ADVENT DEVOTION | LET US ADORE HIM

This last Advent Devotion comes to us from Emily Evans. 

“O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant come ye,
O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels!
O come, let us adore Him ,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

O Come Let us Adore Him. We sing those words every Christmas season, but why?

O come let us adore Him! This song is inviting us, God’s faithful people to come. Many Christmas songs sing about Jesus coming to us, but this song is about us coming to Him. Jesus – that sweet baby born in a manger, no room for Him at the inn, surrounded by farm animals, stinky smells, and no heat. What was special about this baby? And why should we come adore Him?

Every Christmas we celebrate the birth of this baby, who was, and is, King – King of all Kings. The king that for years and years people waited, hoped, and prayed for. He finally came, and came in the most un-kinglike way possible. (Are we waiting, hoping, and praying for His second arrival, just like they did many years ago?)

When Jesus was born many were confused and didn’t believe that He was actually the king they had been waiting for, but we have the advantage of hindsight – we know the rest of the story! Jesus grew up, He taught and loved, and when He was just thirty-three years old, He died. He died on a cross – a terrible death – to save each of us who accepts Him. That is something to go and adore! Let us go adore this baby that was born to save us!

My prayer for us all is that as we approach Christmas this year, and after Christmas has come and gone, that we are in a constant state of adoration for Christ our King. Doing this will help prepare our hearts and minds for the birthday of Christ; and although we have so much to look forward to on Christmas, what Jesus has done is worthy of so much more than being loved, worshipped, and adored on only one day of the year. So, again I say, “O Come Let us Adore Him!”

 

Emily Evans has been a camper at Delanco and served on many weekly staffs. She was married this past June here at camp and now serves at Sicklerville Church as Director Children’s & Family Ministries.

ADVENT DEVOTION | GOD HAS A PLAN

Today’s Advent Devotion comes from Jack Broomell. Check back each day for a new devotion.

Everyone is gearing up for Christmas and some might even have all their shopping done, while I have about 20% done. While I write this devotion I am coming off of my first Christmas party with my new youth group. While I reflected on all the logistical things, I also got a chance to reflect on where my life has gone, not just in the past year but my entire life. If you know me, then you know that I never expected to be a youth pastor, let alone involved in the church. This got me thinking about the story of Christmas and the story of God.

I feel as though we give “randomness” too much power in our lives. I can personally testify that as I look back I see how the paths I chose eventually led me to God and the direction He wanted me to go in. We often don’t realize the plan that God has for us and for the world. One of the greatest reminders? The birth of Jesus! In Luke 1:27-37 we see God jump into this world to reveal his plan to Mary. Before this Mary was just another face in the crowd. At this point it had been a few hundred years since God had stepped in. God made it clear that it wasn’t about her plans, but it was about His.

After that Mary didn’t hear from the angel again and she might have felt abandoned or that everything is random. She now is carrying a child to a town that is 80 miles away and she is unable to share her true story. Herod is trying to kill her child and then proceeds to kill other children trying to find Jesus. Then as Jesus grows up she sees her son beaten and crucified. In that moment she probably thought that it was all random, that by chance Jesus was unjustly punished. We have the vantage point of knowing exactly how that turned out.

This Christmas season try to remember that God has a plan in motion for all of us and for this world. Let us all respond like Mary did in Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said”. We as people always tend to look for a purpose in the world, sometimes we find it right away, other times we can take awhile. With Christmas here, we are reminded that life isn’t as random as it seems, God is making a story and wants to use every one of us. There is a divine story unfolding that we are called to be apart of. I for one am thankful that God brought me into his plans and chose me to be where I am today. This Christmas I am thankful for an active and loving God. He doesn’t interrupt His plans, only ours.

 

Jack Broomell has been on weekly volunteer staff, a speaker, and retreat dean at Delanco. He is currently the Director of Youth Ministries at St. John’s UMC in Turnersville, NJ. 

ADVENT DEVOTION | WONDER

 

My wife, Leah, was recently reading through the latest edition of Magnolia Magazine. The theme for the issue was “Wonder.” That word has stayed with me over the last couple of weeks and has shaped how I’ve been navigating this Advent season.

Wonder is something that often escapes me. I like to be in the know, to be prepared, to be certain. To approach things with a sense of wonder indicates that there’s something unknown, something to be surprised by, something to be unsure about. I’ve fallen into the trap as seeing that as a weakness. I’ve bought into the lie that knowing and being certain is a sign of strength and superiority. But God has challenged me to approach this Advent with wonder – to put aside my pride and my certainty.

It was Herod’s desire to know, to be prepared, and to be certain that lead him to tragically miss the importance of the one born ‘King of the Jews.’ All of Israel was certain what their King would look like, so no one thought to look in a manger…much less on a cross.

John 1 tells us, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” When we replace childlike wonder with the sin of certainty, we miss what God is actually doing in search of what we think He should be doing.

If you’ve spent any amount of time as a Christian, you know what Christmas is about. You’ve heard the story time and time again. With enough time we become so familiar that we are certain there are no more surprises. This isn’t just true at Christmas either. We’ve heard the sermons, the youth group lessons. We’ve been out to camp and gone to the altar and returned home. We know what to expect. We become calloused and cold to what God is doing. Let us shed what we think we know. Let us shed our certainty. Let us come and adore Him.

Christmas should leave us with plenty of wonder. The infinite becomes infant. The maker becomes man. The divine becomes despised.

This Christmas I invite you to a sense of wonder. The creator of the universe who breathes out stars and measures the heavens with the breadth of his hand lies naked and crying in a dirty manger. Let us put off all pretense of certainty and instead be left to wonder.

 

Dave Hallahan has been a camper, volunteer staff member, speaker and  worked summer staff at Delanco. He serves as a youth pastor at Hope Christian Fellowship in Woodbury.