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Posts tagged with: Advent

The Preaching of St. John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, public domain.

The Way of Repentance

What kind of preparation would be required when God shows up to announce the good news that he is the rightful Lord of this world and that he is about to make everything right? Surely that would be the most momentous event in human history. Who would be God’s “advance team” to get people ready? What would they do to prepare people for God’s coming? How would they go about their work?

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A window.

Living Hope, A Season of Advent

Here we are at another Advent season—when we commemorate the anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ. To set the scene biblically, it was a time of great darkness in the earth, and more specifically in the Jewish community. They had been waiting for the arrival of their Savior with the expectation that he would turn the tables of their misfortunes. Exile, captivity, oppression, the pervasive humiliation of second-class status—over time, these feelings compiled to birth… hope.

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The Adoration of the Shepherds by Caravaggio (1609).

Light in the Darkness

Darkness is our beginning / Not our ending. // We begin in darkness / The womb of Creation / Covering the face of the deep. / So also, darkness is the beginning / Of Redemption. // A Star appears in the darkness— / A signpost to the wise / Of all times and from all places / To leave their darkness / And journey to find him / Who is Light.

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A baby laid down, wrapped in simple cloth.

Christmas Hope

The pain and trauma of this world are not unfamiliar to the Christmas story… Baby Jesus was entering a battle zone full of oppression, sickness, and death—not a world filled with mistletoe, gingerbread houses, and holiday parties. Jesus came, in the midst of all this, to eradicate death, free the oppressed, and fill us with unspeakable joy. This is the fullness of what it means to “save his people from their sins.”

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A leader sitting with another person in pain.

Leaders Come Near the Pain of Others

The Christmas story we know from popular culture can be so sanitized that perhaps the ideas of sickness, isolation, and hopelessness sound foreign to you—perhaps even sacrilegious for the Advent season. But Jesus chose to be born into a broken world and to take on our pain in order to make us whole. Leaders who come near to the pain of those they lead will find they are emulating Jesus.

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Advent: Incarnational Leadership

It takes intentionality and effort to “make our dwelling among” those we lead. Being present with our followers takes time and attention… “Flesh and blood” leadership, the incarnational leadership that Jesus taught and embodied, requires something more. It means finding ways to live among—in other words, to enter the world of—those we lead.

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Sad egg face vs. happy egg face.

What Does Advent Have to Do with Work?

At first glance, Advent doesn’t seem to have anything to do with work. Advent, after all, is a special season in the Christian year,…

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My mom, in a Christmas sweater, and me, last Christmas, with a couple of Christmas “socks” in between us.

Christmas Good News!

Today is, as you know, Christmas day. For millions of people around the world, it is a day of celebration and rejoicing.

It is for me, too, though this will be an unusual Christmas for my family and me.

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A Christmas Eve service at Irvine Presbyterian Church. My daughter is the shepherd with the light blue shawl.

Christmas and Work: When God Interrupts Our Work, Yet Again

Today is Christmas Eve. If you go to church this evening, chances are you may see an enactment of the Christmas story, complete with shepherds and maybe even sheep. This is especially true if you attend a service meant for younger children and families. (The photo comes from a Christmas Eve service at Irvine Presbyterian Church. My daughter is the shepherd with the light blue shawl.)

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A child decorating a Christmas tree.

Advent Reminds Us to Find Hope in God

On this last day of Advent, I want to point our attention back to Mary, who has journeyed for 9 months knowing that she is carrying the Son of God, whose reign will be eternal (Luke 1:26-38).

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A child receiving Christmas gifts from their mother.

Advent Reminds Us To Protect The Vulnerable

Advent is a time for us to find the courage to protect the vulnerable as Joseph did with Mary and Mary did with Jesus. Advent offers an invitation to all of us to individually and corporately protect the vulnerable.

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The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1622. Color on Canvas; by Gerard van Honthorst.

Christmas and Work: A Tribute to My Mom, the Worker

When I laid out my plan for Life for Leaders in December, I was not expecting to write this particular devotion. But, between yesterday’s writing (on December 2) and today (December 3), something happened to encourage me to add something unexpected.

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Mark Roberts holding his daughter.

Christmas and Work: Women’s Work Revisited

Okay, here I go again, talking about women’s work. You may recall that the devotion from last Friday focused on this theme. As we examined Luke 1:57-58, we considered the implications of Elizabeth’s giving birth to John (who will come to be known as John the Baptist)

In Luke 2:7, once again a woman gives birth in the Christmas narrative.

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Statue of an angel blowing a horn.

Christmas and Work: Saved to Serve

In this hymn of praise to God, Zechariah proclaims that God “has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” (1:69).

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A quiet street with a church peacefully lit at night.

The Grace to Lead, The Grace to Feed

Next Sunday we will reflect upon the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The prophet Isaiah proclaims that “the government would be upon his shoulders” and that there would be no end to the increase of peace and his government (Isaiah 9:6-7).

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