Advent is a time we can refresh our amazement in the prophecy and arrival of Jesus the Messiah, growing closer to Him as we proclaim our longing for His coming again. We pray this devotional will challenge and remind you of the hope, joy, preparation, and love that we experience as we anticipate Christ’s birth.
Christmas is a time for reflection. Think back across your year. Think back even further. Do you remember what you used to dream for your life? What had you planned for yourself?
Take a second to write out some of the things that you had planned for your life. Then take a second to write out the things that have occurred that are definitely not what you had planned for your life.
Read Genesis 37 & 39
Make a list of the events that happens in Joseph’s life. Then, as you read chapter 39, make a note every time you notice the phrase ‘the Lord’ and what you observe about it.
Joseph’s life clearly didn’t go as he planned, but where was God when everything was going wrong? The Lord was with Him.
The story takes a sudden turn. Joseph becomes Pharaoh’s right hand man and enables Egypt— and his entire family — to survive a severe famine in the land. God uses all the tremendous suffering in Joseph’s life to get Joseph to the right place and time to save God’s people.
Thousands of years later, Mary probably felt a lot like Joseph. If God had called her to bear the Messiah, then surely he could have prevented a census forcing her to leave her home at the last moment of her pregnancy. But that stressful transition happened because God was with Mary, moving her to Bethlehem so that Christ could be born in the right place and the right time to fulfill the prophecy.
Thirty-three years after that, the disciples probably felt a lot like Joseph as well. If God had called Jesus to save the world, then surely He wouldn’t need to go to the cross! But that devastating day happened because God was with them, and with us. What we didn’t know was that He was working to save us.
Think about your current pain and sufferings. Pray and ask God to give you faith to believe that even when things aren’t going as you might want, God is there. These things are not happening in your life because God has abandoned you, but because He is Immanuel, God with you. Cling to His plan, and cling to His heart. Because our God has taken on human form, we can trust Him and be honest with Him in our suffering. He has walked through pain. He knows what it is like to have your life turned upside down for the purposes of God. This is the gift of Immanuel. Feel free to write down your prayer requests.
This Jumpstart Advent series was written and produced by Park Community Church in Chicago, IL.