Advent Reflections – Week Two
Posted on December 6, 2020 | Posted by Mary Stoneback
WEEK TWO: The Prophet Micah had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem was also the birthplace of King David, who shepherded there. Shepherding was a humble work. In this season, Bethlehem reminds us of God working through a humble community. We each have a role to play in God’s plan. Micah 5:2: The Prophet Micah had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (5:2), “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Bookmark this page for accessibility each day.
Advent Day Eight: Sunday December 6, 2020
Advent Day Nine: Monday December 7, 2020
It had been a while since we’d had a funeral at church. The pandemic had led families to have graveside services or postpone or cancel a service altogether. I had my first funeral in the sanctuary just a month ago. I had to remember how to do it! What were the prayers? Where do I stand? Running through the details I received an email that I hadn’t expected, but should have. Whenever there is a funeral at Ascension, there’s this one member who emails Pastor Dan and myself to say she’s praying for us as we offer comfort to the family. A small word of encouragement that meant a lot to me that morning.
Sitting six feet apart with masks and limited attendance can make it feel like God’s not present. But then through the compassion and love of another we are reminded that God fills the space in our rooms and in our hearts.
~Pastor Daniel Smith
Advent Day Ten: Tuesday December 8, 2020
If we look at the lives of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men — there was nothing easy about the journey to Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph had to leave the security of their home and travel to the city in order to register for taxation. Mary was about to give birth and the couple had nowhere to sleep, but they needed to make the trip in order to fulfill the prophecy (Micah 5:2) that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem. The shepherds were at work, watching their sheep, when the angel appeared to them and announced the birth of the Lord. Ignoring their fear, they left the familiarity of their workplace and traveled “in haste” to visit the newly born Savior. Upon their return, Scripture tells us that they “glorified and praised God for what they had seen” (Lk 2:20).
The magi were astrologers who were aware of the common belief that the Messiah’s birth would be announced by the appearance of a great star. While studying the stars, they were alerted to the great event by the appearance of a star in the East. Like the shepherds, they left their jobs and traveled to Jerusalem in order to inquire about the exact location of the Lord’s birth. When King Herod found out about their mission, he sent the men to Bethlehem, asking them to inform him of the exact location so he could also “worship” the Messiah. In reality, he wanted to eliminate a potential rival to his throne.
Traveling through this life, we all encounter ventures unknown. Yes, there are joys in the journey and yes, there are challenges of varying degrees. Wherever you may be in your journey today, may the following prayer be comfort for you along the way.
Prayer: O Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us, and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (From the Lutheran Book of Worship)
~Deacon Mary Stoneback
Advent Day Eleven: Wednesday December 9, 2020
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2
I did not want to go back to school as a sub. I had seen how the secretaries and the other teachers treated most subs, and it was barely even civil. But, I had bills to pay, so back I went. When I got to the front office, I was greeted warmly, shown where the classroom was, and introduced to the teacher next door, who seemed genuinely glad to meet me. I chalked it up to my first day there, and got on with the job at hand.
But it wasn’t just that day – they were kind and welcoming every day. They always thanked me for being there, and for giving my time to work with the kids. They appreciated my presence – and I began to understand that not all schools treat subs the same way.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the grace we see in surprising places. May it sustain and maintain us always. Amen.
Advent Day Twelve: Thursday December 10, 2020
Many years ago I spent time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was in December, and in the evenings looking up at the sky, I pictured myself as a traveler 2000 years earlier. In this very region travelers from Persia came en route to Jerusalem. It was very quiet and peaceful while I was there. There were no city lights or noises to distract from ones thoughts. Just wind and the sound of footsteps in the sand.
What thoughts must have been going through their minds two thousand years ago as they journeyed to a distant land? Travelers on a long and dangerous voyage through the desert. Not unlike us and our journey through life. But we have an advantage. We know that into this world a Savior came to earth for our salvation many years ago. He made his presence known; not with throngs of dignitaries, but with everyday people. The feeling of being in that place during Advent was one that I will never forget. It was where it all began.
Prayer: Lord please keep our hearts open to your presence not just in a manger, but in our fellow man every day of the year. Amen.
In God We Hope, 2012 Advent Devotional
Advent Day Thirteen: Friday December 11, 2020
Today, reflect on the following reading from Sunday’s service as you light the second Advent candle. How have you experienced God’s love this week?
Advent Wreath Candle Lighting
We praise you, O God, for this circle of light that marks our days of preparation for Christ’s advent. As we light the first candle on this wreath, rouse us from sleep, that we might hear the prophet’s call and be ready to greet the coming of our Lord. Enlighten us with your grace and prepare our hearts to welcome him with joy. Grant this through Christ our Lord, whose coming is certain and whose day draws near. Amen.
Advent Day Fourteenth: Saturday December 12, 2020
You’re invited to reflect on the following artwork by Kathy Mannerburg. What captures your attention? What might you draw or create today that communicates PREPARATION to you? Take time today to ‘stop’ from time to time and ‘notice’ what is around you. Then whether it’s through a spoken prayer or one in the silence of your heart or an artwork of your creation, take a few moments to ‘engage’ in what you notice.