We’re going to try to cover the four weeks of Advent in the next 4 days. Click on the link to get a copy of the Advent devotional guide. Here are the readings for Week 1 from “The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us”:
- John 1:1-18
- 1 John 1
- Psalm 139
- Colossians 1:11-20
- Psalm 104:24-35
- John 12:35-36
- Genesis 2:4-23
Week 1, Day 1
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us – John 1:14a
A lot of religious traditions from around the world and throughout time have deities that take on physical form, even human form, and roam about on the earth. But our God did it differently. He didn’t just take on the form of a man, He became a man with all the limitations, weaknesses and needs. No special power or privilege. He didn’t come as the greatest among humankind. Just an average baby born to an average couple under average circumstances. Joan Osborne lyrically asked, “What if God was one of us?” The answer is, “He was.”
There is another unique aspect of our God. He is the only one that serves His creation. Yes He has expectations of us, but He didn’t just demand things, He showed us. You want to know what it means to be devoted to God, look at how He is devoted to us. You don’t understand what it means to love God, look at how He loves us. He is all about mentorship, inviting us along to watch Him do everything He asks of us.
Week 1, Day 2
In the beginning was the Word – John 1:1a
Jesus always was. In the same way that God always was. He existed before everything we know came into being. He didn’t just come into being in Bethlehem. He took on flesh at that point. He came to be one of us in that moment, but there is never a moment when He was “not”. And as He always was, He always will be.
Ever existent extends in both directions. “Always was” is also “always is” and “always will be”. There’s a lot of comfort in that. He is a good thing that will never end. We sing “One Thing Remains” with the lyrics “His love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on [us]”. That’s so important when we grow up and live in chaos. It’s difficult to trust anything.
Week 1, Day 3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God – John:1:1-2
There’s a lot of mystery bound up in the idea of Trinity. Someday, we’ll have to talk about that some more. I’m afraid my views are somewhat heretical according to the evangelical church ( I suppose they would be heretical to the Orthodox and Catholic church as well. ). As difficult as it is to conceive of the infinite God becoming a finite man, in my mind, the concept of Trinity is even more difficult. Suffice it to say that I am speaking out of a whole bunch of ignorance on this topic.
One thing is clear – fellowship. From the beginning, Father and Son are one. Jesus talks about this often, how He and the Father are one. One mind. One spirit. One essence. This is what He calls us to. An end to “aloneness”. No isolation. Complete intimacy. That sounds like a very nice place.
Week 1, Day 4
All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. – John 1:3
Jesus was intimately involved with us before we existed. He is the creator as well as the savior. He knows how we work, what we need and what we should do. He not only knows us, He understands us. In Psalm 100 we read, “Know ye that the Lord He is God. It is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
This is not a disconnected, uninvolved God. He is not an “absentee” Father in Heaven.
Week 1, Day 5
In Him was life – John 1:4a
God did not create a sterile, inanimate world. He created it teaming with life. That life originates in Him. Later on we will read how He breathed life into man and how He sustains life. For now, it is sufficient to understand that He is the source of life. It originated with physical life, but it became clear very quickly that He is spiritual life as well. It is so much more than a beating heart and taking another breath. In real life, there is purpose and meaning. We find that in Him.
Week 1, Day 6
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep, And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. – Genesis 1:2a, 3
It was the Word of God that brought light to the dark formless void. When all was darkness, suddenly there was light. It is the same in the darkness of our life. He brings light to bring joy, purpose, hope and love – everything that gives life meaning. Without Him we stumble around in the dark, trying our best, but failing miserably. When we live with His light in our life, the path begins to appear in front of us. We have direction and sure footing. Yeah, we step off the path from time to time, but we have light to guide us back.
Week 1, Day 7
The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature – Genesis 2:7
In every other case, God spoke and it came into being. Man was different. It says he was formed by God from the dust of the ground and then God breathed life into him. There is something special about this breath of life. From the very beginning, man had a special place with God. It is clear that God is concerned with His creation, but there is a special care when it comes to man. We are not just a part of the creation. We are not like the animals. We are made in the image of God, by the hand of God.
Thanks for the Advent posts. I you don’t mind telling me, what is your faith tradition? I would like to re-blog this but I hesitate to do so, since my list encompasses a number of faith traditions. However, I have a group of men that I’m a part who I am going to send it to.
I am a Southern Baptist minister, the son of a Southern Baptist minister. The devotional material is from Lutheran Hour Ministries, written by Rev. Wayne Palmer. Though I affirm the Baptist Faith and Message of 1963, I have a somewhat eclectic personal tradition that bears little resemblance to the small country churches I grew up in. I have regularly incorporated both Advent and Lenten readings and traditions from Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox sources. The readings come from Rev. Palmer’s devotional guide and my comments reflect an interaction with both the devotional material and the scripture passages referenced.
Freely I have received. Freely I give.
thanks for the insights. I am a progressive Methodist and worked in a local congregation for over 20 doing marriage and family counseling . Our church is a member of an organization called TMO which is a part of the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) and we’ve been working in Alief and other venues in Houston. Keep in touch.
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