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Author: Shane Ardell

Advent Devotion – Monday, December 16

Everywhere we look there are happenings in the world that can cause us to feel a variety of things. Ongoing wars over territory, race, and even religion. Families separated, their possessions seized. Judgment based on class, gender or skin color that causes real harm. People shouting at each other without being able to listen, judging and labeling while problems go unsolved. All of these lead to fear of showing vulnerability, charity and generosity to others because it may cause us to lose something we believe to be scarce.

I have good news: we do not have to live out of a scarcity mindset. We live out of abundance. And in Christ, there is an abundance of mercy… freedom… dignity. We do not have to be afraid to grant to others what we enjoy, because it is not a zero sum game. He grants to us what He has freely and with abundance. We know this to be true with the spiritual. It is true with the material and social aspects of life as well. We can have confidence in working to counteract suffering or oppression when we see it, without fear of oppression in return. We can give freely of our resources, knowing He has provided all that we need – because we have a promise that, even if we suffer for a little while, in the end all things will be made right. We can show true love to others, just like He has shown us.

In his Name, all oppression shall cease.

Merry Christmas!

Shane Ardell, tech & web support

Advent 2016 Day 19

Music is a great learning tool—we use it to teach our kids letters, months of the year, and even Bible verses. Putting even the most mundane trivia to music helps us to recall it at the drop of a hat. But the reverse is also true. How often do we go through the motions of singing a song without stopping to contemplate the words? This is most true for me with Christmas music, especially with older songs that may have been written with a different vernacular than our everyday speech. As the poem says… “their old familiar carols play.” But the author of that poem then stops to both question and then subsequently affirm the truths that these old familiar songs proclaim.

Some excerpts from the old familiar songs:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining ’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” ~ O Holy Night

“Let every heart prepare Him room.” ~ Joy To The World

“God and sinners reconciled.” – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

“Let nothing you dismay.” – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

“What can I give him? Give Him my heart.” ~ In the Bleak Midwinter

“From depths of hell Thy people save and give them victory o’er the grave.” ~ O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

“God is not dead nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail!” ~ I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Oh how often I sing these words without thinking about their full impact! If only these were the messages the world heard from us about Christmas. Everything from the relief from our sin, to our justification and redemption, to a challenge to dismay about nothing and to dedicate your heart to him… all the way to the assurance of the final victory over death and evil… all this is covered in songs that we learn as children.

As you hear an old familiar song this season, take the time to be reminded of everything that was accomplished in the single act of Jesus coming to Earth.

Shane Ardell, technology