Advent Devotionals #24 & 25

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

DEC. 26 - WORTH THE WAIT


By Jeff Hochstetler, admission counselor



SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:22-40 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

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DEVOTIONAL:
Most people hate waiting. Perhaps even worse than merely
waiting is waiting for something promised to you. Your
stomach churns, nerves tingle and heart jumps at the thought
of its arrival. As a child, I remember waking my parents up
at 6:30 in the morning to open Christmas presents. Living
away from them now, I feel the same excitement about
returning back to my childhood home to see close friends and
family.

Waiting on God's promises feels no different. As if God
should answer to us, we often lament when things don't
happen when we expect them to. Now imagine, Simeon and Ana,
both righteous and upright, waiting many years for God's
promised Messiah. After many years, there was probably a
temptation to overlook the joy of God's coming promise with
their daily routines.

Waiting requires perseverance. And yet, do you suppose
that in all their years waiting that Simeon or Anna had ever
regretted waiting for that moment when they saw Jesus? The
face of God shone through the birth of a child, the infant
of an out-of-town young couple. God’s promise seems surreal;
an aging Simeon blessing the baby who is to become light of
the nations. God often works beyond our own expectations to
deliver promises. Surely the arrival of Jesus was worth the
wait.

Like Simeon and Ana, may we also learn what it means to
wait as we continually seek God’s mercies.

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SCRIPTURE: Psalm 148 (NRSV)
When the time came for their purification according to the
law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present
him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord,
'Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the
Lord'), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is
stated in the law of the Lord, 'a pair of turtle-doves or
two young pigeons.'

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;
this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the
consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It
had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would
not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided
by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the
parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was
customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and
praised God, saying,
'Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word; for my eyes have seen your
salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all
peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to
your people Israel.'

And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was
being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to
his mother Mary, 'This child is destined for the falling and
the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be
opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed
-- and a sword will pierce your own soul too.'

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of
the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived
with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as
a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple
but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to
speak about the child to all who were looking for the
redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had finished everything required by the law of
the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of
Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with
wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.



DEC. 25 - THE BEST GIFT


By Sam Gordon, a senior American Sign Language Interpreting
major from Sugarcreek, Ohio



SCRIPTURE: Galatians 4:4-7 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

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DEVOTIONAL:
Merry Christmas everyone! As I sat here thinking about
this holiday season, I came to think about the tradition of
gift giving. Where did this tradition start and why? I
thought of this because I have no idea what to buy my family
members. I mean, what do you get someone that seems to have
everything? The answer is…I have no idea.

However, I did happen to read this Scripture today and I
realized something. The best gift is free! I know that the
story has been told a million different ways, but here’s my
version. The best gift does not come from a store. It is
God's gift to us, his gift of his son Jesus that he may
become one of us and then die to save us. Guess what? That
didn’t cost us a thing!

Today take advantage of this gift. God gave us his only
Son! I don’t know of any father that is willing to do this
other than God. I think that what I’ll do for my family is
to love them and give them little reminders of how much they
are loved by me, but most of all, how much God loves them. I
challenge you to do the same. Love your family and friends
unconditionally, showing them the love that our heavenly
Father has shown us.

Thank you Father for giving us the most precious gift of
all!

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SCRIPTURE: Galatians 4:4-7 (NRSV)
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem
those who were under the law, so that we might receive
adoption as children. And because you are children, God has
sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba!
Father!' So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a
child then also an heir, through God.




View all of this season's devotions at
http://www.goshen.edu/devotions

Goshen College
http://www.goshen.edu
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The views and beliefs expressed in the devotional piece prepared by
each individual reflect their own spiritual growth journey and
thoughts, and while created in a campus environment that encourages
thoughtful questions and reflection on biblical Scripture and
contemporary Christian themes, do not necessarily represent the
official institutional positions of Goshen College or Mennonite Church
USA.

We welcome students who desire a Christ-centered education shaped
around
* passionate learning
* global citizenship
* servant leadership and
* compassionate peacemaking.
Do you know someone who would be a good fit at Goshen College?
Find out more at http://www.goshen.edu/dev/admission .

To keep this unique community of faith and learning vital and
affordable for students, Goshen College welcomes your financial support.
Visit http://www.goshen.edu/give/devotions to learn how you can support
our mission.
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