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2BC BLOG

Page 12 of 49

Jump to Your Feet by Kristin Wooldridge

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week One: Ave Maria

Tuesday, December 5

Micah 4:6-13

“On your feet, Daughter of Zion! Be threshed of chaff, be refined of dross.” (Micah 4:13a, The Message)

This passage is worth a look from the beginning. It starts with a call for God making God’s people come together in peace and security through obedience. The nations will come together. There will be judgment and war will be no more. This passage includes the familiar call in verse three to beat our swords into plowshares.

Then the rest of the passage, 6-13 shares what will be established as restoration after exile of spirit, nation, beliefs, affliction and more that separates people from one another. The gathering of the broken and exiled to be near God forevermore. Those that are not one with God will be confused and will not rise up. Oh, this passage is hard for me to process. Some rescued. Some not. Enemies isolated. A dividing God.

The call in the beginning of verse 13 is where I find something I can hold onto. The Message translation reads,

“On your feet, Daughter of Zion! Be threshed of chaff, rekindled of dross.”

The call of letting go is resounding in this text. Setting aside the trivial for God to have the kingly share of my life and living.

The busyness is not God’s calling for me.

The “extra” is not God’s calling for me.

The management of stuff is not God’s calling for me.

 

God calls me to thresh the chaff.

Remove. Rid. Decrease. Separate. Divide.

Threshing the chaff brings        

Focus. Clarity. Room. Openness. Space.

So in this season of preparing and living into Advent, let us find ways to restore our hearts and homes in ways that makes room for our true calling.

Let’s jump to our feet for God.

by Kristin Wooldridge

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The Christmas Path by Sue Wright

From my book, THE CHRISTMAS PATH:

               Suddenly two guests leaned out of the window and called to the innkeeper. “What is going on?”

               “I’m not sure,” the innkeeper replied, “but you may want to follow the others to the stable and see for yourselves.”

               “Perhaps we will,” they said. In a moment, they too walked down the path, holding lanterns to light their way . . .

Okay, so by now you probably have your tree up and decorated. Maybe the cat has even had a chance to topple it over a couple of times. Hope it didn’t hurt the cat! And that centerpiece of pine cones, smelly Burberry candles, and tattered plaid ribbon sitting in the middle of your dining room table? The one you’ve decided is worth another re-cycle if you can remember where you stashed the replacement candles? My advice: follow your nose. But don’t touch your nose! Not while your fingers are still sticky from trying to super glue back together that Little Drummer Boy you’ve had for fifty years. The one who marched off the mantle this morning to the rousing vibrations of Mannheim Steamroller’s, “Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum.” Hint, hint: when something is smashed to shards as that poor figure of a guy, shed a tear and move on!

I understand I sound a bit snarly but does it seem to you as it does to me, we’ve been celebrating Christmas since before Halloween! And we’re only four days into December. Which brings me to the point of this blog. We know from Scripture that Mary and Joseph didn’t make reservations before their trip to Bethlehem, and by consequence or the fulfillment of prophecy, had to spend the night in a stable. But that’s them and not us. In fact, there’s plenty of time for you and me to book rooms at the Inn. Indeed, book a room for the whole month—or what Christians around the world have come to call, the Season of Advent.

There is a picture in TCP (the Christmas Path) that partially illustrates the kind of a room I mean. It’s a cozy space with an easy chair, plenty of light, and a window. Next to the chair is a Bible and Second Baptist’s Advent Booklet, with all the verses and devotionals you’ll need to be prepared for commemorating the birth of the Christ Child on Christmas Day-- all the verses and devotionals you’ll need to throw the window wide open to what Jesus is all about. For why you’ll go on decorating the tree before Thanksgiving; re-fitting that faithful old centerpiece instead of buying a new one; and piecing together your beloved but Fractured Little Drummer Boy.

Advent isn’t that complicated, folks. The KEY is waiting!

Sue Wright

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An Advent Song for the Downcast by Jeff Langford

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week One: Ave Maria

Monday, December 4

Psalm 79

“Let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.” (Psalm 79:8b)

Advent can sometimes be a time of sadness rather than joy. Many people feel downcast, burdened by the loss of someone they love, health concerns, or loneliness. The season’s songs and celebrations can be a bitter reminder that – for them – it’s not the most wonderful time of the year.

Psalm 79 is a song for the downcast. It laments the destruction of Jerusalem and God’s temple. The people’s physical and spiritual security has been torn apart by heathen invaders. God’s people look foolish, and God has not bothered to retaliate. The Psalmist’s question is both a plea and an accusation: “How long, O Lord?”  

Psalm 79 expresses feelings that are common to all of us from time to time: doubt, confusion, anger. We can hear the author’s desperation as he cries out both for God’s vengeance and God’s mercy.

This Psalmist could have used a friend who would listen, hold his thoughts in confidence, and walk with him through this dark time.

I’m thankful that this kind of friend is available to us through Second Baptist’s Stephen Ministry. Sara found her calling in this unique ministry, and I continue to marvel at the compassion and dedication she brings to each caregiving relationship. I know Second Baptist’s other Stephen Ministers are the same way.

A few years ago, our church’s Stephen Ministers began offering a “Service of Hope” for people in our congregation or community who feel downcast during the Advent Season. The service doesn’t provide easy answers to people’s struggles; instead, it offers a safe place to be honest about difficult experiences and feelings.

Psalm 79 reminds me that there is hope even in the darkest of times. Stephen Ministry reminds me that hope can be found in the compassion of a friend. Advent reminds me that compassion is coming speedily to meet us.

Jeff Langford

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