November 25, 2016

The Season of Advent begins on Sunday! I always look forward to this time of year. Each morning during Advent, Marsha and I set our alarms a little bit earlier than usual to sit by the fireplace and enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree, with our coffee and devotionals in hand!

I’m also looking forward to the sermon series we have planned for Advent this year. The series is titled, “The Roadmap to Bethlehem,” and I wanted to give you a glimpse into the treasures I believe we can uncover when we look at this journey, together.

#1: Embrace the Mystery
Sometimes it feels like there are more questions than answers in our lives and we, as human beings can really struggle with mystery! We long to know the answers and put all of the pieces together. What does it mean for us to follow God and see all of the ways God reveals himself to us? I believe the three wise men are an incredible example of embracing mystery! They decided to follow a star, not knowing it would take them to a cattle stall where they would see the face of God! When we embrace the mystery and experience all that God has for us, we just might come face to face with God himself.

#2: God’s grace
I think so often we get down on ourselves, we don’t like ourselves or we are disappointed in ourselves.  You and I live in a lot of regret.  You look back in your life and you start focusing on mistakes and failures in your life and it is easy to look back with a lot of regret and a sense of failure. When we feel bad about ourselves, we forget that God has a message of grace that says you are forgiven, you are loved, you are still special in God’s eyes, He STILL wants to bless your life and use you to help change this world. There are countless examples of God’s grace throughout the Bible! You’ve got to remember to stand in God’s grace to know that YOU still have something to do, God still wants to use you.  The irony of a “Roadmap to Bethlehem” is that we always think we have to “find God” and seek his grace, but the reality is that God is always with us and is always looking for ways to open our eyes to His presence and grace in our lives.

#3: Spirit of Hope
If you’ve ever had a child or grandchild or even held the baby of a close friend, you know, that just holding this baby and looking into their eyes, does something to your heart! It opens you to love. Any new parent will tell you that life can be hard with a newborn, but you automatically look at things different, you feel the hope of the child. The hope of having a baby changes your world and that’s exactly why we celebrate Christmas, because a baby was born to change the world, forever.