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Advent Week Three | Joy | Traditions

kristenimageRest: [Take a few moments of silence. Then slowly pray these words.]

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Read: [Meditate on the scripture of the week.]

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 | Psalm 126 | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 | John 1:6-8, 19-28

Reflect: [Use this devotional thought for a moment of reflection.  Today’s devotional is written by Kristen Lamm.]

When I think of Christmas, the first word that comes to mind is tradition. The holiday season is a time in many families where traditions are continued from generations past and new ones are begun.  After getting married, I discovered how many traditions each family has at this time of year.  My in-laws love to watch White Christmas at least 20 times and spend time decorating countless cookies.  While my own family loves to have matching jammies on Christmas Eve night and have Christmas music dance parties starting in November.  We also love decorating our homes before Thanksgiving.  Then there are the traditions my husband and I have started that we hope to pass along to children some day. Our favorite is the tradition of a real tree with thousands of lights and decorating together each year.

All of these traditions got me thinking about how this time of year helps us focus more on being intentional with our families.  The season lends itself to time together.  Whether it is Christmas shopping on Black Friday, getting a Christmas tree or baking cookies, every family tends to have some traditions. These traditions become mile markers in the lives of our families.

Years ago, my dad started a Christmas tradition with me and my sister.  Every year we go shopping on Christmas Eve for my mom’s gift.  It used to be something I dreaded because I thought, “Dad you’ve had months to do this and you wait until last minute every year.” Recently, I discovered the real purpose for these last minute trips – uninterrupted time with his daughters.  Every year he uses this time to make memories, pass along stories and ultimately reinforce that time with us is more important than any gift we could give him. I now cherish these trips and look forward to our father – daughter time.

I don’t know if my dad knew that these trips would become such an important part of this time each year.  Maybe he started it because he legitimately wanted his girls to help him last minute shop for his wife.  But, it has transformed into something much more meaningful.  It has become a marker in our relationship each year.  I think that is why Advent is so important – it becomes a marker in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Psalm126 verse 3 says it all:

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

The season of Advent gives us opportunities to look back on what the Lord has promised and see all those promises come to fruition.  It gives us an opportunity to be intentional with our families and intentional with our Heavenly Father.

image-17Respond: [Put your prayer into action throughout the day.]

Family Experience: This week’s theme is “Joy,” so today find an opportunity to create a tradition of Joy. Take an old tradition and make it even more fun. Don’t just bake cookies, have a cookie eating contest. Don’t just listen to christmas music, dance to it. Don’t just drive to see Christmas lights, sing some carols at the top of your lungs. Let loose a little, and create a joyful moment for those you love. It may just become a new Christmas tradition.



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