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Prepare the Way, Advent 4: Laboring

We will be posting Advent and Christmas devotions Fridays November 30, December 7, 14 & 21, and Christmas Day. You may use these devotions as you want – for yourself, with a group or as a family; all at once, or broken up throughout the week. We suggest you start with the Scripture readings before you engage the other pieces. Enjoy!

Scripture

Micah 5:2-5a

Luke 1:39-55

Reflection

Christmas is right around the corner. We have been cooking and decorating and entertaining and going to parties and singing and wrapping gifts and traveling. We might be tired. We are certainly ready for Christmas to come. Like Mary, we are excited to welcome Jesus into the world because we love Jesus, but also because we have done a lot of work to get ready, and we are tired of waiting.

As Mary got ready to give birth, she reflected on the child of God she carried. She thought about all the ways this child would change the world. She thought about the ways the world is hard for people – people who were hungry, or who could never make enough money to pay all their bills, or who were sick all the time, or who got in trouble with the law or other people. She knew that the child she was carrying would bring hope to these people, that their lives could be different.

As we think about the people around us, we each have potential to bring joy and hope to the world, and we each go through hard times. Too often we keep our struggles to ourselves and we forget to tell each other the ways they bring us joy. Mary shared her hopes with her cousin Elizabeth in a song. Though we may be a bit tired and ready for Christmas, let us remember to share with each other. Let us talk about the suffering in our lives and the world, and the ways we hope Jesus will turn that suffering to joy.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who is someone you know that makes you happy? How do they make you happy?
  2. What are ways that you make other people smile? How does it make you feel when you make other people happy?

Make It Your Own

Find 5 people at church on Sunday or on Christmas Eve, and tell them why they make you happy.

Examples:

“I am so glad to see you, because your smile always brings me joy.”

“I am happy you are here because you always help people when they need a hand.”

“I am thankful for you because you always remember my name and say hi to me.”

Who brings you joy at church, and why? Tell them!

Prayer

Eternal God – we take Mary’s words to heart and make them our own. Much work has been done, and much work is yet to come. Help us continue to be your messengers of peace, justice and healing where there is unrest, injustice and suffering. Give us energy and courage and joy to keep doing difficult, holy work in Your name. May the name of Jesus always be on our lips and in our hearts. Amen.

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