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Advent and Christmas Celebration

Week 1, Sunday:  Hope

The Beginning of Advent

Nelson Bradford

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The music is Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

One evening, I was "channel surfing" and came upon a church service, already in progress. The choir was singing. Upon its conclusion, the pastor stepped into the pulpit and asked everyone to turn to Nahum, Chapter 1, Verse 7. He joked that most of the congregation would probably find it necessary to use their Bible indexes to find where the book of Nahum was located.

I was amused by that . . . and so were they. Then, he read these wonderful words:

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him."

Wow! Isn't that powerful? Do you suppose Peter was looking through the Old Testament one day and ran across that verse and then wrote, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7)? No? One translation of the Nahum verse reads that our Lord is a "stronghold in the day of trouble." And He certainly is.

Times of trouble are clearly spelled out for us each day with the news that comes our way via television or newspaper. Not too long ago, we decided to keep both doors locked at all times. Crazy things are going on in this world about us, and I'm afraid that it's not going to get any better until Jesus comes. But, regardless of what's happening all around us, we can have a deep settled peace within our souls, because our HOPE is in Him.

When the world that I've been living in
collapses at my feet,
When my life is shattered and torn;
Tho' I'm windswept and battered,
I can cling to His cross,
And find peace in the midst of my storm!
When my body has been broken
'til it's racked in misery,
When all the doctors shake their heads
and look forlorn;
Jesus comes to make my bedside a cathedral
of hope and love;
He sends His peace into the midst of my storm!

There is peace in the midst of my storm-tossed life;
There's an Anchor, there's a Rock to cast my faith upon;
Jesus rides in my vessel - so I'll fear no alarm;
He gives me peace in the midst of my storm!

-Words and Music by Stephen R. Adams

I am so thankful, this holiday season that we can have His peace in both fair weather and storms. Easy times and hard times. For hope produces peace.

His peace.

Praise God!

~ Nelson Bradford
Bourbonnais, Illinois, USA
PS - Isn't God good?!

Today's Scripture Readings*
[Psalm 146, 147] [Amos 1:1-5, 13-2:8] [1 Thessalonians 5:1-11] [Luke 21:5-19]


Our storms are so real, so dark, so wicked looking. They aren't just our imagination either. And each time our ship tosses in the storm we ache to hear the Master's words, "Peace, be still." Father, as we begin this journey in celebration of Your victory over all that opposes You, may we, like Nelson, come to know the hope of trusting in You even in the midst of the worst.


*These readings are adapted from the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer, Year 2.  For Year 1 readings, see Daily Readings, Advent 1.

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Music provided by provided by The Christian Hymnal. Background provided by Graphics by Jan.

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