Years ago, back when the First Sunday of Advent fell on December 1st, I wrote a Daily Advent Devotional for Women that followed along with the Jesse Tree readings. As mommas, sometimes our only “devotional reading” is what we read with our children. Sometimes, by the time we get to our own devotional reading, we’re tired. I wrote the devotional using the readings common for the Jesse Tree because when we sit down to read, I want our brain to already recognize the words. If our brain already recognizes the words, our heart can get started on the meaning. Basically, the introductions have already been made, not it’s time to start the conversation, that’s I see it when using the same readings. Today, I want to share a reflection of mine after reading the Daily Advent Devotional for Women on Day 23.
Daily Advent Devotional for Women Day 23
Christ as Emmanuel (God is With Us)
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Are we ready? I don’t mean is all of our Christmas shopping finished? I’m not asking if you’re linens are washed and your silver polished–mine never are simply because we don’t own linens or silver. A more accurate question for this momma of many would be, “Do you have enough milk, toilet paper, and dark chocolate?” But back to you, I don’t want to know if your Christmas menu is planned. This whole month has been spent in preparation–but have we been preparing for the right things? Have we been preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, the King of Kings, the Savior of the world. Have we been preparing for the Baby King?
The time of waiting is a time of testing. There is nothing else to do but trust in the living God. There is nothing harder for an imperfect soul like ours to do than to learn that we ourselves can do nothing and all things are done by God.
The time before birth always seems longer than any other. Maybe God made it seem so long so that we would be forced to wonder about Him–the Father of ourselves and of our children.
We are with God, and we must look at Him with the eyes of faith in those long nights of anticipation.
Birth and death are sisters, the strange twins who bridge the verge between eternity and time. The hour of birth draws near and no woman in the world can be completely free of fear. It is not pain or danger that haunts us most. Though we may not have the words to capture it there is in us an awe at the fact that there will be one moment when life and death graze in passing.”
Blessed is the Fruit, from “How to Have a Baby” which appeared in St. Joseph Magazine by April Ousler Armstrong.
I have never been able to get that last line out of my mind, “…there will be one moment when life and death graze in passing.” Are we ready for the moment in time when eternal life and death graze in passing in the stable? I’ve never really considered it in that light, but it’s true and true on so many levels I don’t know that I could ever exhaust meditating on it. What does that mean to you?
This graze of death and life come in the form of God made Man. Jesus came, born as a baby in a manger, to poor humble parents, so we might have life–and have it more abundantly. That was His sole purpose of coming down to earth–His life for ours. So this time of preparation, it hasn’t only been to prepare for the birth of Jesus. It has also been a time to prepare us for the new life we find in Christ alone. Have we made those preparations?
Christ’s birth overcame sin and death. And replaced it with this abundant life found in the Gospels, this life filled to overflowing with hope. Are we living an abundant life? A life filled to the brim and spilling over? A hope-filled life?
A synonym for hope is faith. Are we faith-full? A synonym for hope is belief. Do we believe? A synonym for hope is endurance. Do we endure?
This past year I wrote for 31(ish) days on Patience in the Bible and the word “endurance” kept coming up in that study. Luke 21:19 states, “By your endurance, you will gain your lives.” It’s all connected my friends–faith, hope, belief, endurance, patience–ETERNAL LIFE. And the preparations for the birth of Jesus is absolutely connected to our preparations for eternal life. It’s all so circular it almost doesn’t seem to make sense in my own mind.
Understand or not, the bottom line is more than 2,000 years ago a Baby was born in a tiny stable in the middle of the night so I could live. And what have my preparations consisted of some 2,000 years later? Turkey or ham? Tinsel or garland? White lights or colored? Stockings hung by the fireplace or on the banister?
It’s not too late friends. Get somewhere quiet, even if only the bathroom with the fan running or out in your car in the driveway or in the garage. Get somewhere quiet ask God, “How do YOU want me to prepare for the birth of Christ?” And then go and do–not one more thing, but God’s thing.
If you haven’t downloaded the free Daily Advent Devotional for Women, go ahead and do it. This Advent might be as good as almost over, but you’ll be ready for the next Advent.