2016 Advent Devotional

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Day

27

Prepare to be Deceived
Friday, 12/23/2016

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Daily Scripture
Daily Scripture

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Acts 10:44-45

Reflection
Reflection

In the early church there was a debate as to how, if at all, the Gentiles (non-Jews) could be incorporated into the community of faith. Many of the “circumcised believers” argued the Gentiles must first become law abiding Jews, before they could become followers of “the way” (Acts 9:2). Their argument wasn’t so much about exclusion, but about inclusion with certain conditional terms. “You are welcome, so long as you do it our way.”

The early church had a problem, not unlike the modern church today. Their problem dealt with the nature of God’s availability. The early church had deceived themselves into thinking God was only available to them. Rather than making “straight the way of the Lord,” as John the Baptist had intended to do, the early church created barriers for those who were not like them. Thus, when “the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles,” they “were astounded.” In Advent we not only await the coming of Christ, but the Christ who is available to all.

Prayer
Prayer

Gracious God of Jew and Gentile alike, I give you praise for your radical and universal availability. As I celebrate the coming of the Christ, may I also be expectant of the gift of your Holy Spirit.

Amen.


How can we be in prayer with you?
Please let us know!

Questions
Questions

  1. What barriers have you experienced, or possibly even setup, that have excluded others from God’s availability?
  2. As you prepare for the arrival of Christ, how can you "make straight the way of the Lord," for all, rather than just some?

Family Corner

Daily Scripture
Read

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and see, which were just as they had been told.”

Luke 2:20

Reflection
Do

Celebrate the birth of Jesus like the shepherds did by having a birthday party for Jesus!

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Highland Park United Methodist Church
3300 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, Texas
214-521-3111
www.hpumc.org