Tag Archives: Faith

Stuck in the Devotional Rut

**Post originally appeared on the Christ City Church blog in 2015 as
“When Devotions Aren’t Pretty.”**

Sitting on the porch under a soft, golden-hued sunrise, a woolen blanket draped around my shoulders, a steaming drink in hand and an open Bible in the other – this is what I’ve always dreamed of.  Like a childhood word-association game, this is the image that floats unbidden to my mind whenever I hear the words “morning devotions.”

This mental picture could have very easily been plucked off someone’s social media account. It’s flawlessly filtered, cropped, and splashed with cringe-worthy hashtags like #sunrisewithJesus. The epitome of an Instagram photo, it has somehow attached itself to my ideals of what devotions should look like. And since my devotions, in reality, look nothing like this, it ends up being yet another sobering reminder of my shortcomings.

I’ll be the first to admit that this past year of motherhood has rocked my devotional time (and not in an awesome party-rock kind of way.) It seems as if each day slips away in a blur of busyness, leaving me feeling exhausted and drained. It’s easy to flip on Netflix and tune out. How many times have I raced through my devotions, viewing it as simply another item to cross of my daily to-do list? How many nights have I fallen asleep before gathering the strength to grab my Bible off the nightstand table?

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Jesus Storybook Bible – Advent Week 4

As we draw near the end of our Advent season this year, I am so grateful for these daily reminders of God’s love, faithfulness and salvation plan. The entirety of scripture echoes His redemptive plan — a plan that includes a child born to a virgin and laid to rest in a scratchy, old feeding trough.

As we arrive at Christmas morning, we stand together with millions of others around the globe. We kneel before that babe in a manger, the straw tattooing our knees and the stench of manure on the tips of our noses, and worship. With love, we bow before the one who came and who is yet to come again. Our hearts join in with the hope-filled prayer of generations past as we cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come.”

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Jesus Storybook Bible – Advent Week 3

“We only have a few days left, mama!”

My son’s excitement rings out as he flips through his Bible each morning, checking to see how many days remain until Christmas morning. It’s part of our December Advent activity, working our way through the Jesus Storybook Bible. Each day we read a story from the Old Testament, leading up to the birth of Christ, and make an ornament to accompany it.

It’s been one of my favourite parts of this month: sitting down next to each other at the kitchen table and carefully turning soft pages, reading about God’s great plan together.

His excitement is tangible, his anticipation building. I’ve never seen him so eager to read his Bible. Not only are we uncovering the meaning of Advent, we’re also building a deeper love for God’s word. As we bend little pieces of wire and glue popsicle sticks together, we see how each of these stories point to Christmas morning — to the birth and life of Christ. God’s grand narrative is wrapped together better than any present we might find under our tree.

Here’s what we’ve been learning this week:
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Jesus Storybook Bible — Advent Week 1

I remember, as a child, staring up at the big Christmas tree in my elementary school lobby. It was decorated with paper ornaments; each of them carefully (or not so carefully) crafted by sticky-fingered, glitter-covered students. It was a Jesse tree. A reminder of the generations who waited on the arrival of a Messiah.

As kids, most of our anticipation around Christmas comes with what’s found under the tree. But the truth is, this sense of yearning and longing for Christmas morning can be transformed into something so much more than our desire for new toys and sparkling gifts.

This yearning leads us to the stable — past some scraps of swaddling cloth and an exhausted mother to a newborn babe. We’re reminded of those who waited for His birth, just as we ourselves wait with open hands and hearts for His return.

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