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A group of carolers in an outdoor Christmas scene, dressed in old-fashioned clothing

Waiting in Silence

Most of us have plenty of noise in our lives. In the weeks before Christmas, often starting in early November, we hear endless Christmas songs in our malls and markets, not to mention our personal streaming devices. Advent invites us into a different kind of pre-Christmas experience. In the words of Psalm 62, “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.” Why not accept the Advent invitation to be quiet before the Lord, opening your heart more fully to the God who seeks relationship with you?

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The sign outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago, reading "Cubs Win!"

Waiting Hopefully in Advent

As we wait upon God, we wait with hope. Why? Because of who God is, how God has acted, and how God has spoken. Most of all, we wait hopefully because of God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ.

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A pregnant woman standing in front of a door

Waiting Intensely in Advent

Sometimes our waiting isn’t particularly urgent or heartfelt. At other times, however, we wait intensely. It’s as if every fiber of our being is focused on what is coming. In Advent, as we wait for the coming of Christ our waiting becomes intense when we realize what Christ brings: the fullness of God’s kingdom, healing of all diseases, justice for the oppressed, mending of broken relationships, and the wiping away of every tear. Reflecting on the future coming of Christ increases the intensity of our Advent waiting. 

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An Advent wreath with one candle lit

Solving the Riddle of Bustling Christmastime

Christmastime is often so filled with activities that we hardly have a spare moment. We can easily miss the true meaning of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Savior.

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A church with the words "Jesus Saves" on its bell tower

Be Ready (Part 2)

We cannot control the timing of Christ’s Second Advent, nor can we control the movements of the Holy Spirit. What we can control is our own behavior: our own readiness, our own desire to be a disciple, our own prayer life, our own daily practices. We can use this Advent to grow closer to Christ.

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A woman standing on the seashore looking into a sunrise

Be Ready (Part 1)

Wake from sleep, be ready, and live honorably, Paul writes to the Romans—and to us—because you never know when the day of Christ’s coming, so near for so long, will finally arrive.

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An ornament showing Mary and the baby Jesus in a soft purple light

Advent is Coming!

Advent is coming! In two days we enter the season of Advent, a time to prepare our hearts for a rich celebration of the birth of the Savior. In Advent we wait, wait for God to act. But we wait with hope, confident that at just the right time God will come among us once again.

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A handmade sign by the side of a road saying "Thank you"

Sharing Your Gratitude with Others

On Thanksgiving Day, we are encouraged to thank God for God’s many blessings. That’s wonderful! But this is also a great day to share your gratitude with others. Be sure to say “Thank you” today to the people who make a difference in your life.

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A photo by Mark Roberts of a cross on a windowsill with the Grand Tetons seen through the window

Don’t Forget the Big Things!

In this time of year set apart for thanksgiving, may you give thanks to God for the “big things” and the “little things.” As you do, may your heart be filled with the joy of the Lord!

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Giving Thanks When Life is Hard

It may be easy to feel grateful when life is good. But what about when life is hard, when we’re suffering or when we grieve over the injustice in our world? Can we be thankful then? Yes, Scripture encourages us to be thankful even in hard times. We don’t have to deny the pain or pretend that everything is great. But we can pay attention to God’s gifts to us. And we can get help from our sisters and brothers in Christ, whose care and prayers stir up thanksgiving in us. 

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A set of British road signs and barriers blocking access to a road because of construction

Barriers to Gratitude

Our lives would be better if they were filled with gratitude. They’d also be consistent with biblical teaching and example. But sometimes it’s hard to be grateful. Various barriers can get in the way: busyness, inattention, hesitation about depending on others, or a sense of entitlement. If, by God’s grace, we can address the barriers to gratitude in our lives, then we’ll find it easier to do and say everything with thanksgiving. 

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A crowd of people in a dark room in front of a sign that says "JESUS" with their hands raised in worship

Consumerism and Worship

Contrary to a mentality of consumerism, when we gather for worship we should not be shopping for an experience. Worship is a response to what God has already done for us, and an act of love and obligation toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. Worship is not about ourselves.

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