waiting actively. Help me to keep my heart open and soft towards you. As I pause here and declare your Truth, what do You want me to remember today?

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