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First Pres Blog

Advent Devotional Week 1: No Brighter Deed

Posted by Jennifer Holz on

We're getting ready for worship on Sunday—the first Sunday in Advent! Starting this week, worship bulletins will be accompanied by this weekly Advent devotional. View worship bulletins >>

Meditation by Jennifer Holz, Executive Pastor

One of the most beloved Christmas characters of literature is Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. He is at first known for his inability to do anything good for anyone but himself. But the story tells of Scrooge’s change of heart after visiting his past, present and future. Scrooge sees what he will become if he does not change. And his heart is changed. By the end of the story, Ebenezer Scrooge is doing as much good as he can think of for others. He becomes a gift- giver.

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God’s gift in Jesus is beyond anything we could have dreamed up, beyond anything we have ever heard of or read about, beyond anything we have ever seen or will see again:

"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." —Isaiah 64:4

Christmastime is a moment in our lives when we stop to consider what good we can do for our fellow human beings. We drop coins into the Salvation Army bucket, we wrap presents for children in need whom we do not know. We donate gifts to our mission partners around the world. As God gives us His greatest gift in Jesus, we simply reflect the ultimate Gift-Giver in every kindness that we do.

Being generous toward others is deeply embedded in us as image bearers of the living God. Every time we reach out in kindness to another, the light of Jesus shines. But Jesus Himself shines brightest. Our good deeds merely point to Him, and help to nurture a longing in each human heart for the gift that He gives to the world—His very life.

Isaiah speaks of God as a potter and of us as the clay. God is at work in our lives, helping shape us that we may become the people He has created us to be: Christ-followers who reflect the goodness, beauty and light of God. So, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).



Read:
Isaiah 64:1–9

Discuss: Which of the gifts you plan to give this Christmas most resembles God’s kind of giving—selfless sacrifice for another?

Light in Motion: As you travel around at night during this Advent season enjoying the little lights on houses and in trees, let them remind you that you are a little light for Christ. And remember also that God gave His very brightest light as Jesus was born into the world.

 

Tags: brighter, worship, advent devotionals 2017

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