Advent Devotion: Getting to know Him

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“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son, from the Father.” -John 1:14

I go to a Bible college, Lancaster Bible College that is. It takes about five minutes to walk from one end of the campus to the other. It is a very small campus, which makes it easy for everyone to know everyone. It is great; everyone knows everything about everyone. Or do they? It is easy for us to make that assumption.

Knowing a person is more than just knowing their name. It has to do with time; time being invested in the relationships. Getting to know people means learning people’s stories, knowing where they come from, knowing what makes them happy, sad, angry, and fearful. Those are just a few examples.

As I think about the people that I am thankful for who want to get to know me, I can’t help but think about Jesus. We serve a God who knows us. Psalm 44:21 says, “would not God discover this, for he knows the secrets of the heart.” God knows everything about us, and God loved us enough to send his Son to break the divide that sin created. Because of that grace we can know him also. As John says in his gospel, Jesus came to earth, so that we could come to know God. How great is that?!

That is part of the message of the babe in the manger. At Christmas we forget this. We tend to just read the story of his birth, and we neglect to remember that he did live 33 years after that. So let’s go beyond the story of the manger this Christmas and look at how he lived for those 33 years. What made him happy? What made him sad? What made him angry? How did he react in certain situations? What was his life like for all of those years?

In order to know people we can’t just know about the story of when they were born. We need to get to know their whole story. Knowing them means knowing how they do life. What makes them happy, sad, angry, and what is their story? This is the same for our savior. In order to know him these are some of the things that we have to look into. So my challenge this Christmas for you and I is to dive into the other years of his life also.

I want you to know that I am striving to do this also. Part of the reason that I feel so inclined to write this is because the last couple weeks I have felt convicted. Finals, classes, and some other things were taking up so much of my time. I wasn’t in the Word. Now instead of dwelling on that, I want to look ahead and dive into the Word this Christmas. My prayer is that you and I would get to know our savior on a deeper level this season. I don’t want to let the craziness of preparing for Christmas get in the way. Besides, Christmas preparations are no excuse for not doing that. We can come up with all of the excuses we want for not reading His Word. The list is long. I have presents to buy. I have presents to wrap. I have cookies to make. I have cookies to eat. I have to put up the tree. I have to decorate the tree.

What is the point of Christmas if we are too busy to truly get to know Jesus? If we get all that stuff done, but don’t take the time to learn about Jesus, then we have done all of this preparing in vain.

Em Taylor has worked on summer staff and is a student at Lancaster Bible College.

Advent Devotion: Our blessed hope

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As we continue on with Advent and draw closer to the celebration of the Christ Child, let us focus on two other aspects of Advent. We are just about ready to celebrate His first Advent.

We all know the story, how God visited us in a manger, and lived with us. This is what we concentrate on this time of year. However, another aspect of Advent that does not get a lot of discussion is His second Advent, or as we call it, the Second Coming.

Jesus promised us He would return, and that is one of the blessed hopes we as Christians have. Jesus will come again to take us home, to make all things right and we will see the defeat of sin and death. What a great anticipation!

But like the first believers, who thought Christ was coming in their time, they waited, and so are we, waiting. But let us not be sad that He has not come yet, for in a very real sense He has, and this is an aspect of Advent that is here, now!

He came as a baby, He will come in glory but right now, we have His blessed presence within us! This is also an Advent, when we look forward to His coming in our daily lives. This is something that we can rejoice in every day. We do not need to wait for Christmas to enjoy Advent, for we can enjoy it daily as we enjoy His presence, now!

Tom McCormick attended camp in his youth and is now a camper parent and volunteer at camp.

Advent Devotion: Give Everything

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Luke 1:35-38

Today as I was sitting in church my Reverend spoke about these verses and something stuck out to me. As I have been trying to find something to say that would feel like God’s words for the past few days, the words just wouldn’t come to me. Then I heard this:

Luke 1:35a The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

The power of the Most High will overshadow you meaning that it would enter Mary as she prepared for this long road ahead. God would enter her and be a part of her. How lucky is she? Mary was hand-selected by God to bare his Son who would save the world and God would enter her and help her to be able to do this. Mary’s response? “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” She gave her everything to let God’s will be done.

Even though she had a wedding to plan and a new life to begin with Joseph, she didn’t say no, or ask if she could get back to him, or even Yes, but can it wait until my calendar is clear. Mary didn’t yell at the angel and say “Can’t you see I am busy, I have so much to do.” She didn’t say yes and then find someone else to cover and do the job for her. She simply said okay.

As we enter the last week of Advent leading up to Christmas Day everyone can be busy and begin to feel overwhelmed. There are last-minute gifts to buy, cookies to bake, trees to decorate, plans to make, and tons of wrapping to be done. We focus so much on what is going on around us, we tend to miss the important things that God is trying to show us. However, we have the joy of opening our hearts to allow the power of the Most High to overshadow us and show us what his will is. Hopefully we can have the strength and wisdom that Mary had to say, “I am your servant Lord and I will do what you have asked.”

Lauren Moyer is a former camper who has served as a volunteer weekly staff member. She works as a school teacher.