Adventures in Advent

With the arrival of Advent comes the retelling of the Christmas story.

I have heard it many times…
in song, through drama, or by a reader at church. I have read the story to myself, and to my children.

This year, I am doing something different.

I have never read the whole story in the Message version before.
The NIV, ESV, NASB, KJV versions? Yes. So this Christmas, I am going to revisit a familiar historical based story- how Jesus came to us as a baby- as seen through the Message.

You see, I have always thought of the Word as the living Message, so I am quite excited to see what will unfold through changing my expectation of the familiar.

Keeping myself on my toes so to speak.

Not only will it be a less familiar translation, I am going to look through each of the Gospels one day a week for each of the topics I felt to cover this Advent.

Matthew- the tax collector
Mark- the writer
Luke- the doctor
John- the fisherman

Four men whose encounter with Jesus changed them each forever.

Pull up a cozy chair, your bible, and let’s let the Christmas Message speak to our hearts anew this Advent…

As I was in worship this past Sunday, the following headlines came to mind:

Preparing the Way.
Trusting a Teen.
Depending on a Doubter.
Making Space.
Following His lead.
Accepting the Gift.

I have decided to take look at how each writer recorded their viewpoint based on how they heard the Christmas Story.

Let’s reawaken the desire to share this part of His story, the Greatest Gift God has every given us.

For with the arrival of eternal God into our finite time line,  this event rippled across the universe & the heavens, forever changing the world it encountered.

Advent is the story reminding us of God’s primary Message from creation’s foundation to the end of revelation:
God is with us,
the Message of Christmas!

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hope is a person

After many years of living without hope, surviving as best i could, I reached the end of myself.

I knew something had to change, because life was empty, and so was I.

I had brief moments of glimpses of real living, usually through song lyrics or a brilliant sunrise…but nothing that lasted.

Until I came to the end of myself one night.

I heard a song taking about heaven, and decided I wanted to know more.

After many conversations with friends, a lot of reading and study….it came down to whether Jesus was who He said He was.

And I couldn’t disprove it.

A God who sent His son to live under tyranny and oppression?

A Man who fully depended on God to supply for not only all His needs, but His source of power?

The One who gave His life out of love for all, so that all could live?

Who rose again, revealed Himself to those who knew Him best, defeating the grave?

The writings and history of that time are not at odds with one another. They don’t contradict, but seem to complement.

Which leads truth to be the likely outcome, as lies are usually full of holes and far fetched incidents, unlike Jesus’ entire time here on earth.

Predicted in the Old Testament by numerous sources.
Witnessed by thousands, those He lived with.
Lives touched with freedom, healing, restoration, love.
Words spoken from a heart on fire to please His Father, and walked out for 33 years on display for all to see.
Crucified for no crime other than being God.
Died, buried under Roman guard, abandoned to death by the church leaders of His day.
Announced by the stone rolled away, the grave is now empty. The guard nowhere to be seen.
Heralded by angel that He is risen.
Revealed to one woman crying at the gravesite.
Shown to two disciples walking on the road, feeling hopeless.
Seen by His closest friends, eating and chatting together.
Restored to be fully human and fully God all rolled into one.
Jesus.

A living hope.
The one who can raise from the dead is able to make new all that need new life.
From the inside out.

Hope.

We cannot live a full life without it.

Jesus is alive.
He is with me.
I am His.

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My hope is alive.
Jesus is my hope.

He has shown Himself to me in too many ways to list.
My life has never been the same since our first encounter, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The moment I gave my life to Jesus, and asked Him to help me live for Him instead, everything changed for the better.

My hope is alive.
And I am not trading Him in.
I am holding on to Him, His Word & His promises.

Hope.

Living without it for so long makes me extra thankful for having it.

Don’t live without hope any longer than you have to.
PS. You don’t have to.

Hope is waiting for you to invite Him in.