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December 13: Obedient Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive these Advent readings directly in your inbox, sign up here. Luke 2:21-24: On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”),  and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of...

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December 12: Loud Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive these Advent readings directly in your inbox, sign up here. Luke 2:15-20: When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her...

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Advent Sermon: Down to Earth Christmas

Below, on December 6, 2015, Josh Moody preached the first of four Advent messages. This one is from Matthew 1:1-17 entitled “Down to Earth Christmas” from the Advent series, "It’s a Wonderful Christmas." In this message, four "down to earth" stories show us how Jesus really can be our Savior King this Christmas. Discussion questions about the sermon can be found here. ...

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December 11: Peaceful Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive these Advent readings directly in your inbox, sign up here. Luke 2:13-14: Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” The word “suddenly” introduces a moment that must have stuck in the minds of these shepherds ever after! They were “suddenly” surrounded by a huge crowd, suggesting not just a few but a massive assembly, and with a touch of the military band to it. The army of heaven had turned up, the marching band, loud, moving, triumphant, impressive, unmissable. Such glorious...

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December 10: True Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive these Advent readings directly in your inbox, sign up here. Luke 2:8-12: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby...

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Advent Guest Post: Remember and Teach

by Ryan Potter  The past few years my wife and I have had the same conversation with our son as we make the rounds to the multitude of grandparents' and great grandparents' homes for Christmas. As we pull into the driveway, we remind him to watch his manners, to make sure to say “please” and “thank you,” and not to be greedy and ask for more presents. Above all, we remind him the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place is because we've already been given the greatest gift the world has ever seen. There are many reasons that we do this, but none more important than the fact that a human heart, even at three years old, is a factory of idols, and it is easy to turn our affections from the greatest gift of the incarnate Christ to the lesser gifts of Thomas, Bob, Mickey, and the like. And...

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December 9: Silent Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive these Advent readings directly in your inbox, sign up here. Luke 2:1-7: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they...

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December 8: Divine Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. Matthew 1:22-24: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. One of the strangest apparent accidents of the text is that while Joseph has just been told by the angel to call the child “Jesus,” we now learn that calling this child specifically “Jesus” is actually in fulfillment of a promise to call him “Immanuel.” Such moments can...

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December 7: Saving Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. Matthew 1:18-21: This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: his mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in...

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December 6: Community Joy!

by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. Luke 1:56: Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. A short reading today! But I love these little human touches that Luke gives us in the midst of his grand narrative. We have just heard the Magnificat. We have had the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, and of the Christ. We have gloried in the highest heights, and now Luke gives us some domestic details and relational insights. Why? Luke loves to assure us that that of which he writes is true. He says at the beginning of the Gospel: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the...

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