Advent Daily Devotion

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Advent Daily Devotion Dec 20

December 20

Forgiveness for Advent ~ By Rev. Shannon Sullivan

Realizing that the father was dead.  Joseph's brother said, "What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?"  But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid!  Am I in the place of God?  Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.  So have no fear." - Genesis 50: 15, 19-21a

During our vacation, Aaron and I happened across a small war memorial on our way from Paris to Toulouse.  Oradour-sur-Glane is what's called a martyred village in the middle of France.  On June 10, 1944, two hundred Nazi soldiers killed 642 villagers, including children, and then set the village on fire.  The French left the village ruined as a memorial to the lives lost there.  And no one knows why the Nazis did it exactly:  they were supposed to take hostages to send a message to the resistance, not quietly and viciously destroy a town.  One theory is the anger young Germans has for the French because of German financial struggles after World War I.  The soldiers did raid the homes and took valuables.  As I was standing in the ruins, shaking my head at the senselessness of revenge, I realized how easy it is to get caught up in those cycles of fear and resentment, not only on a world stage, as may have happened in Oradour-sur-Glane, but in our own families and church.

Joseph's brothers feared retaliation for the horror they committed against their own brother.  But rather than pay them back, he forgave them and entered into a new life with them, not saying what they did to him was ok, but saying God can make even the bad, good again.

Forgiveness is something we usually talk about in Lent, but this Advent I challenge us to forgive and break cycles of fear and resentment in our own lives.


Advent Daily Devotion Dec 19

December 19

Born of a Women ~ By Emma Kinsey

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law..." - Galatians 4: 4-5

They spoke of law as

            if it were before - sometime

before - and this was

         their saving grace:  now

that the linens had been washed

        and the doorframes scrubbed

clean long ago.  Before her,

         they sent no one to deliver

men.  Now, the child plays in the yard like

          any ordinary sacrifice to the

women who receive this gift

          by thrust.  But not her.  Would

we pretend to know her

           weight if she hadn't worn it

for our eyes?  The questions

          we are taught to stifle for fear

of their answers:  could you tolerate

            the pain?  Was the honor too great

to feel right moaning into the night when

           they shamed you, woman

sacrificing your body to the law?

            And yet the child

will erase that pain - and

           yet she will remember it.