Kristal Toews Discipleship Pastor

The word advent is defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. When we celebrate Advent in our churches, we remember the first arrival of Jesus and look forward to his second coming.

Advent readings are organized around four themes: peace, hope, joy and love. With this pattern in mind, we invited our staff to reflect on how these themes are developed and find their fulfillment in Jesus. This advent devotional is a product of their thoughtful responses to the scriptures.

We trust you will be blessed as you read the passage for each day, and meditate on these texts together with us. It is our prayer that this resource will increase your peace, hope, joy and love this Christmas season.

Week 1

The first week of Advent focuses on hope. As Christians, we reflect on the hope that was promised to Israel through the prophet Isaiah: that a future Messiah would fulfill all the promises given by God in the Old Testament. We also look forward with hope to the second coming of Jesus when ‘everything sad will come untrue’ (to quote Sam from the Lord of the Rings, who aptly expresses the sentiment of Revelation 22:1-5!)

Because we had baptisms at several Abbotsford locations, and a guest speaker at Downes Road preaching on love this past weekend, we tied the reflections on hope back to the last text from John which was preached at all Northview locations: John 15:18-16:4.

Week 2

The second week of Advent focuses on peace. In the years 732 – 597 BC, God judged Israel for rebelling against him and turning to idolatry. They refused to love God or their neighbour, and so He allowed them to be conquered first by Assyria and later by Babylon. For 70 years the people were displaced from their land, but then a small group was permitted to return and rebuild. The prophets during this time of exile directed the people to hope for a future peace. When Jesus’ birth was announced by the angels, they confirmed that He is the one who has brought and will bring peace on earth (Luke 2:14).

Our weekend text is John 16:4-15, and our Advent devotionals tie together Jesus’ words and his peace.

Week 3

The third week of Advent focuses on joy. When Jesus came as a baby, the angels announced, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10b-11). After meeting Him, the “shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 2:20). As we reflect on His first coming this week, may we look forward with joy to His return.

Our weekend text is John 16:16-33, and our Advent devotionals link Jesus’ conversations with his disciples to our present and future joy.