Yes, Advent actually began on November 29, and yes we are now over a week into it. I know, I know. But in truth, I've never actually participated in Advent before, and wasn't planning on it this year either. But the idea sort of fell into my lap, albeit belatedly.
First, my friend Derek texted me on Sunday because he was visiting New York City and had decided to stop by Trinity Grace, the church I used to attend when I lived there. He was raving about the message given by Jon Tyson called "Hope for Humanity", and it was the first in a series the church is doing on Advent. Of course I had to listen to it, and yes it was incredible.
From there I found out Trinity Grace had put together an Advent reading Devotional, and oddly enough, my husband was actually reading it! (Back in July, there was one particular Sunday when Paul and I were both feeling exhausted and knew we had to work that evening at the restaurant so we thought: What if we skipped church today and had a relaxing Sunday at home? Instead of rushing around and trying to get to church, we created our own Sabbath by sleeping in, making a pot of coffee and listening to a message from the Trinity Grace podcast. It turned out to be exactly what we needed, and Paul has been hooked on their podcast ever since.)
When I finally checked out the Advent Devotional myself yesterday, I was immediately hooked. The devotional is divided into three sections of scriptures to read, questions to journal about, and ancient prayers to mediate on throughout your day. The first of the assigned scripture readings is from Psalm 146, and it was so beautiful, I will share it with you here:
The Happiness of Those Whose Help Is the Lord
"Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
While I live, I will praise the LORD;
I will sing praises to my God while I
have my being.
Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth.
In that very day, his plans perish.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob
for his help.
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked he turns
The LORD shall reign forever--
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!"
I know I'm way behind schedule -- and you will be too if you decide to join in -- but so what? I say, start at the beginning and continue one week after everyone else stops. That's what I plan on doing, and if you'd like to check it out, here is the link to the devotional PDF.
I have a good feeling about this :)
~ Christy ~