Crescent Hill Baptist Church

Advent Meditations - 1978

Darrell Adams (Hope)
........Jacque Culpepper (Peace)
................Carol Yearwood (Joy)
........................Bill Leonard (Love)

A Christian Family Prepares For Christmas

An Introduction to Advent

Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas. It is not to be confused with the celebration of Christmas or the commercial and secular activities of the pre-Christmas season. Advent has traditionally and historically been a celebration of Christians in the church as well as in family and private devotions. Southern Baptists have been very hesitant and often slow to join other Christians around the world in some of the traditions of the Christian Church and its celebrations of important Christian events.

Advent is becoming more a part of Crescent Hill and our preparation for Christmas. We are becoming more aware of its place of importance in our personal preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth.

Advent means "to prepare" and this preparation has a two-fold meaning. One is the preparing for Christmas '78 and the other is the preparing for Christ's second coming. The two colors of candles represent solemness and royalty, in the three purple candles, and joy in the one pink candle. Our preparation should be a very serious time for preparing and rededicating ourselves in anticipation of Christmas and in the second coming of Christ. Joy, too, is important during this preparation because we are celebrating the fact that Christ has come and we are soon to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The Advent wreath is made of greenery which is the symbol of Christian growth. The circular form represents eternity.

Our goal is that as we celebrate Advent '78 that this devotional booklet will help you and your family in preparing for a Christ-centered Christmas and to assist you in gathering some fresh insights and rekindling old commitments as we make ready for that holy night.


Today the first purple candle on the Advent Wreath is lighted. With its glowing light we are reminded that HOPE is what has sustained us in our belief that Christ is coming again.

About the Writer
December 3 - December 9 HOPE

The writer for the first week of Advent is Mr. Darrell Adams. Mr. Adams is a Seminary student who has been a member of Crescent Hill for the past three years. He has shared his musical talents with us by playing his guitar, singing in the choir, and leading the singing on Wednesday night in the Fellowship Hall.

He is a free lance musician and composer and is currently serving as a member of the music committee of our church.

His hobbies are fishing and furniture refinishing.

He and his wife, Alice, have recently become the proud parents of a baby girl named Laura Elizabeth.

Sunday, December 3
READ Isaiah 7:14

The child was to be a sign of God's saving presence. Ahaz saw his choices as fighting against the invading Assyrians or becoming a tribute paying ally. Isaiah said that either of these choices would be against God. Ahaz should put his trust in God, and God alone. The child was a sign, a living reminder. Immanuel!

The writer of Matthew uses the prophecy of Isaiah to point to the birth of the child who would be more than a sign. He would be a man whose life would reveal God's saving presence with us. Hope that 'God is with us' would become a living reality.

The birth of a child is a hopeful experience: Hope for ourselves that we are good parents, hope for the child that he becomes all he can be, and hope that God is with our family.

Prayer: Father, as we remember the birth of Jesus help us be hopeful all over again, hopeful in this child who is The child for us all. The child who causes us to depend on You and to be Your people. Amen.

Monday, December 4
READ Isaiah 11.1-9

When I lived in West Virginia, in our backyard was an old tree stump. Normally there's nothing very eye-catching about a stump, that's why we usually trip over them. But this stump caught my eye. It was interesting for some reason which at first wasn't quite clear. Suddenly I saw it! Out of the middle of this old stump was growing a beautiful red blossom. The difference between seeing an old stump and now seeing something beautiful growing, from the old stump was exciting. Here was new life for a dead stump.

Isaiah saw what I saw. The stump was the people of God who had refused to see the sign of the child. They put their trust in men who did not trust in God, and they were almost destroyed. But the sign of Immanuel was still true and out of the stump was growing something much greater than the tree had been.

Prayer: Father, help us to see the hope grows even in what seems to be a hopeless situation. Amen.

Tuesday, December 5
READ Isaiah 53:1-6

I suppose that one of the greatest fears in our lives is that the people who we love and depend on might, at some point, reject us because of something we have done, or even for no reason we can think of. We fear being rejected.

God knows our fear of rejection. He also knows the experience of rejection. God sent the One who was to reveal the Hope He offers us of living in a loving relationship to God, of being "made right" with Him. Isaiah says that God's offer of Hope for our hopeless lives was rejected and that because of our rejection of Him we are not deserving of His love. Still He loves us. He took our rejection and made it our Hope.

Prayer: Father, we can not help but see the suffering and pain of rejection Your love had endured for us. Help us love You more fully, living confidently, knowing You are always our Hope, never our rejection.

Wednesday, December 6
READ Isaiah 61:1-3

We emphasize giving at Christmas time. God's giving His son, our giving good things to family and friends. It's a giving time of year. And of course, we want to give gifts that people need, gifts that are useful. After all, no one would want a gift that he couldn't use or a gift that was something that he already had. We hope for what we need and don't have.

Though we all say "I've been good" we know our family and friends can think of times when we were not. But by giving gifts to each other we show our love for each other as well as forgiveness for bad times. Gifts are forgiving.

Prayer: Father, we need to be loved and forgiven. Thank you for the Good News that in Jesus you have given to us what we need and don't have a part from you. Amen.

Thursday, December 7
READ John 1: 9-13

In the beginning, the time of creation, the world was completely dark, no light at all. The first words spoken in Genesis were "Let there be light." Everything God then created was created in the light, even night.

Hope creates light in darkness. Once we see the light of hope, our lives are never in complete darkness again. There may still be times of "night," but there is light even in its darkness.

This is what John tells us in today's scripture. The light of our Creator was born into the midst of our darkness and a new world of light and life has begun. The light is Jesus, God's son.

Prayer: Father of light, Father of hope, thank You for coming into our darkness and giving us the Light so we can know You and become Your children.

Friday, December 8
READ Matthew 11:2-6

"Are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect some other?"

All this week we have read scriptures that point to the coming of Immanuel, Jesus Christ, to live among us and to show us we can love God and each other; to show us that the wrongs of our world can be made right because God himself makes this possible.

Jesus' answer to John's disciples was not a simple "yes." He told them to look and see what was taking place and then to decide for themselves who He was. The truth of who Jesus was, was illustrated in what He did. It is this truth that makes our Hope complete; the person we hope for lives with us and we can concretely see the difference He makes to us in our lives.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that our hope is not just dreaming; thank You that we can actually experience our hope.

Saturday, December 9
READ Colossians 1: 23-27

When I was about twelve I just couldn't wait to grow up. Growing up meant to me that I would finally be out of school, have a good job, and settle down with the girl of my dreams. However, at each of these points, I discovered that growing up was more than I thought. It doesn't seem to have a stopping place. There is still more learning to come, new job possibilities, and "being family" is anything but settling.

I think we are always growing and that is good. We discover that life can be so much more than we imagined.

The apostle Paul encourages the church to keep growing; to keep faith that in God's love and mercy, all that's not right in our lives is being made new. Our hope can be unshakable and unending because God makes it possible through Jesus Christ. He is with us always, helping us grow, and grow, and grow ...

Prayer: Father, with our lives we give thanks as we continue to grow up in You. Amen.


On the second Sunday in Advent two purple candles are now lit. The ever increasing light given off by these candles symbolize the fact that Christ said, "I am the light of the world." Not only was He the light of the world but was the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

About the Writer
December 10-16 PEACE

Jacque Culpepper, writer for this week, is a teacher in the Youth I department. At present she is serving as co-chairman of the Preschool Task Team and is a member of the Education Committee as well as a member of the Christ in the Arts committee. She is a member of the Agape Circle and serves as co-chairman of the clothes closet (which is sponsored by the Agape Circle Members for United Crescent Hill Ministries.)

She has taught Junior and Senior high English for seven years and at present is working part time at home typing for a court reporter.

She is involved in volunteer work for the Younger Woman's Club of Louisville and for the Recording for the Blind.

Her hobbies include boating, water skiing, swimming, camping, sewing, needlework, and backyard gardening.

She and her husband, Alan, have two children, Erin and Rodney.

Sunday, December 10
READ Isaiah 9: 6-7

How strange it may seem to us that a royal Prince should be born in a stable and then have to use a trough for his first bed. The details of Jesus birth--the delivery in that unsanitary stable, the long tiring journey to Bethlehem, the simple layette Mary had brought along--are lost, however, in the splendor of the occasion!

2 Corinthians reminds us that though Christ was rich, He became poor for us and that through His poverty we might become rich. May we as Christmas draws near meditate on the birth of our Saviour, opening our hearts to Him as never before, and recognizing Him as the Prince of all Peace.

Prayer: Our Father, thank you for sending us Your only Son, the PRINCE OF PEACE. It is because You did that we can be "born again" into the kingdom of God. Amen.

Monday, December 11
READ Isaiah 52:7

All parents remember well the excitement and joy they experienced when they shared the good news of the birth of a child to their family and friends. For some perhaps that meant long-distance phone calls. Sometimes it may be printed in the newspaper, or the church bulletin. For all it meant written birth announcements.

It was an angel of the Lord, however, who first announced from the mountains the glorious news of our Saviour's birth. The good news he proclaimed to Israel was "Rejoice, Your God reigns!"

Prayer: "O holy child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in,--Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell,--O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel."

Tuesday, December 12
READ Jeremiah 23:5-6

Perhaps you have visited a vacation spot where you have found peace and tranquillity, and when it was time to return home, a part of you wanted to remain a little longer. Callaway Gardens at Fine Mountain, Georgia, is such a special place for me. A plaque at the gardens' entrance asks each guest to leave the gardens as he finds them and to take away only the peace and tranquillity of the gardens.

A good many verses and hymns remind us that Christ offers us the lasting peace that we can take with us always. We don't have to go to any special place to find it either. It is always available.

Prayer: Our Father, I thank Thee that Thou art interested in every detail of my life. Help me to DWELL IN PEACE as I go about my daily routine. Give me the grace to live above petty irritations and fretful worries. And when I fail, create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.

Wednesday, December 13
READ Micah 5:2-5

Each year at this time, we busy ourselves with the task of buying and/or making the gifts which we will give to our loved ones on Christmas Day. For some it is a real chore, tripping around town trying to find that "right" gift for the hard to please.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote "God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame." One of God's gifts to us is the GIFT OF PEACE. We need not shop for it. He alone can give it to us. If only we would remember and believe that God became flesh and dwelt among us. He still lives in our hearts to guide, comfort, and strengthen us. In the midst of our giving to others we should not forget His great Gift, the Gift of everlasting Peace.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the GIFT OF PEACE. As the wise men presented Christ with gifts and worshipped Him, we also express our gratitude for Christ's coming through our worship and praise, in His name we pray. Amen.

Thursday, December 14
READ Luke 2:8-14

The shepherds were obviously filled with fear as the angel of the Lord appeared to them. However, this fear was soon replaced with the peace that came from the message of the Saviour's birth.

Recall the familiar words of such hymns as "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night" or "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and as you do, place your total faith in God today, and you also will find the peace and joy those shepherds experienced long ago on a hillside near Bethlehem.

Prayer: Dear Father, as You removed the fear from the shepherds, and replaced it with the true peace which only You can give, grant us Thy peace today as we place our faith in You, and seek to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, December 15
READ Matthew 12:18-21

Long ago the Prophet Isaiah and others told of the Messiah whom God would send to lead his followers. For many years the people waited and looked forward to the coming of the Promised One.

Luke tells us that after the shepherds had heard the good news from the angel, they went to Bethlehem to see for themselves the fulfillment of the prophecy of old. They were thrilled as they saw the Christ-Child, and they hurried away from the stable to tell others of the greatness of God's love. As we make plans in our home and in our church for the celebration of His birth, let us be mindful of the manner in which God always keeps His promises to us.

Prayer: Ever loving Fathers we thank You for sending us Your Son as our Saviour. Help us to remember that You still seek to love us and help us each day, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Saturday, December 16
READ John 14:27

In His farewell address to His disciples, Christ told them He was leaving His Peace with them. Again when Christ appeared to His disciples after His crucifixion, He said to them "Peace be with you." Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that we are to let the Peace of Christ rule in our hearts always. And again in Ephesians 2:14-18, Paul proclaims Christ is our Peace and that He came and preached Peace to those far and near and that through Him we all have access to the Father.

Harry S. Truman said "We miss the purpose of Christ's birth if we do not accept it as a living link which joins us together in spirit as children of the everlasting and true God. In love alone...will be found the solution of all the ills which afflict the world today."

Prayer: Our Father, we pray that there will be born in us a Saviour and over us all will shine a star--sending its gleam of hope to all the world. Amen.


In lighting the Pink candle on this third Sunday in Advent we are showing that Christ has come, and in His coming there was brought "Joy to the World."

About the Writer
December 17-23 JOY

Mrs. Carol Yearwood, our writer for this third week in Advent, and husband, David, have been members at Crescent Hill since 1968. Mrs. Yearwood is an active member as she serves as one of our Trustees this year.

Mrs. Yearwood is an attorney in St. Matthews. One of her hobbies is politics.

Mr. and Mrs. Yearwood have one son, David, Jr.

Sunday, December 17
READ Isaiah 9:2-3

The Christmas that my husband was serving with the Army in Viet Nam, I dreaded the coming of the Christmas season. Each Christmas song and sentiment seemed to accentuate the loneliness I was feeling.

Christmas morning shortly after six o'clock a.m. I was awakened by a knock at the door. The postman was there with a package and a bundle of letters from my husband. The postman explained that the postal workers had volunteered to come in on Christmas Day to deliver the backlog of packages and letters which had arrived from Viet Nam. How grateful I felt as I realized how many persons had sacrificed their own family time to bring to me a message of Christmas joy!

The death of a loved one, illness, or the absence of family members may set the scene for a dark Christmas. It is when you are finding your way through the darkness that you can most appreciate the light and joy of Christmas.

Prayer: Our Father, we are thankful that when our path is dark, You send your light to show us the way. Amen.

Monday, December 18
READ Zechariah 9:9

One Christmas our family visited in a church which observed an interesting custom. At the front of the sanctuary was a magnificent birthday cake. At an appropriate time in the service each person in the congregation came forward and placed a gaily wrapped present near the cake. Everyone then sang a rousing "Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus."

The gifts had been chosen with the homebound members of the church in mind. Each family present volunteered to deliver the gifts to those unable to attend the Christmas service. The recipients of the gifts were delighted to know that their church friends had not forgotten them this Christmas Day.

What an unusual king this Christ Child we adore: Earthly kings require their subjects to come to them to show homage. This King seeks out His subjects and comes to them. "Look, your King is coming to you."

Prayer: Our Father, help us to bring the good news of Your love to those we meet this day. Amen.

Tuesday, December 19
READ Matthew 2:7-12

Whenever I read this story, I recall a visit I once made to a refugee' camp near Beirut. We had been invited to worship with a group of Palestinian Christians one Sunday morning. When we arrived, there was great excitement within the church fellowship. During the night a son had been born to one of the church families. Proudly the new father invited us to visit his little family.

Their home was a Packing case turned on its side. This family's belongings were few. However, here in the midst of poverty and despair, a family rejoiced at the miracle of birth. We had no gold, frankincense, or myrrh to leave with this very special child. We had to make do with coins, baby lotions, and vitamins.

There is a joy that comes from new life, fresh starts and beginnings. No wonder the wisemen came such a long way to worship the Christ Child.

Prayer: Our Father, just as we appreciate the traditions of our past, help us to be open to new opportunities especially at Christmas time. Amen.

Wednesday, December 20
READ Luke 1: 46-48

As I came into the sanctuary for the Christmas Eve Service, I was tired. Examinations had occupied all my time until just before Christmas. I was haunted by the many preparations that were a part of "Keeping Christmas" in our home that were unfinished or not even started. When the congregation sang "Joy to the World," I was unable to express joy.

I vowed that next year would be different and it was. Our family discussed our Christmas traditions. Those that were no longer meaningful were set aside. The responsibility for the Christmas preparations was more evenly distributed. We spread our celebration over a longer period of time so that our time together was more relaxed.

How many families are in bondage to their Christmas preparations? How many families would be willing to simplify their Christmas celebration in order to restore the joy that is Mary's song?

Prayer: Our Father, free us from that which keeps us from praising You. Amen.

Thursday, December 21
READ John 1:1-4

I was in the fifth grade when my church school class chose as its Christmas Project to collect mittens for children who had no mittens. We used the mittens to decorate the Christmas tree in our classroom. Word of our project spread through the church and soon hundreds of brightly colored mittens decorated our tree. I was inspired to write a bit of poetry:

"The prettiest sight I hope to see
Is our 1950 Mitten Tree!"

The mittens were sent to a mission church located in the western part of our state. Soon we received a letter from the pastor telling how excited the children of his church had been when they left the Christmas Service with their own pair of mittens. We were happy to think of the children leaving the church with warm hearts and warm hands because we had learned to share.

The joy of Christmas is so difficult to keep to oneself. It is never complete until we have shared it.

Prayer: Our Father, help us to find someone with whom we can share our Christmas joy.

Friday, December 22
READ Luke 2:8-10

For Christmas each member of our family prepares for the others a note saying "What I Like About You!" After we have read the notes each of us keeps his notes in a special place where they can be read throughout the year.

Another friend keeps all the Christmas cards their family receives that year on the breakfast table. Each morning through the year a card is selected, and the family remembers the sender of the card with a prayer.

One church has for many years celebrated "Christmas in July." During a worship service with a Christmas theme, an offering is received which is used to purchase Christmas gifts for missionaries and their families. The gifts are selected, packed and mailed in ample time for receipt by Christmas in December.

It is interesting to hear of ways Christians have found to sustain the joy of Christmas through the year. What does your family do?

Prayer: Our Father, help us to find ways to sustain the joy of Christmas through the year. Amen.

Saturday, December 23
READ Isaiah 61:10

You might think that my desk is cluttered--a rock painted to look like a ruby; a tiny box with a lid decorated with seashells and a generous sprinkling of glitter; a pin cushion, patriotic in red, white and blue in honor of the bicentennial; a seven-year-old-sized hand made out of clay cupped to hold paper clips. Of course, these items are not clutter but rather they are treasures. Each precious because it was made for me by my son, and he puts so much of himself into each one of his gifts.

When we choose Christmas gifts for friends and family, we try to choose gifts which will express our appreciation for the person who will receive the gift. We are pleased when we are able to find such a gift, and disappointed when we settle for a gift that does not reach that standard.

Perhaps your family would like to talk about what message you are sending through your gifts this year.

Prayer: Our Father, help us to restore to our gift giving the spirit of Christmas joy. Amen.


The fourth week of Advent has the theme of LOVE. God through Christ gave His love for us. Love can only grow as it is shared with others. Paul said that love was the greatest of importance ... faith, hope, love ... but the greatest of these is LOVE.

About the Writer
December 24-31 - LOVE

Worship material for the last week of Advent was written by Dr. Bill Leonard. Dr. Leonard has been a member of Crescent Hill Baptist Church since 1975.

Dr. Leonard teaches Church History at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Leonard and his wife, Candyce, have one daughter, Stephanie.

Sunday, December 24
READ John 3:16

"What wondrous love is this, o my soul?" In this portion of advent we celebrate what seems the very weakness of Gods His overwhelming love. We discover the God who loves us so much that He takes on our humanity exposing himself to the exhilaration and agony of human life. Born in poverty, identifying with the outcasts and the dispossessed, loving the forgotten and the oppressed, God in His love becomes vulnerable to us. Yet so great is His love that nothing can keep Him from sharing it with His world.

Prayer: For the wondrous love unexpectedly revealed at Bethlehem we give you thanks, O Lord.

Monday, December 25
READ John 15:12

As we experience this amazing love of God we discover that we too become vulnerable. The love we receive must be shared and hurt will inevitably result.. We do not hold the world at arm's length but move in among the crowded inns, the impoverished families and the politically expedient rulers with words and deeds of acceptance, justice and love. This love evidenced in the Christ child is no mere sentiment. It carries an imperative: "Love each other." There is to be no selectivity, no manipulation of others. Love the rich, the poor, the rejects, the powerful and the forgotten. That is the exciting and frightening life to which God calls us.

Prayer: On this good day, help us to extend the boundaries of our love through Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, December 26
READ John l6:27

Like the woman who washed Jesus' feet with price- less ointment, we all need moments when we express our deepest feelings for Him. Ho does not demand our love like some self-centered despot, rather we share it as a gift of ourselves. Like shepherds and blind men, like fishermen and tax collectors we may confess in loving worship "My Lord and My God." Thus we move "beyond ourselves" to a new dimension of love and adoration. We confront the mystery which is Christmas and confess "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Prayer: O Come all ye Faithful, joyful and triumphant--O Come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, December 27
READ I John 4:7-12

Love is not merely something God does along with creating, sustaining, etc., etc. Love is what God is and it is not that we in our sensitivity, insight and intelligence discover God's love; rather God's love discovers us in our arrogance and our indifference. We do not hasten to Bethlehem, rushing to the manger with unbridled devotion, but slowly and surprisingly Bethlehem comes to us with hope and love. But unless we love in return, the love we are offered is a cruel joke. "Everybody talkin' 'bout Bethlehem ain't been there." Only those who love have discovered its secret.

Prayer: O God, may the love revealed at Bethlehem find its way into our lives to be given away in your name. Amen.

Thursday, December 28
READ I John 3:1

God's love gives us an identity. By His grace we are lovingly accepted into a family--a family made up of a diversity of brothers and sisters. God's love breaks down the walls which separate Christians. These cultural, racial, political and economic barriers need not divide us from one another. We all must make the trip to Bethlehem and to Golgotha, discovering there the Christ whose prayer is "that they all may be ones," By God's love we become a new people--God's people--united even in our diversity. Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Prayer: O Lord, you are both father and mother to your children. Thank you for calling us sons and daughters. Help us to love one another in openness and acceptance. Amen.

Friday, December 29
READ Ephesians 3:14-19

Bethlehem is a beginning. As the Christ child grew in "wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man," so the love he brings to us must grow and mature. Perhaps one of life's greatest adventures is the opportunity it provides to discover the ever expanding dimension of God's love. Love never "arrives." Those who know God's love must constantly seek new opportunities to say that life has meaning and that human beings need each other. Let us begin at Bethlehem and then move on to new and creative ways of loving.

Prayer: Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, December 30
READ Galatians 5:22-23

The early church confessed: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the true church, apostolic and universal." But where in the world is the Spirit? Is it present only when we feel it or plead for it? No, the Holy Spirit is present where love is expressed in the midst of hatred. It is known when joy is affirmed, sometimes even through tears. It brings an inexplicable peace where there is conflict and confusion. Thus the Spirit is not present merely when all is well and life seems good. It comes to us with love and joy, peace and wholeness, even when life seems hopeless and empty. Where the spirit of love is, there is God's church, sharing the gift of love in the world.

Prayer: "O Lord, change our world, with thy unchanging love and begin by changing me." (Grady Nutt)

Sunday, December 31
READ John 13:35

The church is the community of God's love. It is this love which transforms a group of individuals who meet together once or twice a week into a community of persons who bear each other's burdens. Within that community there may be different views and doctrines but such matters must not undermine the reality of loving relationships. As advent leads us into the challenge of the new year let us confess our need of one another. Let us move from the joyous words of Christmas to the necessary deeds of discipleship.

Prayer: We are one the Spirit, we are one in the Lord and we pray that our unity will one day be restored and they'll know we are Christians by our love! Amen.

Advent 1978 1978 by Crescent Hill Baptist Church, 2800 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the publisher.

Return to Advent Meditation Index
Return to Home page

2800 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
(502) 896-4425

We would like to hear from you.