What’s your morning routine? I sort of have one, I guess. There’s comfort in routine, like firing up the Keurig and enjoying my own fresh brewed dark roast coffee. It’s the best! Join me and read today’s advent story.
As we were driving to Nebraska last week, we passed a semi load of Christmas trees. We got close enough to see if the truck was from Michigan, but ~sigh~ it was from Minnesota. A lot of people in the west are going to enjoy those trees, some of which had to be 12 feet tall. For some reason, all those trees reminded me of how quickly the rest of the world would be swimming in record breaking sales and up to their armpits in gift wrap and boxes. There is nothing wrong with gifting. This is the best time of year to be a giver. You know those people who sneak in a gift to you through the year – but refuse to accept one from you? Now’s your chance for paybacks. Maybe you’ve wanted to do something special for someone but feel awkward and don’t want them to feel like they have to do something in return. Here’s the season of opportunity.
Do you have a best gift of all in mind? Something that someone gave you and you’ve cherished it since that time? It’s tough to pick just one, isn’t it? There is one gift that rises above all others though and that’s the ultimate gift of God’s son, Jesus. Emanuel. The reason we have this beautiful season of giving to begin with. It’s fun to pretend there’s a Santa Claus with reindeer and a sleigh. We love to envision the North Pole with elves scurrying around, singing and dancing as they manufacture toys for all nations. But the real gift to all nations was born in a manger, in a drafty, dusty, dirty stable, and he became the ultimate gift to the entire world. Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”). God with us – and God is always with us.
If you’re keeping up with daily Advent readings, this week is themed FAITH. Today we are all the way back in Genesis where our need of a savior originated. Remember Adam and Eve? Have you heard about the first sin? If not, here’s the story told thousands of years before John 3:16 was written. For God so loved the world that he gave up his only son Jesus, to be the savior.
Genesis 3:8-15 (from the Message) When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God. God called to the Man: “Where are you?” He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.” God said, “Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?” The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.” God said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?” “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.” God told the serpent: “Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, Cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life. I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.”