Whew! I made it through 2014, not completely unscathed but no irreparable damage. I’m excited about this new year and not in the same way we get excited about the chance at a fresh start but with a sense that this is going to be a very different year, and different in a good, positive and productive way. God started the preparation for this year in a very cool way. We were a week or so into December and my daughter, Ashley, texted my sister and I and asked us to do an Advent devotional with her from SheReadsTruth. Even though we were coming in late we decided to start at the beginning and each day, whomever was able to get to the devotional first, would write their thoughts on that days study and send it to the other two in an email and text and let us know that we had started. We just keep adding to the same email so that we have each of our thoughts from when we started to that day.
I’ve never done an Advent devotional but as a Christian whose celebrated the true meaning of Christmas since she was born I kinda wondered if this would be boring. I laugh at that now because it’s been anything but boring and absolutely amazing doing this with my daughter and my sister. It’s awesome to read something and then get three different perspectives and especially the differences that come from generational gaps. My sister and I are in our 40’s and Ashley is in her mid 20’s and while there are unique perspectives in our views due to our ages and experiences there are also a lot of similarities in the message and theme we are getting from the Holy Spirit as we embarked on this journey. As we embark on a new path that is this new year I felt compelled to share some of the insights that we’ve come away with as we’ve trod through the period leading up to the birth of our Savior. It’s fitting really, to have the opportunity to really meditate on this event as we look to our Heavenly Father in inquiry, wondering what this new year has for us. I’m expecting some amazing experiences and breakthroughs as I feel that through this process I’m in a much better position to hear Him more clearly and be much more sensitive to His leadings.
- Belief – As we looked at the old testament and our forefathers we saw people who believed when there was no physical reason to believe, in fact there was every reason to doubt and yet time and again these pillars of our Christian heritage chose to believe God over their circumstances. Not perfectly but even in their broken human nature they kept pressing on forward into God’s promises.
- Hope – When things got to a place where they felt they just couldn’t see how God was going to do what He promised they would continue to choose to have hope. The enemy, satan, tries to strip us of hope but we are not those without hope and the promise of a Savior and all that He would and did do for us they believed without even truly understanding how transformational His work would be.
- Heritage – Regardless of where we come from we have a heritage of faith once we enter God’s family. We are made daughter’s of our Heavenly Father and with that comes a heritage and a legacy that we are now a part of. It’s brought a thankfulness for my earthly family who have been Christians for many generations and it’s also brought a sense of pride as a mother that I am ushering my children into a spiritual heritage that has so much history and influence on this generation and generations to come.
- The Unexpected – If you really take a look at how God does what He does it is NEVER how we humans think it should be done. Even though Jesus’ birth was foretold and passed down generation to generation very few people believed it when He arrived because He didn’t come through a mighty king, born in a palace and announced to the world. He did have some fanfare, a group of shepherds got heralded by a huge choir of angels, three whole wise men saw His coming in a dream and, hmmm, that was about it. Oh, and he was born in a barn. God continues to remind us that His ways are not the world’s ways so I’m not sure why we keep looking for Him to do things the way we think they should be done!
- He’s in Control – God orchestrated each step of the way and nothing that satan does or man does stops His plan forward. We all kept being reminded that if we let God be God in our lives He will see that we receive what He’s promised us in His Word. The Old Testament is full of promises and prophecies and God kept them every single time. There’s comfort in that knowledge and God keeps reminding us, He is faithful!
- He is Light – If we let Him He will show us where we need to let Him in, areas we think we’ve got hidden or just aren’t ready to let Him deal with yet. He is the light of the world and He wants to be light and truth to us in every area of our life.
- Audacity – The audacity of what God does in the middle of what appears to be mundane circumstances and the audacity of His children to grab hold and believe!
I could go on, and actually we are still in the middle of the devotional and planning our next one but I’m so thankful that Ashley asked us to do this because it caused me to take something I took for granted (the season of Christmas) and dig into it and because we started late I’m not ending the thought of the work of Jesus’ birth on Christmas but taking it into my embracing the joy of a new year! So, as we start this year my focus is not on my plans but on the One who made it possible for me to have hope, expectation and the knowledge that I am perfectly suited for what He will use me to do and be just as our forefathers were each perfectly suited for their role in the time they lived. I say, “Well hello!” to a new year and I’m excited to see what God has for each one of us that we are specifically suited for!
A Daughter’s Prayer – Abba, this is it, we’re all the way in. Because of Jesus we can have the same faith as Abraham. We are having the audacity to have the trust in You that comes when everything around us screams, “Impossible!” We dare to hope, believe, rely on and trust You. We have the audacity to believe and be confident in the fact that Your promises apply to us. We won’t be defeated or turned away or denied. We are the righteousness of God in Christ! We are who God says we are and we have what God says we have and no devil is going to keep us from the love of our Abba. Our Abba who runs to us, showers us with affection and overcomes us with gifts and honor even though we don’t deserve it. We are children of the Most High and we are His workmanship, created for good works in Christ! In Jesus’ holy name, amen.