November 23, 2015
About the Devotional Series:
For five consecutive Mondays, beginning on November 23, we’ll be releasing a new Advent devotional – one for each week in Advent plus one for Christmas Day. This year’s series focus on 2 Corinthians 4:7 in which Paul declares that, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God . . . .” The treasure of abundant life and the privilege of sharing that life with others has been poured into the “clay jars” of our lives. Each devotional will focus on a specific aspect of the “treasure” which has been poured into the “clay jars” of our lives and how that “treasure” can flow into the “clay jars” of family, friends, and neighbors. As a result of this treasure that we have received, we bless others.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
North American culture tends to associate Christmas with the giving and receiving of gifts. Pause for a moment and think back to some of the more memorable Christmas gifts you have received over the years.
On this first Sunday of Advent, we begin to anticipate remembering the significance of the first coming of Jesus to this earth. Hopefully, anticipation builds in the coming weeks as we reflect on the gifts, or treasures, that we receive as a result of Jesus coming.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul shares about the gift of comfort that we receive from God as a result of our relationship with Jesus. Verse five says, “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” Not only do sufferings or life challenges flow into our lives but the comfort that we receive, as a treasure, also overflows into and through our lives.
No matter where you are in the world there is no shortage of uncertainty. As I write this, Canada is in the middle of elections. The United States is only a year away from their elections. The Syrian crisis is front and center on the news, with refugees streaming into Europe and into countries around the world. Wild fires burn; floods wash away lives and homes. Most, if not all, of us have faced suffering to some degree and at the very least uncertainty. Comfort is something we cherish in the middle of those times.
This will be the third Christmas since my mom passed away. It was somewhat sudden, but in the midst of the grief I felt an unexplainable comfort knowing the difference a relationship with Jesus makes. We can experience that comfort when we know Jesus. In fact, it ought to overflow through us and extend to those around us who are also in need of comfort. It is both a gift we can receive and pass along as the Holy Spirit spills out through our lives.
Comfort almost always leads to hope, and hope needs to be shared. Recall these words from 1 Peter 3:15-16, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
During this Advent season, take time to enjoy the comfort that has been afforded to you through Jesus. Watch for ways to let that comfort flow through you to those around you. Be ready to give the reason for the hope that you have.
Father, thank you for the comfort you provide and the amazing gift it is. We pray that during this season you will allow us to bring comfort and hope to those who cross our paths as we love and live like Jesus. Amen.