Thrust into Darkness

By: Shannon Youell

Here I am, and the children the Lord has given me.  We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.  When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God?  Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?  To the law and to the testimony!  If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.  Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God.  Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness, and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.  Isaiah 8:18-22 

Just before Isaiah wrote the famous Advent words, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;”, he scribed the passage above.  He sets the context for what the world is like, where hope has waned, if not disappeared, where both the present and the future are painted as a bleak, gloomy fearfulness, where people curse and blame both their government and their god.  It all sounds so dismal, disturbed and pointless.  If one were to never go on to chapter 9, one would consider the calamities of the day as fatalistic and humanity as on the precipice of expiration. 

But, then, one has missed the beauty of what Isaiah is saying.  He first acknowledges that as far as it is up to him, he will wait for the Lord, he will put his trust in him (8:17) and then he echoes his words from chapter six, “Here I am.”  But he is not alone.  The people whom God has given him, the people of God with whom he journeys, are there with him.  And together they are “signs and symbols” from the Lord who dwells among them in the land. (8:18) 

Signs and symbols of hope when hope seems to have fled the hearts of people.  Signs and symbols of a light that pierces the fiercest darkness, saturating hearts with an unexplainable expectancy rising up in joy.   

The writings are a poetic reminder that we, the God believers, the disciples of Christ, are called to shine our light and not hide it under a bowl.  In that way we embody hope to the world.  

In one of the Advent Readers I am following this season, the writer wrote these words, “Hope holds steady, clinging to peace in the midst of chaos.”1 

This is powerful imagery in the reality of this particular Advent in 2020.  In a time when many are embodying fear, anxiety, despondency, cynicism, hopelessness and anger, Isaiah and the Gospel of God’s kingdom invites us to cling to peace in the midst of it all.  To be seekers of peace, joy and love.  To be the embodiment of the kind of hope that fosters hope to and towards the world.  God’s hope.  

It is our “God of hope” who enables us to “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).  This reality isn’t true only in ‘good’ times; in fact, it is dark and difficult times when hope truly shows its mettle. 

Hope, God’s hope, disrupts the utter darkness we find ourselves plunged in.  It displaces it with “a great light” revealing the shadows we live in are only that, shadows.  They are dangerous, frightening, agonizing shadows that in the absence of God’s hope are bereft of any peace to cling to.  But with God, with Messiah, with this great light that has already dawned, when we embody the presence of God calm comes with us.   

In the midst of the chaos where suffering, grief and loss are so real, we, the people who call Jesus Lord and Savior, are to be signs and symbols of our God-With-Us.  His hope is with us when we can’t leave our homes and are lonely.  His hope is with us as we struggle with all the things that have been disrupted and displaced by this virus.  And the Gospel invites us to embody that hope for others, to be signs and symbols clinging to peace, and our very demeanor, language and gestures embodies a hope that is disruptive to shadows we find both ourselves and others living shrouded in as our world feels thrust into darkness. 

May each of us be signs and symbols of Disruptive Hope. Let us shine the light of dawn among our neighbours, our church families and our nation in humility and strength, love and grace, in this very different and modified Christmas Season. 

Hold steady. Cling to peace. Together we are signs and symbols of our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Shalom.

God-With-Us is Hope 

By Shannon Youell

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day? 

How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.” 

This plea, this lament from Psalm 13 written by the Hebrew David, King of Israel, may resonate with you—perhaps from a time when circumstances were bleak, dreary, seemingly endless and without any hope of changing. 

Perhaps this is how you feel right now.  

David’s lament, one of many poured from the depths of his soul, reminds us how easy it can be to lose hope when we are not seeing or experiencing the promises of God that we long to know. It is the sad reality of our humanness: it is easy to lose hope. 

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I suspect, however, that when we do lose hope, it is likely because that hope is dependent upon some kind of determined outcome, some kind of action, some kind of mystery, miracle, provision.  How many times have we, in lamenting prayer, reminded God of His promises towards us as a passive-aggressive way to demand they be so for us now. For us, disappointment denotes the absence of hope fulfilled.  Yet… 

 “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King Jr. 

Finite hope may or may not appear, but infinite hope, ahhh, that is something different all together.  That hope is not just wrapped up in a promise, but a person, and not just any person, but God Himself.  God-With-Us. 

Often, we look to the promises of God as our hope, when our hope is simply Himself. Incarnated. Emmanuel. With-Us. Here amid our sorrow, our how long! pleas and cries.     

There will be trials and disappointments, but God does not leave us without hope.   

There is hope because God is still With-Us. 

Here’s the thing about hope: it may not always look the way we expect it to, but in the end, it always looks like God. God-With-Us. 

Our hope isn’t found in the promise fulfilled. Our hope is that God-With-Us is our hope. 

God-With-UsChrist, Emmanuelpours upon us the hope of His presence and it leads to the way of peace, and to the way of joy, and the way of love and then to promises fulfilled. Hope is not only clinging to a promise of the future, but more so clinging to the Person who is present, now and always. 

This is the message of Advent. Advent is not an extension of Christmas; Advent links our past hope, our present hope and our future hope. 

Our God-With-Us is hope, and that hope restores our hearts, our minds, our soul and strength towards peace, towards joy, towards love so we can worship fully in the knowing that our God never leaves us nor forsakes us. 

David, as in most of his laments, remembers that hope. He finishes his anguished cries with these words: 

But I trust in your unfailing love;
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
For he has been good to me.” 

God-With-Us is Hope. 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 
Romans 15:13
 

An Expectant Hush: an Advent Reflection

By Shannon Youell

In the midst of Advent—the season where we reflect upon God-with-Us in the incarnation of Jesus, in His kingdom both now and yet to come, through his Spirit, and through the expectation of Jesus the King coming again to rule and reign in the new heavens and earth foreverwe can find ourselves once again asking, how do we rest in the wonder of this miraculous event? The demands of the season have us rushing through malls, to parties, to surpassing our neighbour’s outdoor light display, all of which compels us to spend more money on more things that we likely didn’t really need in the first place.   

I love this quote from an unknown source: “Let’s approach Christmas with an expectant hush rather than a lastminute rush.” At first glance, this appears to be an oxymoron:  how can we possibly rest and find quiet to listen and reflect when there are so many expectations upon us? No wonder we miss the expectation and the wonder of this time, replacing it with the idol of consumerism that distracts us from Jesus as our Lord and the Savior of the world.

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The cultural norms of today have deflected our expectancy far away from the Advent Expectancy and we have unconsciously allowed it to become a lord in our life that displaces Jesus as Lord of all and sets His Lordship as a side dish to the Christmas Feast. 

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are reminded that God is bringing “all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1:10). He is bringing all things together so that all things are one. One God, One body, together sharing One-ness in our With-Ness. Residing within that oneness we find hope, peace, joy and a love that surpasses all human understanding.  

What does Advent and the Christmas celebration look like through the lens of One-ness, of our God-With-Us? I imagine it looks a lot like the Shema, the “Hear, O People of God” that Jesus exhorted as the most important thing to lean into if we truly want to be faithfully present in our lives, our work, our neighbourhoods and our places of worship and gathering: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). 

This is the journey we are on, in all seasons of course, but in this one season, celebrating the birth, the habitation of God-With-Us on earth, this one we take back from the distortions, distractions and misdirections and reframe it in the very words of Jesus, our Lord and Savior in this world where God has been and is bringing all things back together again.

Walking through Advent Together

By Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan

Can you believe Advent begins in a month?

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We’re in a series discussing the importance of shared practices in missional discipleship. As the Christmas season approaches, we’d love you to consider whether Advent 2019 would be a good chance for your community of faith to be introduced to shared rhythms.

Here’s why: Advent is a defined period of time when churches can focus thematically on reflection, hospitality, Scripture and prayer. During this season, churches likely already engage in shared practices such as eating together, giving generous offerings, incorporating Advent readings into Sunday gatherings, serving the poor, and perhaps even a daily Advent devotional or prayer guide. The kind of intentionality that we find in the weeks leading up to Christmas is a great foundation for exploring what deeper engagement in shared practices could look like in the broader church calendar.

 

The Forge Church’s Experience

Shared practices as we’ve been introducing are not a new thing at all. The Jewish community of Jesus’ day practiced traditional spiritual practices throughout the year (Jesus emphasizes three of the main practices in Matthew 6, though as correctives to how they were being practiced).  These formed and shaped them into a community on God’s mission together when they practiced them in ways faithful to God’s ongoing redemptive plan of restoring all things together in unity.

Utilizing the Advent season to introduce shared practices has been a rich and growth-inducing journey for Shannon’s church, the Forge. For two years now they have been digging deeper into what it means to be disciples together on God’s mission.

The Forge has offered to share two resources: the Advent Guide they used when first implementing an intentional framework of shared practices for their congregation, and also the guide they used a year later as the shared practices were more established. As the folk at The Forge grew deeper together, so did their shared practices—and you will see that reflected in these two guides which are a year apart.

The guidebooks are only one of the tools Forge uses to make room in their everyday lives to spend time both with God individually and as the scattered community of disciples who gather for a few hours during the week.

 

Advent Shared Practice Resources

Here are some other resources that you may find helpful in gathering your congregation or household in shared reflection and action throughout Advent:

  • Advent Conspiracy is a multi-faceted movement to “celebrate Christmas humbly, beautifully, and generously.” They offer tools from inspirational videos and kid’s curriculum to a full-fledged book and small group series. Great to engage as whole churches or as a family, Advent Conspiracy was the basis for The Forge Church’s Advent Guide provided above. If you look further into the Advent Conspiracy resource, you may wonder how children felt about their parents engaging in the Spend Less (on yourselves) and Give More (to those who have less/not). Overwhelmingly, from small to teen, the kids at The Forge embraced this idea. So that’s just a plug for those of you who fear your kids not feeling like Christmas is Christmas.
  • CBWC’s Advent Page provides samples of Advent devotionals, Advent readings and Christmas Eve service orders.
  • Saturate’s “How to Make a Plan for the Holidays” is a short, simple and very practical guide to preparing for the season before it bulldozes us. Intended for use in small groups.
  • Marva Dawn’s brief daily devotional Follow the Story takes a reflective bent as she walk slowly through the story of that first Christmas and invites us to enter into the anticipation of the coming Saviour alongside ancient disciples like Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Joseph and Mary.

What other resources have you found helpful around Advent? Let us know by leaving a comment!

 

Justice Incarnated

By Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan

“The church exists for mission, to be a sign of God’s saving presence among God’s people. This presence is not abstract but is always concrete in a particular locality.” (Emmanuel Katongole. The Sacrifice of Africa: A Political Theology for Africa).”

In Sunday’s reflection from the Canadian Baptist Advent Reader, we find the story of Paride Taban and witness the thick gospel in action, where the church lives a life of the incarnational, of being present with God’s Presence in our world as participants in righteousness and justice that restores community relationships – humans to God and humans to one another. macu-ic-60818-unsplash.jpg

Psalm 89 tells us that the foundations of the Kingdom of God is righteousness and justice. Our foundations as God’s kids are different. The pillars of this family are righteousness and justice: primary concern for other-ishness rather than self-ishness.

And somehow in the midst of surrendering our drive for making our own lives better, we find the blessing of God which is more abundant than anything we could build for ourselves. Even beyond that, as we begin to walk in the light of the Lord’s presence (Psalm 89 again), the Lord promises to take hold of our hand, mentor us in the way of the light so that we become the expression of His light in the world (Isaiah 42:6).

Reflect upon the story of Paride Taban below, asking ourselves, how are we, the church, lean into an “ecclesiology, a vision of what the church is called to be.”

Paride Taban is a fascinating and compelling figure in the African church today.  Formerly a Sudanese bishop, he recently received the illustrious United Nations peace prize for promoting peace in South Sudan. Throughout his many years of service as the Bishop of Torit (1983-2004), Sudan was marred and afflicted by civil war. Bishop Taban found himself displaced and homeless as he worked among his people who were likewise displaced by the violence. Despite all these challenges, he remained a tireless advocate for peace. 

But when peace finally came to South Sudan, instead of seeking a position of leadership and authority, Taban retired and established a new community in Kuron called the Holy Spirit Peace Village. He dreamed of a community where tribal rivalries could be set aside so that peace, cooperation and mutual respect might be the rule. He relocated to Kuron and lived in a tent as he began to share his vision and invite people of good will to join him. Families from several different tribal groups and faiths have chosen to live in this community. It has become a model of what is possible. 

In commenting on the Holy Spirit Peace Village, the theologian Emmanuel Katongole wrote “What Taban is driving at—or better, what is driving Taban—is ecclesiology, a vision of what the church is called to be. That is why relocation is not simply about a change in geography or location but a theological category, an essential ecclesiological mark – indeed, the very mission of the church. The church exists for mission, to be a sign of God’s saving presence among God’s people. This presence is not abstract but is always concrete in a particular locality.” (Emmanuel Katongole. The Sacrifice of Africa: A Political Theology for Africa). 

As we reflect on the incarnation at Christmas, it is a time to consider God’s missional calling on the church to be an incarnational people, to set aside our status and privileges in order to live out a vision of the Kingdom which brings peace, reconciliation and hope. Whether you live in South Sudan or Southern Ontario, we are called to have the same mindset as Christ, who emptied himself for others. 

Jonathan Mills 
Immanuel Baptist Church, Toronto 

This Advent season, and always, let’s remember that righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne love, that love and faithfulness go before Him. And, as we will discuss more next week, let’s surrender to Him and become the ones about whom the Psalmist says, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord” (Psalm 89:15).

Visit baptist.ca/advent to read more reflections from the Canadian Baptist family.

Blessed Is She Who Has Believed

By Cailey Morgan

Advent reflection started early for me this year.

My husband and I had escaped for a couple days away in early November. I was sitting alone in the Selman Cottage on Keats Island, sipping tea while Kyson was out taking pictures of the fall scenery. I had determined I would read through the whole book of Luke to get a refresher on the ways and work and words of Jesus in the midst of a season in which I was using Jesus’ words to conveniently give permission for my own hurried ways and self-reliant work.

I sat on that futon for two hours, but never got past Luke 1. My realignment to a truer understanding of the person of Christ and to the life He offers came from the part of the story where He wasn’t even born into humanity yet, through the joyful cry of an impossibly-pregnant octogenarian to her equally-impossibly-pregnant teenaged cousin:

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said will be accomplished.

That one line gripped me. I couldn’t keep reading until I had wrestled through the questions of whether I could be that kind of woman. And frankly, two months later I’m still stuck, here on verse 45. Do I believe? Do I hear the Lord’s words? Do I look for the accomplishment of His works in this world?

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Do I believe that God performed those incredible, intimate supernatural actions in Elizabeth and Mary’s bodies? That maybe the Holy Spirit knows my limitations and might even be willing to touch me personally to overcome them as I open myself to being His servant? More than that, do I believe and live into the blessing of the empire-shaking, darkness-shattering Gospel Kingdom that those two miracle baby boys inaugurated?

At the risk of reducing one of the most epic moments of history into a object lesson, I want you to consider this question with me: “What has the Lord said will be accomplished, that I need to believe will be accomplished?”

For me, the answer came quickly. I’m a bit loath to tell you, because this blog is meant to inspire us to pray, equip leaders, and share Jesus. What gives me the right to write about these things if my own witness is impotent and life in the Spirit is in infancy? But I hope that sharing some of my struggles and conversations with God will encourage you in your journey and invite you to share how you’ve been growing as well.

What has the Lord said will be accomplished, that I need to believe will be accomplished? Jesus said this: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

But I don’t believe it yet. I love Jesus, and I love my neighbours. I long for my community to be transformed by the hope of Christ. But I don’t really believe that I’m a Spirit-filled witness.

I don’t.

If I did, I would act like a Spirit-filled witness!

I’m like Mary or Elizabeth before the angel showed up–in a place where new birth is just not on the radar as something that would or could really take place. My limitations make spiritual pregnancy and birth (aka disciple-making) a nice–but practically impossible–thought.

But then, what happened to these women? I’m sure neither Elizabeth nor Mary could even imagine the prophecies before they were spoken:

“You will give birth to a Son, and you will call His name Jesus,” says the angel to Mary (verse 31).

“How will this be, for I am a virgin?” responds Mary (verse 34). She’s asking a legitimate question. “I am physically not able to complete your request! Wrong stage of life! No experience! So, how will you make this happen Lord? What do I do now?”

How does the angel respond? “You’re right. You can’t do it alone. But the Holy Spirit will come on you and take care of all the tricky business. You will become who He’s asking you to be, for His glory, through His power” (verse 35, my paraphrase).

Sounds a lot like Acts 1:8! And how about Elizabeth?

“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God” (verse 36).

Elizabeth prayed and waited for a child for decades. But as time marched on, she probably looked at Zechariah and said, “Honey, this isn’t going to happen. We missed our window. ”

There are two women who I’ve been praying for, for over half of my life. One I haven’t seen in 10 years; the other I run into maybe twice a year. When I made these friends as a teenager, my prayers were fervent and frequent: “Lord, draw her to Yourself. Lord, what do You want me to say? Lord, what do I need to do?” These days, when I don’t even see these people any more, it’s easy to skip praying, and just look in the mirror and say, “Honey, this ain’t gonna happen. We missed our window.”

I know that many of you have similar stories of faithful prayers that seem to go unheard. Maybe you don’t feel ready yet to have spiritual kids, or maybe you’ve been waiting for so long you don’t think God really wants to use you in that way. And I don’t really have a good answer to this, other than to look at what happened to Mary and Elizabeth, and ask the Lord for His Spirit to come in power and overcome our lack of patience, faith, and imagination, for nothing is impossible with God.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said will be accomplished.

I hope that Luke 1 becomes a year-round reflection for you, as it is becoming for me. Rather than a story to remind our children about the true meaning of Christmas, it’s a call to follow the great King whose Kingdom will never end (verse 32-33), and to open our eyes to the eternal Spirit-filled life that this King offers us, starting now!

Adventitiousness

By Joell Haugan

So here’s a question that nobody is asking. “Is the Advent an example of adventitiousness”?

Ya, nobody, ever, has asked this.

But this word, which has the root “advent” actually brings some light and some questions to the story of the Advent, or coming, of God in flesh: Jesus Christ. “Adventitious” means “coming from without” or “coming about from a unknown or unexpected cause” or even “from an accidental cause.”

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Insight #1 – Jesus’ coming is from “without.” OK, yes, God is everywhere and the God-Man Jesus created everything…but in the Advent we see God entering the sphere of humanity in a very different way. As the creator becoming the same as the created. In this sense, the Advent is adventitious.

Insight #2 – Indeed, there is a “unexpected” element to the Advent of the “long expected” Messiah. Sages and prophets had signalled the imminent coming of the Messiah yet, there is an amazing element of surprise when He actually shows up…and, for sure, shows up in the way He did. In a manger. In a smaller town. To common parents. To poverty. To the worship of shepherds. This was indeed the most unexpected expected event.

Question #1 – So is the birth of Christ a cosmic accident? There have been those that have surmised that the virginal conception (aka the virgin birth, but the birth isn’t the virginal part. It’s the conception….well, you get the idea) was actually legitimate, but that it was a fluke of nature. Like the apparent spontaneous pregnancies reported in sharks (it’s true, look it up). This would change the story to the the wonderful name of the “adventitious conception” Ya, that doesn’t roll off the tongue. But, we know that this amazing historical happenstance was anything but an accident. It was designed and brought about by God Himself in the most awe-inspiring way. The most intelligently designed event in history.

Question # 2 – So what? Ah, the classic question that every sermon should answer. So, this Child is God. What does this mean to us today? Well, it means the world. Because in Christ we have the coming of God in flesh to ultimately take our place. No, Jesus isn’t going to replace you in your job at Walmart or Sears (oh, skip that last one). He came to replace us in the whole department of “taking our sin and its consequences.” Human sinfulness cannot stand in the presence of Holy God, but Holy God can stand in our place so that our lives can be exchanged for His–through His life, death and resurrection. That’s kind of a big deal. That’s what this Advent deal is all about.

So, this Advent season, take time to reflect on the adventitiousness of the Advent. OK. You can skip the adventitiousness part….but reflect you must! 🙂

Joell

PS. Charles Wesley did some of this reflecting for us:

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

Christmas Giving Campaign

Help Canadian Baptists of Western Canada extend the season of family, feasting and celebration all year long.
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We recently launched Celebration Dinners—free regional get-togethers where folks from a whole bunch of our churches can network, plan exciting new ministries, and enjoy a meal together. The 2014 Celebration Dinners were a big success and we’d love to offer them again in 2015, but we need your help to make them happen.

From December 2 to 25, the CBWC’s 24 Days of Giving is your chance to support a good cause and be honoured with a big thank you!

Check out the perks,  including a Christmas treat basket and even a personalized thank you video from Executive Minister Jeremy Bell.

Pray with Us: A New Year Ahead

A Prayer for the New Year

Author Unknown.

What shall I ask for the coming year
What shall my watchword be
What should thou do for me, dear Lord
What can I do for thee?

Lord, I would ask for a holy year
Spent in thy perfect will
Help me to walk in thy very steps
Help me to please thee still.

Lord, I would ask for a trustful year
Give me thy faith divine
Taking my full inheritance
Making thy fulness mine!

Lord, I would ask for a year of love
O let me love thee best
Give me the love that faileth not
Beneath the hardest test.

Lord, I would ask for a year of prayer
Teach me to walk with thee
Breathe in my heart the Spirit’s prayer
Pray thou thy prayer in me!

Lord, I would ask for the dying world
Stretch forth thy mighty hand
Thy truth proclaim, thy power display
This year in every land.

Lord, I would ask for a year of joy
Thy peace, thy joy divine
Springing undimmed through all the days
Be thy days of shade or shine.

Lord, I ask for a year of hope
Looking for thee to come
And hastening on that year of years
That brings us home to you.

Pray with Us: Advent

prayer-2013-5As missionaries in our own neighbourhoods, we all face opposition to the Gospel like John the Baptist did in the wilderness.

While you meditate on this communal Advent prayer, lift up your own difficulties to God, also remembering the CBWC Church Planters working hard to point the way to Jesus.

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins (Luke 1:76-77)

In the lonely places
The wilderness
Where we stand forlorn
Windswept and alone
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord

In the dark places
The shadows
Where we hide our fears
Embrace our tears
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord

because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace (Luke 1: 78-79).

As the rising sun comes to us each dawn
Shine upon those who live in darkness
That all might know the joy of our salvation
The forgiveness of sins
And your great mercy

For the desert places in which we walk
The streets we roam
The paths we cross
Guide our feet
Take us to places
Where you would go
Give us words that you would use
That in this Advent season
Of promise and preparation
We might point the way with John the Baptist
To the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Check out our prayer page or share a prayer request with us.

From John Birch’s Advent Resources.