The holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the new year—are a special time in ministry. Not only do we celebrate the birth of Jesus but we also get the chance to welcome visitors in our churches—many of whom will be attending for the first time. [Read more…]
This post is the second in a series adapted from Anticipating His Arrival, a family Advent devotional by Rick Brannan. We will be posting one devotional a day through Christmas.
Isaiah 64:1–4, 8–11
Would that you would tear the heavens and come down;
the mountains would quake before you,
as fire kindles brushwood,
the fire causes water to boil,
to make your name known to your adversaries,
that the nations might tremble from your presence.
When you did terrible deeds which we did not expect, you came down;
the mountains quaked because of your presence.
And since ancient times they have not heard,
have not listened,
no eye has seen a God except you;
he acts for the one who waits for him…
Yet now Yahweh, you are our father;
we are the clay and you are our potter,
and we all are the work of your hand.
You must not be exceedingly angry, Yahweh,
and you must not remember iniquity forever!
Look! Behold, now! We all are your people!
Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful temple, where our ancestors praised you has been burned by fire,
and all our precious objects have become ruins.
What is the relationship between the Lord (Yahweh) and the people?
Response: The people claim the Lord (Yahweh) as father (v. 8). The image of clay (the people) and a potter (Yahweh) is used to reinforce this.
Why would Yahweh be angry?
Response: Because the land is in shambles (vv. 10–11). The holy cities are empty. Jerusalem is desolate. And the temple, the very house of the Lord, has been destroyed.
How does this relate to joy during the Advent season?
Response: The people expect the Lord to return and bring salvation to the land. They call upon him to rebuild the temple, to annihilate their enemies, and to exalt his people to their proper place. Though the situation is dire, they rejoice at the thought of his return, which will restore the world to how it should be. We should exhibit the same joy at the thought of his second coming.
For more Bible study resources, browse the Logos Christmas sale.
This post is the first in a series adapted from Anticipating His Arrival, a family Advent devotional by Rick Brannan. We will be posting one devotional a day through Christmas.
As Christ’s arrival draws closer, a natural consequence is joy. When the thing we have been waiting for gets closer and closer, joy increases. [Read more…]
Everybody has heard of the 12 Days of Christmas. In fact, we’ve all probably sung about them.
But what are the 12 Days of Christmas, and who actually celebrates them?
Christmas is just a few weeks away, and that means it’s the season for carols and Christmas hymns.
Here are 20 ideas for Christmas songs and hymns. We compiled this list by identifying the most-used songs in Proclaim last December, plus a few more that thematically fit well (covering themes of the Incarnation, hope, and salvation).