Welcome to the 2022 Advent Series. This year Elizabeth Forshee asks the question What are we to prepare for? The four Sundays in Advent she’ll juxtapose the four traditional themes (hope, love, joy, and peace) with how they prepare us. This series is so good we didn’t want you to only read it, so we created a worksheet packet (download below)! This way you can read the weekly articles, and interact with pen and paper as you meet with God through this series.
We have two other gifts/resources for you.
1. “5 ways to meet with Jesus during Advent” (get it here)
2. Receive the “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” daily emails. You will receive an email each day from December 17th-23rd that focuses on an attribute of Christ from this Carol. Focus your mind, quiet your heart, and listen to a beautiful recording in the final days of Advent. Sign up now and the emails will start arriving on December 17th. Sign up here.
God never wearies of meeting you where you are and this Advent is no different. We’re praying for you and the ways that God will these resources to tend your soul this Advent.
Grace and Peace,
The Global Trellis Team
As I walked with the Lord one morning, I felt an excitement considering the coming Advent season. It’s been a full semester for my family and selfishly all I wanted was a moment to catch my breath and read a good Advent devotional while sitting under Christmas lights with a hot drink.
As my conversation with God progressed, God reminded me that while Advent is restful in one sense, it is also a season of preparation. I asked God what he meant by preparation, what am I meant to be preparing for? How am I to prepare for Christ?
Out of those questions, this Advent devotional was born. God got real serious with me on that walk. My weariness reminded me of the groaning we all feel when we pause to sense the undercurrent of the Holy Spirit’s longing for wholeness not only in us, but for all creation.
The political, global, and relational turmoil I sense when I watch the news, engage in my community, and pray has been quite overwhelming in the past few years and made me realize that as Christians we need to be prepared for what the Lord is doing. We need eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is communicating, and I believe Advent is the season in which we are gifted a time to purposely prepare for the wedding of all time.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7
It gets easily forgotten that Advent is not just about preparing for the birth of Christ, it is also rooted in a rich eschatological understanding of the arrival of Christ. The earth has received Christ the Son of God and Man, which we remember in celebration on Christmas, but we live in the current reality with the Spirit, Christ in us, in the not yet. We continue to await Christ the King, even as we exist in the age of the Church. We live in a time of continued waiting, longing, and preparing the Kingdom of Earth for Christ’s second coming, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:1-3 (NIV)
Each week in Advent, we will reflect on how we are invited to be preparing ourselves for the coming bridegroom. We’ve also created a short worksheet for each week, so that you can interact with the material instead of merely reading it. Each worksheet should take 10-15 minutes (or more if you want!). You can get the worksheet in Letter or A4 at the bottom of this post.
Today, November 27, is the First Sunday in Advent. We will explore “Preparing for FORTITUDE OF FAITH (Hope).”
The early Church understood fortitude to be a virtue; a strength of the spirit to overcome persecution, death, suffering, and fear found when we are deeply rooted in faith. Considering the price many early Christians paid to be followers of Jesus, we can see why this virtue was highly treasured by the Church for centuries. As I prayed with God about Advent, I began to wonder: Have we perhaps lost a sense of fortitude in our current understanding of the Christian faith? What would it look like to live as a person fortified by faith in Christ?
I don’t know about you, but lately I have felt a need to be strengthened in my faith in order to remain faithful to the gospel in a world that seems against the message of Emmanuel, God with us.
The first week of Advent’s focus is on hope, which I think is appropriate in setting the tone for Advent. As we light the hope candle, we are reminded that God in Christ is the light shining in the darkness breaking through to us in the flesh and offering hope. Jesus is the hope of the world that has turned to darkness.
There are three truths in Romans 8 that should affirm our hope and fortify our faith. First, we are God’s free children who are heirs to the Kingdom, secondly, we will suffer as we wait, yet we are strengthened to endure by the help of the Holy Spirit, and thirdly, our hope, though unseen, is our present reality. In Christ, these promises strengthen us.
Take some time to sit with this Romans passage in prayer and meditation. As you enter Advent, “the coming of Christ,” where do you desire your faith to be fortified? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to be fortified in your spirit as you prepare to see Jesus face-to-face. What do you hope or wait for in yourself and from Christ this Advent season?
Romans 8:14-25 (NIV)
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Download the worksheet packet, so that you can interact with the material instead of merely reading it. Interacting with this information with your pen will slow you down and let this prepare you this Advent. Each worksheet should take 10-15 minutes (or more if you want!). You can get the worksheet in Letter or A4.