TransformationNew Every Morning | December 1, 2020
Perhaps transformation is needed in the Advent journey toward Bethlehem. Perhaps we need to see things and people in new ways, to listen to the Spirit through new ears, to hear the cry of the needy as a cry of hope and salvation. During the days ahead, what transformations might be helpful to you and your family? Are there alluring temptations that need to be ignored? Are there sacrifices that need to be made to see Christ’s love in new ways?
—Todd Outcalt, Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2020)
As you begin your Advent journey, reflect on the author’s questions for today. Join the conversation.
Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
—Romans 12:2 (CEB)
Prayer for the Week
God, the One who has brought all things into existence, I welcome the expected and the unexpected love and lessons you will bring today.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Gather your small group or congregation with our private classrooms.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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I don’t have immediate answers to these questions, they require some thought.
Advent devotions and Bible study start today. The first chapter of the study book also require a lot of reflection.
Flood warning for campgrounds in town close to the river, It has rained a lot and more in the forecast. Temps falling from the 50s to low 30s during the day.
May you all have a blessed Advent. Prayers for safety, well-being, and health restored. Thankful for God’s ever presence.
That last question is a poignant one…Are there sacrifices that need to be made to see Christ’s love in new ways? Certainly there are sacrifices that need to be made to BE Christ’s love in new ways. But to SEE…maybe even to RECEIVE Christ’s love in new ways…which would lead us further into BEING Christ’s love to those around us. I will sit with this for a spell.
And, I am grateful to have this extra time this morning, as quite unexpectedly, in the midst of remote learning – we have been gifted with a snow day. Quite a snowstorm is brewing here in NE Ohio…not too bad outside my door as of yet, but pretty significant to the north. There were musings on social media last night, regarding whether we would get one. We all figured no way, as we are teaching from home, no kids have to walk to school on unshoveled sidewalks. But, alas, a quite simple gift…seems as significant as our five day break last week for the holiday.
My mind immediately went to the effects and affects of the pandemic. The effect is that certain places we are used to going to are closed. Church, schools, volunteer organizations are all closed and not available to us. In what manner has this affected me and how can I view this as Jesus transforming me? I know I have learned to sacrifice for others and for the greater good. But like Jill, I will sit with this and contemplate.
Prayers for Ally and David and I pray Ally received a negative covid test result and can have the badly needed cataract surgery.
Prayers for Robert and his Advent study group. May I have the instructions for the Advent wreath you made?
Prayers for Jill and her school and the unexpected day off. We are also having snow here and it is to continue into tomorrow. As with you northern areas are getting hit harder as are the Laurel ridges so the skiers will be happy!
Continued issues with my tablets so I will be shopping today. At least this is a good day for it.
For years, my greatest temptation during Advent was to get caught up in the “Silly Season” and spend too much money on Christmas. Now my greatest temptation is allowing the commerciality of the season dampen my heart so that I miss the joy. As I walked into work this morning, my first thought was, “it’s December 1. Only 30 more days of this awful year”. Then the Lord reminded me of the blessings and I felt God’s urging to find ways to pass them on. The greatest blessing is David’s healing from COVID. What a miracle! In my wonder at what God has done, I do not forget the 4 million Americans who contracted this disease and the many thousands who have died. How can I bless someone from whom this disease has taken so much? How can I keep Christmas in a way that remembers the suffering? Jesus, I place these questions at Your feet.
Tomorrow is my first cataract surgery. Waiting to hear what time I have to be at the hospital. I’m excited and a little nervous. Nurse told me when I got my pre-op covid test that results would be available Monday and unless I tested positive, I would not hear from them. I did not receive a call yesterday. No news is good news. David was feeling down and is thankfully in better spirits. He will be more nervous than me tomorrow. Please lift him up.
Robert, stay warm in New England. Even Georgia is cold today. Temps will dip into the 20s tonight. The Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains got snow last night. Jill enjoy your unexpected day off. May you get some rest. I recommend hot tea and a good book. Julie, thanks for your prayers. I hope your advent wreath turns out well. Been thinking of making one myself. Interesting that all of us are pondering today’s questions. Lord, give us ears to hear what you have to say to us today. Praying for you all as we wait. Blessings.