While retailers would have you start preparing for Christmas in August, many Christian denominations begin the season closer to December with Advent. This period a few weeks ahead of Christmas is filled with prayer and meditation on Christ.
The four Sundays before Christmas are celebrated by church congregations and families as they light candles each week signifying the four virtues that Christ brings us: hope, love, joy and peace.
A treasured Palm Beach Atlantic University tradition is the Advent devotional guide, edited by Dr. Ken Mahanes, special advisor to the President. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of PBA’s founding, the guide this year takes an historic approach by sharing some of the best devotional submissions written by students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators over the years.
The guide opens with a piece by PBA’s first president, Dr. Jess Moody. Contributions also come from two other former presidents, Dr. Paul R. Corts and Dr. David Clark. Other writers include Dr. Perry Hildreth, who receives the credit for almost single-handedly creating an annual theme and collecting devotionals for many years prior to Dr. Mahanes.
The free Advent guide is published digitally. Daily devotions will arrive in the email boxes of those who register for this free service beginning on December 2. Devotions will be delivered each day culminating in a special message by current PBA President William M. B. Fleming, Jr. for Christmas Day, December 25.
Good News readers who would like to receive daily devotions can sign up for free at www.pba.edu/advent-guide-2018
This devotion, written by Professor of English Dr. Susan Jones, was published in the 2017 edition of Palm Beach Atlantic’s Advent Guide.
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 24:40).
You can spend lots of time looking for clothing with pockets nowadays. It seems designers think you don’t want to ruin their lovely garments by carrying your keys with your hands free.
Gone are the days when you went to church with Grandma, and your pockets contained your offering twisted up in your handkerchief. And Grandma’s capacious pockets (and purse) brought forth a miraculous cornucopia of blessings to keep your attention from straying to “interacting” with your siblings during the sermon — peppermints, hankies to make into baby dolls, or crayons to color in the bulletin. Grandma had deep pockets for loving and caring for everyone.
And so does God.
We are reminded at this time of year just how deep God’s love for us is. This is the time of year when God gave his only Son for us — what greater gift than that? This is the time of year when God came down to live among us, broken, bickering brothers and sisters whose attention is too easily distracted and who need that Blessing Hand on our shoulders.
This is the time to be thankful for the great gift of the Incarnation and to look for Jesus everywhere in our lives — He told us He would be here in the hungry, the sick and those without covering and shelter. It’s a time to empty our pockets with the same generosity as Grandma, even if all we have to offer is thanksgiving.
“Holy Lord, I thank You for this day and for the gift of life. Help me to reach deep and spread Your Love throughout the world. I ask it in Jesus’ name, Amen.”