Advent Introduction

Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. 

Isaiah 40:31 NRSV

As we begin the Christian year in the season of Advent, there is no better time to begin, start over, and go deeper in our devotional practices. I’ll be publishing pieces from Downtown’s Advent guidebook to help us do just that. [If you’d prefer a hardcopy please let me know.] What you will find is a Monday through Friday rhythm of devotional and prayer guides, journaling prompts, and essays. The aim is to focus us on the season of waiting so we may fully experience what God has for us. Each day we will be invited to spend intentional time with God in a variety of ways as the week unfolds.

Advent is the arrival of an important person. At least that is how it is defined by most dictionaries. There are several things we must do to prepare for the arrival of anyone to our home, work, or church. There is work to be done. There is hospitality to be thought through such as favorite foods and amenities that make someone’s stay comfortable. There are many details to be worked out and a cost to be considered of time, energy and money.

Perhaps nowhere in the Bible do two persons show us what it means to prepare for the arrival of an important person more than Anna and Simeon. The gospel of Luke records these two having special moments with the infant Jesus in the Temple when his parents brought him to be named and performed the Jewish customs.

Anna is described as a widow who for decades spent time in the Temple praying, waiting, watching, anticipating the arrival of the Messiah. Simeon likewise spent scores of time in the Temple making a way by reminding the people that God would be faithful and prepare a Savior.

This Advent season will be spent, in part, hearing more about Anna and Simeon’s lives and what it must have been like for them to wait. The years they spent resulted in a moment of fulfillment with an eternal impact.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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