Advent Day 10: Love Came Down

Love 2


During Advent I like to mix things up. This evening was poetry time. The beauty of this poem is Christina Rossetti’s ability to succinctly describe the divine nature of Christ’s love. Enjoy!

Love Came Down

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

This poem written by Christina Rossetti and first published in 1885 in the publication Time Flies: A Reading Diary.

Advent Day 9: Advent Love Challenge

Nativity heart

If there was only one verb that I could use to describe Advent, I would say that word is LOVE. Advent is love. Verse 9 below tells us how God showed his love for us, “He sent his one and only Son into the world,” and why did God do so, “that we might live through him.” God’s love is so selfless that He doesn’t even require us to do anything to receive it.

Verse 11 tells us that, “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” I know that God loves me, and he loves you as well, but I have to admit, I don’t always love others. I can’t even make an excuse for not loving others, for 1 John tells us clearly, that if we love God, we will love others.  Thankfully God’s spirit is within us and we can daily ask Him to give us the strength, grace, and mercy to love others.


After reading the verses below, prayerfully ask God to reveal to you where you are at in your spiritual walk when it comes to loving others. He might not reveal it to you immediately, but continue to pray daily throughout Advent for revelation. In addition to this, here’s a little challenge for you: In keeping with the spirit of Advent; every morning before you leave the house ask God to reveal who you need to show “extra love” towards. It may be a co-worker, the extremely slow cashier, a bad driver, your friend who has been getting on your nerves lately, whomever God reveals to you.

1 John 4:7-21(NIV)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.



(Credit: jpg picture from shelley pulliam site)

Advent Week 2: Love; The Prophets/Prophecies and Christ’s Birth

Advent 2

Mary or Sarah ?

Luke 1:26-38 (The Annunciation)

In the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a young girl engaged to a man who whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The young girl’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary Said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Here is Sarah’s great announcement story Genesis 18: 1-15 :

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of this tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My Lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on – since you have come to your servant.”

So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened in to the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women (menopause). So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too wonderful for the LORD? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”, for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”

Further along in verses 17-19 the LORD says to and of Abraham, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge this children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; so that the LORD may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Mary responds to God’s announcement with faith and commitment.  To God she says,

-Here I am

-I am a servant of the Lord

-I will do so according to your word

Despite being at first confused by the contents of the announcement, Mary trusts in the words of assurance given by God through His angel Gabriel, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”. Mary can accept God’s promise because she knows that as baffling and scientifically impossible as God’s announcement may be, nothing is impossible when God says so. If God said it, it will be. Unlike Sarah, Mary takes God’s announcement and his promise seriously. She responds not with a fear of God, but with trust.

Sarah’s annunciation is not a lovely story. Sarah is eavesdropping on her husband and his divine messengers. Unlike Mary, she does not receive a message directly from a divine intercessor.   And unlike Mary, Sarah does not respond with awe.  Instead, Sarah laughs at the announcement. This is serious enough that the story changes from “they/them” to “The Lord”. It is no longer the three men talking, it is now the LORD speaking and he is now talking directly to Abraham. He wants to know why Sarah is laughing. He reminds Abraham, “Is anything too wonderful (miraculous) for the LORD?”

As if Sarah hadn’t already dug herself into a deep enough hole by upsetting the LORD, she goes even further tell the LORD that he was wrong by denying having laughed. I’m not sure why anyone would tell the LORD a lie? As if God doesn’t already know the truth. I can’t imagine how embarrassed Abraham must have been. It was mighty brave and foolish of Sarah to lie to the LORD, but a promise is a promise and God kept his word her and Abraham. When their son was born they named him Isaac, meaning “he [God] laughs”.

Sarah responded to God with:

-Laughter (Doubt, mocking)



QUESTION: How do you respond to God’s seemingly impossible promises to you? Do you believe His promises? Will you respond like Mary or Sarah?

QUESTION Part 2: How would you have responded in each of these two scenarios? How would you have responded to the angel Gabriel? How would you have responded to the three messengers at Abraham’s tent? How would you respond to God after he has caught you in a lie; would you deny it or would you admit to God that He was correct?

Advent Day 7: Jesus Reveals Himself in our Actions

love and peace

How fortunate and blessed are we, that we have a god whose love is so big that He asks us to share that love with others. He cares so much about His creation that He sent Jesus to us to show us a living example of what that love looks like in action. Jesus in no longer literally on earth with us today, but His teachings and His spirit are here with us. We continue to see Jesus in action when believers carry out His commandment to love God, love others, and to do so through actions of justice, peace, and reconciliation; these are the living examples of God’s love. 

I enjoyed reading the liturgy (below) on the Sacredise website. There is a link for those who want to read it in its entirety; which I highly recommend. 


I encourage you to read the liturgy below and following that, pray for anyone in your life or someone who you admire from a far who is running the race set before them. Pray for that person(s), that they may have continued strength, passion, encouragement and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide them as they serve others by way of justice, peace, and reconciliation. It is not easy work and they need our prayers.  


We Gather

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 – NLT)

Eternal God,

In your infinite love for women and men,

you incarnated yourself in Christ,

and revealed your nature and your purpose to us;

In your infinite love for poor and wealthy,

you laid aside your glory

and walked among us as one of us;

In your infinite love for every race and tribe and nation,

you brought a new world into being

and taught us to live as citizens of God’s Reign;

But, you have not stopped incarnating yourself,

you still reveal yourself and your Reign of love and justice

to all who will see,

and to all who open their hearts and lives to you.

We praise and thank you, O God,

for the people through whom you reveal yourself still;

for those who give themselves to build a world

based on the values of your reign

of love, justice, peace and reconciliation.



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