Sunday, December 2, marks the beginning of the 2018 Advent season. Over the following four weeks, Christians take up the discipline of waiting, cultivating a posture of prayer and expectancy as we look toward Christmas and a celebration of the incarnation. The vocabulary of Advent is made up of words like longing, preparation, darkness, waiting, and promise: rich theological themes that are fundamental to our understanding of what it means to live in the now and the not yet of our faith. Perhaps even more poignantly, the language of Advent speaks both a word of lament and a word of hope that might resonate amid the injustices and brokenness we witness and experience daily.
Campus Ministries invites you to the discipline of Scripture readings and reflections for each day of Advent, written by the CM staff. Our hope and prayer are that these practices will invite a season of restoration for our bodies and souls as we prepare to receive the light of Christ. Follow along daily on Instagram (@spucampusministries) or find the full-text version below.
SOME PRACTICAL TIPS
- For each day of Advent there will be one Scripture passage to read, pulled from the Revised Common Lectionary, Advent Year C. Follow the link for more daily Lectionary readings. Most passages are short, and we would encourage you to read them slowly, letting God’s Word sink in deeply to your heart and mind.
- The reflections are derived from each day’s reading; these are meant to help bring the Scripture into your everyday life.
- You’ll notice that the Psalms will repeat for a few days at a time. The Psalms are a book of worship, comprising songs, prayers, and poetry written by followers of God. Particular Psalms are repeated in the Advent lectionary as a kind of refrain, meant to reinforce the themes and the language of the season. Again, we encourage you to mull over their words, relishing the repetition.
- Throughout Advent, we encourage you to post on social media your reflections and observations of how God is at work bringing restoration in and around you. Be sure to use the hashtag #SPUAdvent so the rest of the SPU community can follow along!
Questions or comments? Email email@example.com.
First Sunday of Advent:
Sunday, December 2: Jeremiah 33:14–16
Word: Righteous Branch
Reflection: What is the invitation for you in this season of waiting? Are you able to let the Righteous Branch be your focus? In what ways do you recognize slow growth within and around you as we make this journey once more through the Advent season?
Monday, December 3: 2 Peter 3:1–18
Reflection: God is faithful to keep the promises God makes. As we look forward to this “coming” that God promised, may we be comforted and know the goodness and holiness of God’s kingdom purposes.
Tuesday, December 4: 2 Samuel 7:18–29
Reflection: As we wait in this space between the anticipation of Christ’s coming and the fulfillment of the incarnation, consider God’s blessings that bring you a sense of peace beyond all understanding. From where does this assurance come? Light a candle as you express your gratitude to God.
Wednesday, December 5: Isaiah 1:24–31
Reflection: Have you ever felt your best days are behind you? Or felt a sense of loss concerning a certain part of your life? Our God is one who restores our strength, our righteousness, and our peace until we become all that we were created to be. God does not give up! Today, find and listen to a song that describes the restoring qualities of God.
Thursday, December 6: Luke 1:68–79
Reflection: God has redeemed us through Jesus! This redemption is worth rejoicing over. Take time today to reflect on what it looks like to live each day as though you are redeemed.
Friday, December 7: Philippians 1:18b–26
Reflection: God gives us what we need, and God’s love is sufficient. Consider where you see God’s provision as sufficient in your life today. Do you have sufficient courage? Sufficient strength? Sufficient love?
Saturday, December 8: Malachi 4:1–6
Reflection: Throughout this day, when you look with intention, in what ways do you recognize God’s image in the people you encounter? How do you recognize God’s imprint within yourself?
Second Sunday of Advent:
Sunday, December 9: Malachi 3:1–4
Word: “Strong Soap”
Reflection: Happy Sunday! I was puzzled as I read this Scripture describe God as “Strong Soap that bleaches clothes” (NLT). This may not feel like a very God-like term, but it portrays God as one who purifies. This is a resounding reminder that there is nothing we can do in human strength to become acceptable before a Holy God. God alone is the one who refines, purifies and qualifies us to be children of God. So, the next time you add strong soap or bleach to your laundry, remember that just as the clothes need soap to be clean, we all need the saving power of God in our lives to qualify us to stand before a Holy God.
Monday, December 10: Romans 8:22–25
Reflection: The word hope implies no guarantees, no physical evidence, and no confirmation; just a strong believe that what we desire will happen. This makes hope a difficult word for many of us, especially with all the brokenness that is so visible in our world today. “The whole creation has been groaning” and continues to groan, yet we have no guarantees of when this brokenness will end. However, we have the promise of a redeeming God who loves us and loves the world. We may not see the fulfillment of what we hope for immediately, but we can wait patiently, and trust in the love of God. What is your biggest hope today? Say a short prayer, affirming your hope in God or honestly sharing your struggle to hope. God wants to hear our doubts too.
Tuesday, December 11: Psalm 126
Reflection: Name the ways God has filled you with joy to overflowing. What are three ways the Lord has done great things for you? How can you show gratitude for God’s presence in your life?
Wednesday, December 12: Isaiah 35:3–7
Reflection: A few days ago, we reflected on how difficult it is to hope amid the brokenness in the world. Today, we read about why we can hope: We have a God who has promised to come and save us! This is great news! No matter what we are going through, God WILL save us. Our salvation may not begin today or tomorrow, but we have a promise; we will be rescued! So, to those of us with fearful hearts, Be strong and do not fear, God is coming—to save you! Take a moment to listen to the song “He’s Able” by Kirk Franklin, and celebrate our Creator, who is able and willing to save us.
Thursday, December 13: 2 Corinthians 8:1–15
Reflection: When we have a willingness to share our gifts, time, and resources with others, we can truly be the body of Christ. In our willingness we can help bring the Kingdom of God to light. Where can you practice willingness today?
Friday, December 14: Isaiah 12:2–6
Reflection: Listen to the Taizé song, “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful.” Reflect on the lyrics and the ways God has done glorious things in your life.
Saturday, December 15: Amos 9:8–15
Reflection: Where in your story have you experienced God’s rebuilding and raising up? What did you do to reflect this in your life?
Third Sunday of Advent:
Sunday, December 16: Zephaniah 3:14–20
Reflection: Happy Sunday! Singing is an action that is often associated with being happy; however, human happiness remains unpredictable and dependent upon favorable circumstances. Still, we find the instruction/command/encouragement to sing scattered around our Christian sacred text. How do we then sing if our circumstances do not call for celebration? By meditating on God’s Word, we turn our focus from our circumstances to our Savior, reflecting on what the Lord has done in the past and the promises of what God will do in the future. Consider where you are now and how the divine minstrel has brought you through difficult seasons of your life; while some prayers might still be unanswered, open your mouth and SING! Sing about the creator who loves you, who saves you, and joins in heavenly harmony and sings with you. What is your favorite song? Open your mouth and sing it aloud and listen for the thundering harmonies of our Singing Savior!
Monday, December 17: Hebrews 13:7–17
Reflection: This text suggests that we can offer a sacrifice of praise to God through Jesus. Let us strive to offer praise to God in all that we do and have praises readily on our lips. Let us offer a sacrifice of praise and thanks for all that God sacrificed for us through Jesus.
Tuesday, December 18: Isaiah 11:1–9
Word: Little Child
Reflection: When have you been led in surprising ways by a little child? Was there a deeper lesson for you? Create an image of this experience.
Wednesday, December 19: Micah 4:8–13
Reflection: Prayers of lament and grief are not popular in churches today but there is an entire book of the Bible dedicated solely to offering prayers of lament. What brokenness or pain do you see in your life, in your family, in your city, or in your country? Give yourself permission to grieve and lament. If you are not sure how this works, read Lamentations 5 to give you a jump-start.
Thursday, December 20: Jeremiah 31:31–34
Reflection: Write a Haiku (first line: 5 syllables; second line: 7 syllables; third line: 5 syllables) using “covenant” as your prompt. What wisdom is revealed to you in this creative expression?
Friday, December 21: Hebrews 10:32–39
Reflection: In what do you put your confidence? Is leaning on God one of your first thoughts? Reflect on why this is.
Saturday, December 22: Psalm 80:1–7
Reflection: Many of us were raised with a view of God as tyrant and mean judge. As we conclude this Advent season, it is important to reflect on the names that Scripture uses to describe the Son of God who is coming to save us. Today’s text depicts God as a Shepherd, a trustworthy guardian we can turn to for protection. Read Psalm 23 and meditate on the work of the beautiful Shepherd-God in your life.
Fourth Sunday of Advent:
Sunday, December 23: Luke 1:39–55
Reflection: Happy final Sunday of Advent! The term “blessed” is often misunderstood as gaining material prosperity or succeeding in one way or another. In this text, however, Mary — the soon to be mother of our Lord — is declared to be blessed simply because she “believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Her blessing was wrapped in her faith for the fulfillment of God’s promise. God promised a Savior through a virgin teenager, and that promise was fulfilled. What impossible promise has God made to you? “You are blessed because you believe that the Lord will do what he said.”
Monday, December 24: Isaiah 9:2–7
Word: Great Light
Reflection: In the midst of dark winter nights, how do you bring light to others? How do you carry it for yourself? May you go into this night rejoicing, for a child has been born for us. Thanks be to God.
Monday, December 25: Luke 2:1–20
Word: Praising God
Reflection: Merry Christmas! “The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born!” The announcement of Jesus’ birth was met with joyful praise and singing by shepherds and angels. As you open presents and celebrate with your family, take a moment to offer praise and worship to the newborn Messiah King!
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018