A Light Dwelling

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Advent 2020. A Light Dwelling offers you a daily pause in God’s Word as you anticipate the coming celebration of Jesus’ birth. Our posts begin Saturday, Nov. 28, with a reflection from writer and teacher Jasmine Timm. She will share additional posts the first three Saturdays in December and again on Christmas Day. On Sundays, beginning Nov. 29, we will share a simple post to help you take your family or a group of friends through the traditional five candles of the Christmas season. We will provide you with a brief Scripture reading and some suggested carols you can enjoy with others as you light that day’s candle. We will also propose a fun activity you could do that day or at another time. Then, Monday through Friday, we’ll post Pause, Ponder, and Pray to guide your daily devotional time as you journey through the story of Christmas. We pray A Light Dwelling is a sweet gift for you this season. — Many Blessings from the UFC Women’s Ministry Team.

Advent 2020

Love’s Light Shines

Merry Christmas, Friends! We know this day is full of activity for many of you and maybe a little lonely for others of you. We’re praying that wherever and with whomever you find yourself that you are able to rest in the light of Jesus Christ and know just how much you are loved by Him and by us. — UFC Women’s Ministry Team

Recognizing Immanuel

Today we meet Simeon and Anna in Jerusalem as their longing for a Messiah is recognized in the Baby nestled in a young mama’s arms. They spot Him not because a golden halo hovers over Him or an audible voice declares, “This is the Messiah.” No, they recognize the Son of God incarnate as a baby because they are living set apart for God, ever in His presence.

Following the Light

The wise men searched diligently for the king of the Jews to worship Him. Herod searched diligently for the king of the Jews to kill Him. Have you searched diligently for the Light of the world?

Shepherds at Migdal Eder

Today’s narrative comes from both biblical, historic, and Jewish sources concerning the life and work of the shepherds outside Bethlehem.

Do Not Fear

Editor’s Note: This week in A Light Dwelling, we may come to Christmastime accounts you have already read this month or know by heart, and we encourage you to not skip over these passages! Open your Bibles to read as if for the first time or listen to another voice read the stories of that first Christmas to you. Place yourself in the narratives. Imagine you are the angel Gabriel delivering startling news to Mary and are Mary herself. Consider what your feelings would have been if you were Joseph, one of the angelic messengers, a shepherd, Simeon, Anna, a wise man, and even Herod. What would it have felt like to worship the Savior of the world for the first time? We pray the narrative comes alive as we take you back to First Century Israel. Today we’re looking at an oft-repeated command ”Do not fear!” that was heralded in several of these angelic messages. Will you, too, heed the command?

The Angel’s Candle: Peace

Today on this fourth Sunday of Advent we light the Angel’s Candle and remember the good news that the angels proclaimed on the first Christmas more than 2,000 years ago — “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Peace. The balm of a weary world’s cry.

The Unexpected Deliverer

Today Jasmine Timm concludes a four-part series on Immanuel, God with us, by looking at how Jesus’ arrival was unexpected but so needed.

Christ the King

As we study several sections from God’s Word today, we’ll explore more about how Christ is our King. He is the One who came to earth as a baby more than 2,000 years ago, and He is the One whose return we eagerly await.

The Servant King

In Philippians 2:5-8, we read that Jesus, who is God, came down to earth as a servant. He was fully God yet did not use His position to His own advantage. Instead He gave up His life on behalf of mankind to fulfill their greatest need. Out of His great love, He provided the way for them — and for us today — to live with Him forever (Romans 5).

An Unlikely King

Have you ever met someone who turned out to be someone unexpected? Today we’re looking at how looks can be deceiving and how Jesus brought a kingdom to earth that seems completely backward to the world we live in today.

The Lineage of a King

Today we’re studying how the lineage of kings, including those of Israel, was meticulously recorded and protected over the years to help people know where they belonged in a family and community. As we look at Matthew 1, we see how Christ Jesus came to earth through the lineage of King David to remind His people who they once were in darkness and who they now are in His light.

Israel’s Request for a King

Editor’s Note: We have now explored the role of a prophet as God’s mouthpiece to speak His Word and of the priest as God’s worker and intercessor to call the people into His presence and into worship. Our Immanuel is both a better prophet and priest as He perfectly fulfills the intention of both roles. This week we plan to look at one more aspect of our Immanuel as the King. Our Immanuel is Prophet, Priest, and King as He speaks, draws us to Himself, and in His power and righteousness rules over His creation.

The Shepherd’s Candle: Joy

We’re already to the third Sunday of advent, the season in which we await the coming celebration of Jesus’ birth. Today’s post is a simple one with ideas you can do with even the littlest ones in your home. May the joy of Jesus’ arrival on earth be felt in your homes today.

An Unexpected Mercy

Editor’s Note: In today’s post, Jasmine Timm takes us to C.S. Lewis’ imaginary land of Narnia and to several Bible passages to remind us that sometimes we receive the greatest comfort from the whispers God allows to come out of darkness.

A New Covenant, A New Priesthood

With the new covenant came a shift in the priesthood. Instead of the priests offering daily sacrifices to cover sins, Christ provided a sacrifice once and for all. Priests no longer needed to go before God on behalf of the people, as they did in the Old Testament, because we are the new priesthood (I Peter 2:5)…

A Perfect High Priest

The Jewish people have long marked holidays that involve preparation, fasting, feasting, resting, readings, and worship as a way to remember what God has done for them and to celebrate His goodness and love toward them. One such holiday, the Day of Atonement, was an annual gathering of God’s people to remember…

Duties of the Priest

The priests’ duties in the tabernacle were to call the people to a right worship, to shepherd and guide those in the flock, to prepare and to care for the sanctuary space, and to be advocates and intercessors for the people before God, doing the hard and holy work of sacrifices for sin as they build up the household of God.

A Covenant

Today we’re looking at the covenant that God made with His people in the Old Testament and makes with us today.

A Dwelling Place

Editor’s Note: Last week we saw how God spoke to His people in days of old through the prophets, telling them that a Messiah would come to rescue them from darkness. God’s Word through the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and others pointed to the people’s sin and their need for a Messiah to come and to take away their sins, reconciling them to their God. That Messiah, Jesus, became the perfect prophet, who speaks to us through His Word today. This week we are going to explore our Messiah as Priest, who calls us to worship and who mediates a new and better covenant that provides for atonement, so we might dwell with our God.

The Bethlehem Candle: Faith

Greetings, Friends, on this second Sunday of advent as we look forward to the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth more than 2000 years ago. Today we pause to light a candle that reminds us that Jesus chose to become flesh in the small, insignificant town of Bethlehem, where angels were His heralds and where shepherds, wise foreign men, and others could all worship Him. God wanted all of humankind to be able to come to Him, to see Him, to know Him, and to worship Him.

From Garden to Garden City

Today in our A Light Dwelling advent series, Jasmine Timm shares a beautifully written post about our created purpose — to tend a garden alongside God — and what happened when sin entered that garden. Jasmine reminds us how God provided a way, gave us a great Hope, that we will one day very soon return to live and to work in an eternal garden city as creation, darkened by sin, is restored by the Lord God, the Light of the world.

A Fulfillment of the Prophets

When Jesus was born more than 2000 years ago, most of the world was oblivious to the fact that He had arrived. Social media just wasn’t a thing back then. Mary wasn’t texting her best friend at the first sign of birth pangs. Grandma wasn’t tweeting that Mary was in labor. And Joseph wasn’t posting pictures moments after the birth. In those pre-social media days, people had to wait for birth announcements.

A Voice of One in the Wilderness

A single blank page marks the 400-year stretch of prophetic silence between the Old and New Testament books of our Bibles. To us it’s a simple flip of the page to read how the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled, but for the Jewish people waiting for their King, the years must have felt like the longest dark night of the soul. In many ways, they probably felt God had abandoned them, but we can see now how God was working in the silence.

God speaks to us through His Word

Who are you tempted to listen to instead of God? When are you most inclined to believe the stories of others? Today we look at how Jesus is our firsthand source for what is true.

God’s Word Comes through the Prophets

Editor’s Note: The word “advent” traditionally means the arrival of a notable person, and as Christians, the advent season has long been about preparing our hearts for the celebration of Immanuel’s birth more than 2000 years ago. The advent season is also about anticipating the second coming of Jesus, who will return to make all the world new. During the next four weeks in this season of advent, we plan to share Bible passages each day that help us better understand our Immanuel. This week we look at how God used men and women long generations before that first Christmas Day to tell of the Messiah’s coming.

The Prophecy Candle: Hope

Today in our advent series A Light Dwelling, we are lighting the first of five traditional candles of the Christmas season. You don’t need anything fancy to mark this day, but lighting a candle can remind you and those around you that God fulfilled the prophecy that He would send a “great light (to) those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness” (Isaiah 9:2).

The Light Breaking Through

Welcome to Advent 2020. A Light Dwelling offers you a daily pause in God’s Word as you anticipate the coming celebration of Jesus’ birth. Our posts begin today with a reflection from writer and teacher Jasmine Timm. She will share additional posts the first three Saturdays in December and again on Christmas Day. On Sundays, beginning Nov. 29, we will share a simple post to help you take your family or a group of friends through the traditional five candles of the Christmas season. We will provide you with a brief Scripture reading and some suggested carols you can enjoy with others as you light that day’s candle. We will also propose a fun activity you could do that day or at another time. Then, Monday through Friday, we’ll post Pause, Ponder, and Pray to guide your daily devotional time as you journey through the story of Christmas. We pray A Light Dwelling is a sweet gift for you this season. — Many Blessings from the UFC Women’s Ministry Team.