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Trust

Trust - Advent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario
Photo credit: Lawrence OP

The Christmas story from the earliest days of the Old Testament prophets, as well as through individual experience, is repeatedly one of trust. Already we have twice (in three days) read of God’s reassurance, “do not be afraid”. We may not witness angels as we imagine them, but our prayers are heard and answered.


Dear Lord, empowering God,
In this busy world, slow us down and give us pause to contemplate your mystery. Open our ears and our hearts to hear your voice in our lives. Give us faith to trust in your purpose for each of us, even when we can’t see the path ahead.
Amen.

Luke 1: 11-15, 17-19

11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Accept

Accept- Advent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario
Photo credit: Lawrence OP

The magnitude of what Joseph was asked to accept, the leap of faith he made, dwarves the day to day setbacks and irritations we grumble over. As we begin a period of excitement and heightened expectations, what can we accept that will bring us comfort and peace?


Dear Lord, caring God,
Comfort and sustain us in this time of anticipation and hope, and preserve us from disappointment or discontent. Ground us in your love, remind us that we are your children, and we are always enough.
Amen.

Matthew 1:18-21

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Hope

Hope - Advent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

It’s that time of year again, and if we’re taken aback at how quickly Christmas is approaching, we’re going to be just as disconcerted about how quickly it’s over. But the return of the Advent period can be a chance to reflect and be renewed; to remember that God provides encouragement and endurance, the two vital ingredients of hope.


Dear Lord, most patient Father,
Remind us each day of the difference you make in our lives, the encouragement your teachings provide, and your constant presence with us, whether in times of joy or adversity. Reassure us that you are always by our side, a whispered prayer away, loving us without end.
Amen.

Romans 15: 4-6, 13

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.