Friday, December 22, 2017

Comfort and Joy Advent: Days 16-20

Comfort and Joy Advent- Day 16: Community//
Sometimes I try to do things on my own. I’m so grateful that God designed us to live in community—to be the body. To comfort one another as we’ve been comforted.
I’m grateful for friends that understand. For women who have walked down this road and can empathize with me, while pointing me toward truth.
I’m thankful for friends with completely different experiences than me. I’m thankful for the ways they have given me a fresh perspective and been brave enough to step into a mess they may not understand.
I’m grateful for new friends and old.
I’m grateful for people I know I can be real with. People I can call in the midst of the pain, and not feel the need to fake it. I think of a friend from church who I called moments after finding out we lost the twins, and I couldn’t get ahold of Chris. It means so much that I didn’t even hesitate to call her—I knew I could. She stayed on the phone with me until I was ok to drive. She cried with me. She prayed with me. It fills my eyes with grateful tears to have friends like that. People who would drop anything to help you. Who cry with you. Who gently speak truth into your life. Who act as the hands and feet of Jesus.
I want to be this friend. I want to be the body. I want to love like Jesus.
I am grateful for the greatest gift of love—of Christ coming to earth to be our redeemer.

Comfort and Joy Advent- Day 17: Joy to the world//
Joy. We have joy because Christ came to earth, to be rejected and to suffer, so that we could have life. We have joy because Christ—fully God and fully man—died in our place. Not only this, but he rose again and conquered death. Because of him, we can have eternal life with him.
We recently sang a song in church that referred to Christ calling us out of the grave of sin and death, and into his glorious kingdom. I rejoice in this. Because of Christ, I am free from sin. I also rejoice in the literal implications of this. Because of Christ, physical death is not the end. Because of Christ, my Ethan can be fully restored—body and soul—and run and dance in worship.
Joy to the world.

Comfort and Joy Advent- Day 18: Fear not//
Luke 2:10-11”And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
I’ve been thinking about what it must have been like to be one of the shepherds who were out in the fields the night the angels announced the birth of Christ. When I read the account of this in scripture it’s easy to feel excitement (from the comfort of my warm home)--but when I imagine what it would truly have been like to see an angel appear and the glory of the Lord shine all around, I probably would’ve been scared too. Definitely speechless.
I love the argument the angel presents for why the shepherds should not fear. Our Savior, Christ the Lord, had come to earth. That truth is powerful enough to dissolve any fear we face.
I know this deep in my core, but it’s tempting for me to fall into fear over and over. I’m the most susceptible to fear when I take my eyes off of the sovereignty of my Savior and try to figure things out on my own. When I feel fear and doubt creep in, it has helped me to remind myself of WHO He is and who I am in light of him. I’ve been carrying these notecards around in my car with me for the last two months and taking time to read them, usually in parking lots. Scripture helps me keep my gaze fixed where it belongs. When I begin to take my eyes off of Jesus and on to my fears, my past, my doubts, I am reminded of WHO He is and that is everything.

Comfort and Joy Advent- Day 19: Love//
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
After Ethan died, I really wrestled with the idea that God loved me. I knew He was sovereign and I knew He was powerful. I surprisingly never doubted His existence, but the certainty of His existence and His sovereignty only deepened my feelings of betrayal and confusion. I had a very hard time believing that He loved me.
I dove headfirst into scripture. I had read through my entire Bible before, but I was hungry for a renewed understanding. I needed answers.
As I read, I began to see just how much God truly loves us and just how broken this world is. With new eyes, I began to truly see why God sent his son to earth to die in our place and what a gift it is to have an advocate to declare us righteous to the Father. He sent Jesus to conquer death. I began to see just how much God loves me--us.
Christmas usually feels like the “light and cozy” holiday, while Easter feels more somber...but Christmas is the start of what was to come on Easter. Christ came to earth as a baby to die on our behalf. That is love.

Comfort and Joy Advent- Day 20: Scripture//
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

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