*Advent is a wonderful time for new readers to join us. At this time of year we are covering familiar biblical content and people are open to spiritual pursuits. Also at this time, people desperately need the balance of spiritual practice that The Park Forum provides. In this season, consider sharing our devotionals with others and inviting them to join our community. Share a link to this devotional, or this subscription link, or use the sharing links included in the sidebar to help them join us.

Scripture Focus: 1 John 1.1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

Reflection: This We Proclaim :: Hope of Advent
By John Tillman

What are we waiting for in Advent? A day on the calendar, yes. But there is more.

In Advent we begin with hope. But our hope is not a wispy, wishful, thread. Christmas is sure and expected, arriving steadfastly in boxes checked off on a calendar and boxes packed and opened in times of gift-giving. Eventually, the day will pass, the season will move on and we begin waiting for the day of Christmas all over again. But the day we wait for on the calendar is merely symbolic and is not the actual day we are truly longing for.

Christmas Day is not the day that Jesus was born. Only badly written holiday cards and holiday movies believe that. The ancient church did not fix the celebration of Advent around the winter solstice because of history, but because of pedagogy. Celebrating the birth of Christ as light coming into the world, just at the time at which our world is at its darkest point was not an accident and it wasn’t cultural appropriation. Ancient Christians looked at their understanding of cosmology and saw the maker of the cosmos behind the movements. They measured the observable scientific data of the movements of the heavens and saw an analogy placed there by the maker of those heavenly movements.

At the time when we are farthest from the light, Light itself steps closer to us.
At the time when the world is the darkest, God appears as light.
At the time when all seems to be sinking, God rises and raises us with him.

John, whose gospel is more of an artistic logical argument rather than a historical logical document, leaves us no room to suspect that the events he recorded were fables or myths or legends. In his letters John unequivocally affirms the reality of his account of Christ. He, together with the other Apostles and disciples, touched and saw and heard the intangible, invisible, unknowable God in the person of Jesus Christ.

In Advent, we wait literally for a day on the calendar. In waiting for this day, we are only learning to wait for the return of the tangible, visible Christ. We see now as in a glass, darkly, then we will know face to face. And just as surely as the day on the calendar will return, so will also return, this same Jesus. As we wait, we learn to hope. Come, Lord Jesus!

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118.23

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Chronicles 1 (Listen -2:47) 
1 John 1 (Listen -1:28)

Thank You, Donors!
Thanks to our donors, in 2019 we will publish approximately 100,000 words of free, and ad-free devotional content. Without donor support, continuing this ministry would be impossible. As the end of the year approaches, consider whether the Holy Spirit might be prompting you to help support our 2020 content with an end-of-year gift or by becoming a monthly donor. Follow this link to our giving page.

Read more about Expectation Affects Anticipation :: Hope of Advent
The gifts we anticipate have already been purchased at great cost, and contain more than we can ever hope for.

Read more about Supporting our Work
Support the spiritual growth of thousands of readers across the world.