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SBC Advent Devotional

Dec 03

Advent - December 11: The Angels Rejoice

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 12:00 PM by Shiloh Baptist Church

December 11: The Angels Rejoice

 

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:13-4

 

Angels fill the Christmas story. One appears to Mary. Another meets with Zacharias in the temple. Joseph sees an angel of the Lord in his dreams. Even the wise men presumably see an angel; at the very least, they hear the voice of God in a dream.

 

Angels are everywhere, and yet they seem most fully present when they appear to the shepherds. One angel arrives, urging the shepherds to not be afraid. A multitude—a countless host—then joins the angel in a celebration of Jesus’ birth.

 

And it is a celebration. The angels aren’t mere messengers; the passage in Luke says they praise God. They, like the shepherds and wise men, glorify God for what is taking place: God is here, among men.

 

The angels sing out in response. They can’t help it. The angels must rejoice. They have to shout God’s triumph. And we get to join them this Advent season. We sing, “Let angels shout the triumph, as mortals raise their voice. Behold, the Son of heav’n and earth, the King of Kings is born.” 

Dec 03

Advent - December 10: An Old, New Thing

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 11:56 AM by Shiloh Baptist Church

December 10: An Old, New Thing

 

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 2:13-4

 

God is unchangeable, and yet, he surprises us all the time. We think he works one way; he proves us wrong. We believe him to be more of one quality than another—as an example, we think him to be more loving or more vengeful than he is—and he reveals he encompasses both qualities equally.

 

Zacharias joins us in our misconceptions, suspicions, and uncertainty. He, a priest in the service of God, knew God’s actions intimately. He would have heard the stories, studied them, and spoken God’s word to the people. He, of all people, should have remembered how God worked in Abraham and Sarah’s lives.

 

Zacharias, however, questions the angel’s announcement. “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years” (Luke 1:18). He is surprised by God’s action, despite the blessing of a child coming to Abraham and Sarah years and years before. Zacharias questions the promise, and yet—God fulfills the promise in spite of him.

 

That fact should comfort and assure us. God answers our prayers despite our misunderstandings, doubts, and fears. He accomplishes his purposes because he is God, and we, fortunately, are not. 

Dec 03

Advent - December 9: Eternity and Evergreens

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 11:52 AM by Shiloh Baptist Church

December 9: Eternity and Evergreens

 

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity into their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

People honor Advent in a variety of ways. Some fast and pray for a period of time, as they do during Lent. Others use an Advent calendar to mark the days and remember the gift of a babe in a manger. In some churches, Advent takes yet another form: decorations. People set out evergreen trees, lights, and the Advent wreath with its symbolic candles.

 

The wreath, though, stands alongside the candles as a symbol. Like the trees, the wreath is evergreen. It also is a circle. The symbolism quickly becomes apparent—the wreath stands as a testament to eternity.

 

But perhaps the Advent wreath points to more than God’s eternal nature. It could simultaneously remind us of the life we receive through God’s Son, Jesus. In Christ, we partake of everlasting life (John 4:1-26). We become eternally evergreen.