John Maxwell once said,
“Reflection turns experience into insight.”
This simple statement really motivated me to look at the Christmas Story with a new set of eyes and to earnestly seek to explore the “Reasons for Season,” and why I should be thankful.
The muse for this 25 Day Devotional was born from a conversation with my wife as I told her that I want this Christmas to be different from any other. In her typical motivational nature, she challenged me to write a series of reasons why I am thankful during the Advent Season.
In our last post Thought for the Day – Begging God For_____?, we discussed the importance of being thankful and introduced the series that we will be doing for the next 25 Days where we reflect and turn that experience into insight! Each day we will post daily Reasons for Thankfulness for this Advent Season. Psalm 136:1, 26 instructs us…
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”
A thankful heart will change the bleakest of situations because when we shift our focus from the circumstance to the Creator, anything is possible! We just need to be patient and wait on the Lord which is what the Season of Advent is all about! For those who may not be familiar with the term of “Advent,” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it as:
“the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting.”
Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Traditionally this has been observed with an Advent Wreath with (5) candles that represent Hope, Joy, Peace, Love and Jesus which would be lit each Sunday.
Growing up my family celebrated with an Advent Calendar which had small numbered flaps, with a picture and scripture verse that taught a part of the Christmas story for the 25 days leading up to Christmas. My brother and sister and I always fought to open the last day which had a double flap revealing the baby Jesus, a childhood memory I cherish to this day. My Aunt has continued the tradition this year by getting my daughters a subscription to an online Advent Calendar which we will be starting today!
Much the same, each day we will look at the Christmas story to better understand the “Reason for the Season” in order to cultivate a true sense of Thankfulness for God sending His Son to be born in a manger. Psalm 100 – A Psalm of Thanksgiving says,
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.”
There are a lot of action Words – shout, worship and come singing with joy! My prayer for you, and for me is that the next 25 days will not be a blur filled with “stuff” to check off the obligatory list, but that we would find a new sense of connection to Jesus! Because to state the obvious,
Jesus is the Reason for the Season!
Come expectant for God to do something in you each day. Someone who was expectant was the prophet Micah who foretold where Jesus the Messiah would be born over 700 years prior to His birth.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2 (NIV1984)
To help along with that, I started reading the YouVersion Bible Reading plan called ‘121 Advent’ (Click here to view). I highly recommend you do the same. In today’s devotional content they gave this great description:
“The word “advent” is rooted in a Latin word simply meaning, “coming”. Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Christ. This side of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, we are able to celebrate this season of advent in two distinct ways. We look back and identify with those that awaited and longed for the arrival of the Messiah foretold to them. We do this from a perspective infused with knowing that God, in His faithfulness, provided that Messiah in Jesus, just as the Scriptures prophesied. We also look ahead, in expectation and longing for the second coming of Christ. Advent is not a biblical mandate, but a tradition implored among the Christian tradition to set our minds and hearts on the coming of Christ.”
For those who maybe have never read the Christmas Story in totality, here are the major stories:
- The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold – Luke 1:5-25
- The Birth of Jesus Foretold – Luke 1:26-38
- Mary Visits Elizabeth – Luke 1:39-56 (NLT)
- Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son – Matthew 1:18-25
- The Birth of John the Baptist – Luke 1:57-66
- Zechariah’s Prophecy – Luke 1:67-80
- The Birth of Jesus – Luke 2:1-7
- The Shepherds and Angels – Luke 2:8-20
Or if you want to read it completely through – Luke 1:5-56, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:57 – 2:40, and Matthew 2:1-23. Robert Morris has this great thought for you to reflect upon on why to celebrate this season…
I am thankful that I have a Savior to celebrate and earnestly desire to grow more and more like Jesus! So as we celebrate the Season of “Advent,” let’s spend the next 25 days really focused on setting our minds on Christ and reflecting on all the “Reasons for the Season” to cultivate a thankful heart!
If you would like to see the next installment of our 25 Days of Thankfulness series go here…★ Day 02 – Reason for the Season – Why I Say Merry Christmas ★
Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★
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