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Advent Devotional 12-15-21

Good morning!  Today’s devotional comes to us from Ella Johnson.  Ella is a sophomore from Fort Collins, CO, and is double majoring in Political Science and Religion.  Ella has been actively involved in Disciples On Campus (DOC), which is our Disciples of Christ campus ministry, during her time here as a student.  She currently oversees Public Relations for DOC and will be serving as the President of that ministry next semester.  Ella is a regular presence in our office and we love having her here!  Her warm smile and kind heart bring a sense of JOY to everyone around her, so who better to write a devotional about JOY?  I trust you’ll find her words for us today to be a thoughtful companion and helpful meditation for your day.  Blessings to you…



Luke 2:8-15

 8) In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9) Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11) to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12) This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,


14) “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”


15) When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”



Advent is a time of transitions – we transition from work and school to the holiday break, from frenzy to calm, and from fear to comfort and joy. In Luke’s gospel, during their normal routine of watching the flock, the shepherds were suddenly in the direct presence of God and were rightfully terrified. I cannot imagine how I would have felt during such an overwhelming and shocking moment. However, the angel was able to turn the shepherds fear into comfort through the power of joy. The shepherd’s fear immediately dissipated, and they decided to leave their fields, drop their mundane daily routines, and travel to Bethlehem to experience the profound joy and comfort that the angel foretold.

These past couple of years at TCU, Advent has been a time of transition from fear to comfort and joy for me, too. Living apart from my family brings me slight fear because when I’m 838 miles away, I don’t have the comfort of my family right by my side – my dad’s help on my difficult homework, my mom’s warm hugs and my siblings’ advice and laughs on long car rides. During Advent, the looming stress of finals only adds to this discomforting fear. But the moment I step off the plane in Colorado for winter break and see my family, all that fear and discomfort fades away as I experience a moment of profound joy within a family hug. I am once again reminded of the joy of family and the gift of community that is so apparent during this Advent season and reminded to practice looking forward amidst all the stress and fear.

Joy is a mighty entity that helps us find the courage to turn even our deepest moments of fear into profound joy. In this season of Advent, there is no stronger presence of joy than in the anticipation of the Christ child’s birth. Like the shepherds, we are invited by God to name our fears and be honest about them in order to create room for the pure Joy of Jesus that is undeniable in the Advent season. Therefore, I invite all of you to think of how you will transition from fear to comfort and joy in this Advent season. I invite you to make room for the profound comfort and joy of Jesus’s birth by challenging yourself to transition out of your fears and embrace God’s love and joy.

Let us pray.

In times of fear and discomfort during this advent season, oh God we pray for your guidance and your reminder of the immense joy to come with the birth of your son. God, we pray that you will help lead us in our own transitions during this season and help us to experience the profound power of joy. It is in your humble and great name we pray, Amen.


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