• Int. Pastor Esthel Marie

Advent Devotional Nov 29th-Dec 9th

This season, I wanted to begin a devotional for Advent. Unfortunately, with school work and internship work, I began it late. But, better late than never!!! Here is the portion from November 29th to December 9th. After this, each day until December 25th I will be posting a devotional.

This Advent Devotional was created by my current seminary school Luther Seminary in St Paul, MN. It is called "O Lord, How Shall I Meet You?" If it sounds familiar to you, it is because it comes form ELW 241 Hymn "O Lord, How Shall I Meet You?" (see picture at bottom of blog)


For your convenience, I am putting today's devotional first.


Wednesday, December 9

1 Thessalonians 5:16–24

Concluding his letter to the Christian community at Thessalonica, Paul exhorts

his readers collectively as a body, not as individuals. He uses plural verbs and

pronouns, which is evident in Greek but not in English. Some instructions relate

to corporate worship, such as rejoicing, praying, giving thanks, and listening

to prophets. Other instructions have to do with behavior, such as honoring the

good and resisting evil. All of this is to anticipate “the coming of our Lord Jesus

Christ.”

The Advent season is one of anticipation, both for the celebration of the

coming of Christ as the Son of God and son of Mary and for his coming again

in his own good time. Faith looks to the future of God, who is faithful in life now

and in life to come. In the meantime, we gather to rejoice, pray, give thanks,

and listen to the Word of God—and we seek to be good to one another.


Bless, O Lord, our congregation that it may worship and serve in ways that are

pleasing to you. Amen.

Sunday, Nov 29

"O Lord, How Shall I Meet You?"

Advent is derived from the Latin word "advenio," which means "to come to, to arrive." Paul Gerhardt's great hymn assumes the Lord is coming. Our preparation does not cause him to come. that was true in Jesus' time, is true in our time, and will be true at the end of time. This hymn isn't about our preparation at all, but rather is about God's coming. God came incarnate in the past, God comes to us now in word and sacrament, and God will come again at the end of time. The only questions is "O Lord, how shall I meet you, how welcome you aright?" Gerhardt's hymn describes Christ's work - kindling a lamp within us, giving us a crown, embracing us in love, and guiding us safely home. Advent focuses not on our preparation, but on God's work for us, coming to us repeatedly to kindle, give, embrace, and guide.


O Lord, we thank you that you come, that you came today, and that you will come in the future. Help us to welcome you aright. Amen.

Monday, November 30

Isaiah 40:1-11

The writer knows a people who have experienced defeat and destruction. In

that situation, it is easy to question what kind of God we have and what that

God has in mind for us. It is to these people that Isaiah directs his message.

God’s people experience comfort, firm in the knowledge that their Lord is

coming. The ephemeral quality of our existence contrasts sharply with the

Word that stands forever. Isaiah assures us that God has not forgotten or

forsaken God’s people. The one who comes indeed comes with might and

comes in a way that changes the very landscape, does not come to destroy us

but rather to comfort us, feed us, and gather us to Godself. God’s coming is not

to be feared but to be welcomed. Truly, these are good tidings for all people!


We thank you that you have not forsaken us but rather come to comfort us. Help us to

tell the good tidings of your coming. Amen.

Tuesday, December 1

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

“Surely his salvation is at hand ...” summarizes the message of Advent. But

what is the real result—what is the content—of that salvation? Forgiveness,

full pardon, restoration, steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, peace, good

gifts, and God’s glory among us. All given by God. It is almost as if the psalmist

struggles to find adequate words to describe what the LORD God brings and

what happens when God comes. God speaks and, in God’s speaking, comes to

us. We are hearers of God’s promise and recipients of God’s gifts. Can we find

the words to describe them? And will we trust and live in their reality?


Help us to believe and trust that your salvation is at hand. Help us to know the depth

and breadth of what that salvation means. Amen.

Wednesday, December 2

2 Peter 3:8-15a

“The Lord is not slow about his promise ... but is patient with you ...” Here

we are invited to reflect on what sort of God we have: a God whose sense of

timing is different from ours, a God who keeps promises, a patient God—but

also a God whose day comes in a surprising fashion, “like a thief.” While we

usually fear thieves, an unwelcome and destructive interruption in our lives,

God’s coming will bring new heavens and a new earth, “where righteousness

is at home.” God’s coming brings something much better than what we have,

and something we could never create ourselves. In this assurance—and in no

other assurance—we are “found by him at peace.”


O Lord of time and space, we thank you that you are faithful to your promises. Grant

us faith to trust that your coming brings us new possibilities. Amen.

Thursday, December 3

Mark 1:1-8

For Martin Luther and his followers in the 16th century, John the Baptist

was the paradigmatic evangelical preacher. He preached law, calling for

repentance, and gospel, pointing to Christ. They did not admire or praise John

because of his odd lifestyle, unusual dress, or distinctive culinary choices. No,

what was most important about John was his message. He did not advocate

imitation of his unusual lifestyle; he preached the coming Christ. John knew

that he was not worthy even to untie the thong of Christ’s sandals—and yet

he also knew that his calling was to be the messenger, sent to preach Christ

and thereby prepare the way. Both the confidence and humility of John might

impress us—but in the end he points to Christ, and invites us to as well.


Lord, help us to hear clearly both your word of judgment and your word of

forgiveness. Help us to live in humility and hope. Amen.

Friday, December 4

Mark 1:1-8

John’s choice of location is odd—why not head for the city, where you can be

assured that a good number of people will be around to hear your message?

Instead, he appeared in the wilderness. Yet the message he preached drew

people out to him in the wilderness, drew them to confession and to baptism.

His message bore fruit, yet he always realized “the one who is more powerful

than I is coming after me.” The announcement of that coming one had a

power that overcame many obstacles, that drew people out of their comfort

zones into a new place, and that created a movement thought impossible.

Simple words—yet words laden with power and possibilities. Can we hear

those words today?


We thank you, Lord, that your word comes and creates a new reality. Amen.

Saturday, December 5

“O Lord, How Shall I Meet You?” (ELW 241, stanza 1)

Our Lord comes—and we are left with the question of how to welcome him

properly. This is not a question we direct at other people but rather to the Lord

himself. The hymn writer knows that only the one coming can be clear about

what a proper welcome is. So we who sing along ask the one who is coming

to kindle “your lamp within my breast,” with the result that in humble spirit we

will do “all that may please you best.” Notice that this is not about offering our

best to God; it is about God creating the appropriate welcome for God's own

Advent. Advent is not about our self-made works of welcoming but rather is

about the work of God who creates, redeems, and sustains us.


O Lord, light a fire in us. Let it burn brightly, and let us do what pleases you. Amen.

Sunday, December 6

“O Lord, How Shall I Meet You?” (ELW 241, stanza 2)

What chains or fetters bind you—addiction, hatred, stereotyping, violence,

doubt, fear? The list goes on. Whether a result of your own actions or of the

actions of others, they cause pain, harm, and shame. The promise is that the

Lord comes to set us free from our chains. And not just that—the Lord goes

further to honor us and give us crowns. Rather than being prisoners at the

bottom of the social scale, we find ourselves at the top, wearing a crown.

A crown is traditionally worn by a ruler, one who is not ruled by another.

Martin Luther reminded us that God gives us all that God possesses and

takes all that is ours (Luther called this the “happy exchange”). So we receive

the crown, and God takes our chains. The coming of the Lord results in a

radical reversal—all to our benefit.


O Lord, thank you that in your coming you have freed us and crowned us. Amen.

Monday December 7

Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11

The afflicted, brokenhearted, imprisoned, mourners, and devastated—these

are the ones to whom the good tidings came and still come. God is not only

faithful from a distance but comes bearing good tidings of an actual change

in our situation. Now we are "a people whom the Lord has blessed," and we

are clothed with the garments of salvation. Many in the COVID-19 pandemic

have experienced fear, sickness, isolation, and mourning. These are precisely

the people to whom God brings good tidings and comfort. We can rest

assured that, despite appearances to the contrary, God is at work bringing

righteousness and blessing in the midst of it all. God reminds us that the

story is not over; it has taken a very different turn. God’s promise of new life,

embodied in God’s coming to us, causes us to rejoice.


Lord, thank you that your word of life comes especially to the afflicted, those who

mourn, the brokenhearted, the imprisoned, and the devastated. Amen.

Tuesday, December 8

Psalm 126

Recalling God’s restoration of the fortune of the people of Israel (probably

referring to the return to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile around 539 B.C.E.

or later), the psalmist relies on God to act again, perhaps in a time of drought

and famine. Through faith, the psalmist is certain that restoration and joy in

the past can be replicated in the present and on into the future. And so the

petition, “Restore our fortunes, O Lord.”

We may not have restoration in mind, but our world is nevertheless, repeatedly,

in need of renewal. The season of Advent is a time of hope for renewal. That

comes as we hear and rejoice in the gospel of the birth of Jesus, which makes

us new again and again. More than that, renewal can come to all the world as

we join with others in the project of justice, peace, and abundance for all.


Good and gracious God, as you restored your people of old to peace and security,

renew our lives and grant to all humankind what you have granted to your people of

old. Amen.



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ADDRESS

Atonement Lutheran Church 

29617 State Road 54  

Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

 

Click for Map and Directions 

WORSHIP

Saturday Worship:

godify: Saturdays at 5 p.m. (canceled until further notice)

Sunday Worship:  10:00 a.m.

(Campus is closed, only available via our live stream, link above)

Rise & Shine Service: 8:30 a.m.

(December - May) Currently Cancelled

Child of God Family Service: 11:30 a.m. 

(September - May) Currently Cancelled

 

CONTACT

Office: (813) 973-2211

Office currently Closed, please call or email.
Hours: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Monday thru Friday

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