Longing: An Advent Devotional
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene
Friday, December 9th
As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:
We ask you O Lord our God, that, having been gathered together in the unity of faith, we may rejoice; And at the coming of your Son our Savior we may go to meet him in the company of all your saints; Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Savior of the nations, come,
Virgin’s Son, make her your home.
Martyred now, O heaven and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.
From the Godhead forth you came,
And return unto the same,
Captive leading death and hell.
High the son of triumph swell!
You, the chosen Holy One,
Have o’er sin the victory won.
Boundless shall your kingdom be;
when shall we its glories see?
Brightly does your manger shine,
Glorious is its light divine.
Let no sin o’er cloud this light;
Ever be our faith thus bright.
-St. Ambrose of Milan
GROW: Romans 15:4-13
The most precious gifts we can give can never purchased and wrapped. Our cultural context suggests the exact opposite. We are bombarded for months before Christmas with advertisements leading us to believe that material gifts are the only valid way to express the value of another. The apostle Paul thinks very differently. He believes the gift of God’s love in Hope and Harmony are the most wonderful gifts we can know.
Hope brackets off our passage today. He begins by insisting that everything “written in former days was written…[so that] we might have hope. This is not a silly platitude that every will just be all right. Rather, hope is at the core a kind of trust that relies on the steadfastness of God, and empowers us to be faithfulness in all circumstances. Hope then is God’s action in us. We don’t muster it up in ourselves. We receive hope in the promises of God made true in Jesus Christ.
Harmony is God’s other precious gift, according to Paul. Harmony is not peace for the sake of peace, but “so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the peace and harmony Christ brings we are called to welcome all people among us. No one is cast out. All people are welcomed into the great and glorious kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forevermore. Alleluia!
Hospitality, then, is a significant part of God’s mission at work in us now. I wonder if we could open our hearts and our homes in this season of Hope and Harmony to someone who is new to us. Set a plan today to invite someone new to your Christmas table. Identify a co-worker, classmate, or friend who may be away from their own family for Christmas and extend an invitation for a meal and rich Christian fellowship.
—Pastor Phil Hamner