Advent Readings: A Christmas of Heavenly Peace
Readings for the Advent Season
Peace . . . everyone wants peace. There is good news! God wants to give us peace. In fact, He sent Jesus expressly for that purpose. That's why Christmas is a season focused on peace. Unfortunately, because of the commercialization of the holiday, it is generally anything but a peaceful season. The parties, gift buying and financial stress are just the beginning of the death of our peace. One thing that can give us that peace that we long for during this season is turning our focus toward Christ. These readings are designed to do just that. Because the truth is if we continually look toward Christ instead of the trappings of the world, we will find peace . . . Not as the world gives, not even a kind we might think we're looking for, but when we find fulfillment in the Baby in the manger, we will find peace.
What Is Advent?
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas every year. It's a season that the church uses to prepare for Christmas, not purchase presents or having parties, but to get our hearts and lives ready to welcome Christ. The word advent comes from the Greek. It finds its root in the word for coming. So during advent we prepare for our celebration of Jesus' first coming while we look forward to Jesus' second coming. Advent is not just about Christmas, it's also about the second coming of our Messiah. These readings are designed to be read as you light a candle. You can use a single candle or a traditional advent wreath, but the candle or wreath are not at all necessary.
Peace in the Bible
It doesn’t matter which version of scripture you choose to read, you’ll find the word peace used about 150 times. Sometimes it’s used to warn people who are about to lose their sense of peace, and other times it’s part of a standard blessing spoken over God’s people. It’s remarkable how many times the word is used to give a promise or as part of prophecy. Often the word is spoken as a reminder of the peace God gave in the past or given as a word of hope for the present as well as the future. During Advent this year, we'll look at each of those uses of the word, and hopefully, by focusing on the One born to bring us true peace, we'll have our most tranquil Christmas celebration ever!
The First Week of Advent
The Candle of Promise
The First Sunday in Advent
A Reading for Sunday Morning
A Christmas of Heavenly Peace
The First Sunday of Advent
The Candle of Promise
I wonder how many people here have made promises. How many have broken promises? And how many have had promises made to them that have been broken? Because we are human we often make promises that are impossible to keep.
One of my favorite lines from “Finding Nemo” is when Dorie tells Marlin, “That’s a funny thing to promise. . . You can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun . . .” Marlin couldn’t keep his promise to not let anything happen to Nemo because things happened that were out of his control, and often the same thing happens to us.
But God can make promises, and better yet, God can KEEP promises, because NOTHING is ever out of God’s control. (light the first candle) Today we’re going to light the first candle of Advent. We’re going to call it the Candle of Promise. Did you know that there are more than 3,000 promises in the Bible, and most of them God has already kept?!
One of the most important promises God made that He’s already kept is the promise to send Jesus. That’s the whole reason we celebrate Christmas. We celebrate because God kept His promise! God promised to send someone to save the world, someone to watch out for us, someone to be our King and our shepherd. God promised to send someone who would give us peace. Christmas is our celebration of that promise kept. So today as we begin our Advent celebration, let’s remember that God is a God of many promises. He’s a God who keeps all of His promises and Christmas is the reminder of God’s promise kept.
The Second Week of Advent
The Candle of Blessing
The Second Sunday of Advent
Those Who Trust are Blessed with Peace
All over the world people are searching for peace. They look for it in books and governments, music and special days. Sometimes we even find it in quiet moments like the one you might be having right now. However, there is only one way to find real, everlasting peace.Isaiah spoke on God’s behalf for the best part of his life, and in these verses the prophet tells us that there is perfect peace for those who keep focused on the only One who can give true tranquility. That’s why Jesus was born. The Father sent Him to the manger to bring peace. Each time we begin to feel tension or frustration, we need to set our mind on Christ. As we truly trust in this One whose birth we are about to celebrate, we can be blessed with the perfect peace Isaiah promised. This season set your mind on Christ and enjoy His blessing of peace.
The Third Week of Advent
The Candle of Salvation
The Third Sunday of Advent
Salvation and Peace for God's Chosen
It’s no secret that Jacob, better known as Israel, is God’s chosen. It’s also pretty well known that the nation found themselves in a foreign land, lost and alone. And much like the people of Israel felt abandoned in a physical way, we often find ourselves feeling just as isolated in an emotional or spiritual sense.Fortunately, because Jesus was born in Bethlehem, when we make this baby our Savior, this promise from Jeremiah is for us, too! God wants to save his people, including followers of Jesus Christ, from “distant places.” The primary purpose of Jesus’ birth was to bring salvation. He gave up His place in heaven to be born into poverty so that His Spirit could give us peace and security. This week enjoy the salvation Jesus came to bring and embrace His Peace as God’s chosen people.
A Video Sermon - About the Candle of Salvation
Lynne had the opportunity to preach one Sunday this advent. It was short notice, her husband was called away unexpectedly, so this sermon is one without notes and only the preparation she had as she worked through these readings and prepared to lead worship, but it will give you an idea of her preaching style and her thoughts about salvation during this Christmas of Heavenly Peace.
The Fourth Week of Advent
The Candle of Tranquility
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Tranquility and Refuge in my Creator
Tranquility is a beautiful word. It brings visions of sunny places and quiet streams or perhaps this time of year, you’re picturing a snow covered field on a starry night. People constantly look for tranquil moments in their busy lives. As we begin the last week of Advent, the countdown to Christmas is in the single digits and much of the world population is scurrying around feeling anything but peace and tranquility. Isn’t is strange the way we let celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace rob us of the tranquility that God wants to give us. We look for peace in parties, lights and even church services. But our heavenly Father tells us to come to Him for refuge and peace. During these final days before Christmas, come to God, rest in His love. Take some time to forget about your to-do list and enjoy some tranquility in Christ.
The Candle of Christ
The Beginning of Heavenly Peace
It’s here! The day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. But how has it come in your life? Has the advent of Christmas been full of turmoil or overflowing with peace? After traveling nearly 100 miles over the length of perhaps a week on the brink of delivering a baby, Mary could have been less than peaceful. Add to that the disappointment of not finding an available bed upon their arrival and ending up in animal housing instead, the couple may have been feeling a bit anxious. However, almost every parent will tell you there is something unexplainable about the birth of your first child. As anxious and stressful as the hours leading up to the birth might be, the moments after it are almost magical, and except in extreme cases, peaceful. By the time the shepherds arrived on the scene, Mary was already treasuring and pondering. There were no gifts from the Wise Men yet, no promise of prosperity or even a room for the night. But there was something about that baby, maybe more than most, that brought peace and the opportunity to savor every moment, treasuring each one in her heart.This Christmas I pray we won’t treasure the gifts or the wrappings. I hope we’ll ignore the decorations and the meal. Instead I plan to appreciate the goodness of Christ, the beauty of His sacrifice, the majesty of His Father and the power of His Spirit. I want to ponder His Promises, bestow His Blessings, savor his Salvation and treasure His Tranquility as I learn to allow His Spirit to help me live in his Perfect Heavenly Peace.
© 2013 Lynne Modranski