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Candle and Berries

Advent Devotionals 2022

 Read along with our community this Advent Season.

As you read, let the Holy Spirit speak through the words of our community members. Try your best to complete the action at the end of each reading.

Don’t stress if you miss a day. God will speak to you if you keep an open heart.

Day 22 - Fear Not

Maybe it’s because of what I do for a living, but when I look at the birth of Jesus, I see anxiety. A young girl tells an angel that she is willing to follow God’ plan. We sho her in our nativity plays as a serene, peaceful teen. She had just seen an angel! And agreed to have a baby! I imagine her as a teenager, anxiety stricken, wondering, “What did I just do?” How did she get from there to being a woman who visits her aunt and rejoices? A young man makes plans to divorce his fiancée quietly until an angel visits him. And then, later, wonders, “What will people think of us?” “How do I explain this to my family?” 
The young couple traveling a 90 mile journey by donkey, working, “What if she goes into labor on the road?” We look at people in the Bible and assume that they never struggle with their thoughts and feeling because we see the outcome, not the process. I read the Bethlehem story and have to think that Mary and Joseph, the shepherd and wise men all had thoughts and feelings about their situations, and that those thoughts and feeling were not always peaceful and serene. 
The Bible says “fear not” 365 times. Because even folks who saw God in burning bushes were spoken to by angels, and who walked with Jesus himself had to be reminded not to learn on their own understanding, thoughts, and emotions, but to trust the one who created the earth and everything on it. 

This has been a scary year. There are lots of unknowns and lots of reasons to be afraid. How do you find your inner peace? The same way that God has been reminding us since the OT. Trust in the Lord, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him (pray, follow His leading) and He will make your paths straight. Keep reminding yourself of this. When dot wants to creep in. When you think you need to have its ll figured out. When you’re scared and your he’d just wants to remind you of all the things that could go wrong. You don’t have to know what to do. You don’t have to have the answers. All you have to do with be willing to trust and follow, just like Mary, just like Joseph. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:29, 30
—Sue Lovelette

What does peace look like to you?

Week 4

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