I thought everyone might enjoy an advent devotional written by one of our fine M.Div. students, Shirley Womble. 


May you discover anew the peace, hope, love, and joy of Jesus during this season! 


Advent Devotional 

A Time to Prepare
Luke 1:5-24, 57-80; 3:1-20
            Zechariah was a Jewish priest whose wife, Elizabeth, was the cousin of Mary (Jesus’ mother). Zechariah and Elizabeth had lived righteous lives of service to God, yet they had no children.  One day as Zechariah was about his duties in the sanctuary of the Lord he was visited by the angel Gabriel. The angel told him that he and Elizabeth would soon have a son who would be named John. John would bring his family great joy, but he would serve a much greater purpose on Earth. John would be the one to lead the way in preparation for the birth of the Messiah. “He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God… he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1: 16-17) Just as the angel had said, Elizabeth gave birth to a son. Zechariah rejoiced at the birth of his son praising God for both his own child and for the promised Messiah. He blessed his child saying, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins, by the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break among us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 76-79) When John was grown, he went throughout the land proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. His was “a voice crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’.” John preached that those who have experienced repentance should bear fruit demonstrating their changed heart. He held people to a higher moral law demanding generosity, honesty, and integrity in preparation for the coming Messiah. 
            This Advent season, what are you doing to prepare for the coming Messiah? Certainly your preparations, like mine, will include decorations, shopping, and special traditions enjoyed with family and friends. You and I will likely attend special programs and services at church and in the community to celebrate the coming Messiah. But what will you do to personally prepare your soul for the Lord? What fruits will you bear that show you have encountered the Lord? This season is a time of preparation. Take the time to reflect on God’s blessings. Remember the day of your own salvation and acknowledge God’s many mercies. Seek out the light which will guide your feet into the way of peace. This Advent season may your heart overflow with generosity. May your words and deeds reflect the new creation you have become in Christ. In this way, you will prepare yourself for the coming Lord and you will be a voice in our world that prepares others to receive him too! Let’s prepare together for the coming of our Lord!
Shirley Womble


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