Crescent Hill Baptist Church

Advent Devotional Booklet - 1979

Nancy Foil (Hope)
........Bob Kilgore (Peace)
...................John Edgar (Joy)
..............................Kay Shurden (Love)

December 2 - December 8
About the Writer

Nancy Foil is the writer for this Advent Week of Hope and also did the calligraphy for the Advent Book. She is a second year student in the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, planning to become a chaplain after graduation.

Nancy graduated from Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana. She is in the internship program at Crescent Hill Baptist Church for Liturgy and Worship. She sings in the choir and has made many of our banners. Her hobbies include reading and theatre.

Sunday, December 2
READ Isaiah 7:14

At a time of national crisis, Ahaz, through the counsel of Isaiah, was presented with a promise. Although warfare was imminent and military alliances were the order of the day, Ahaz was told that salvation would come as a gift from God with none of the trappings of victory in battle. The promise was the birth of a child called Emmanuel. And as a sign, the child represented the presence of God.

Our hope is based on God's promise to be with us always. Christians are not alone in this world and the sign of hope is the birth of a child. As the season of Advent begins, let us in heart and mind rejoice in the sign of hope we are given as we anticipate the good news that awaits us.

Prayer: Our Father, help us always to see the signs of hope and rejoice in them. May we regard the presence of children as a reminder that ours is the task of strengthening and nurturing. Make us ever mindful that we are not alone. Amen.

Monday, December 3
READ Isaiah 11:1-9

The prophecy contained in the eleventh chapter of Isaiah gives several characteristics of the Messiah. But perhaps the most illuminating quality is the presence of the Spirit of the Lord which will rest upon the promised one. In the Old Testament, a person endowed with the Spirit of the Lord was able to accomplish extraordinary things. Great power was provided so that virtually any task was possible. The prophecy tells us that the Spirit of the Lord would enable the Messiah to rule His people in the fear of God. Righteous judgments would result in an age of complete harmony among all living things.

This vision gives great hope simply because we are reminded how much we mean to God. Once again, God breaks through with a word of creation and the hope is born that peace may be realized in all human experience.

Prayer: Father, help us to watch and listen because sometimes out of dreams and visions hope really is found. Make us receptive and joyful. Amen

Tuesday, December 4
READ Isaiah 53:1-6

It was amazing that the man of sorrows described in this passage should accomplish anything at all. Grief was his companion as men turned their faces from him in outright rejection.

Many have witnessed and experienced the same sort of rejection. It enfeebles and sometimes destroys persons and the goodness possible in the world is hidden from them.

Yet from one who was despised comes the greatest gift of all. From one who suffered, healing and wholeness is given.

Prayer: Father, help us to find meaning in the lives of those around us whom we are tempted to ignore or reject. Some are disturbed, some are handicapped, and some are simply unable to keep up with others. May we not turn our faces from them but may they see your light and your promise in our eyes. Amen.

Wednesday, December 5
READ Isaiah 61:1-3

Jesus declared, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." He saw the clear purpose of his ministry among all persons spelled out in these words.

They are guidelines for each of us as well. Through the Spirit of the Lord we proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. We are the bearers of the good news and with it we may bind up the wounds among us and become brothers and sisters. We are to comfort mourners and encourage those with faint spirits.

The hope lies in the gospel - in the fact that our salvation is created. Sharing this news is our joyful task for all hearts must be prepared as fit places for Christ to enter and remain.

Prayer: Father, we do not believe that you created us for despair and sadness. We have heard the best and happiest news of all - that your son has been sent to find us and to save us. Help us to recognize him and see you more clearly because he is in our midst. Amen.

Thursday, December 6
READ John 1:9-13

Throughout the season of Advent, the wreath of four candles is an important symbol. Each week as an additional candle is lit, we are reminded that light has come and is coming into the world. Our fears of darkness are gradually calmed as our hope is strengthened and the light becomes brighter. The words of Thomas Helmore based on ancient plainsong phrases become ours:

O come, thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
And drive away the shades of night,
And pierce the clouds and bring us light!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall
come to thee, O Israel!

The Gospel according to John promises that we will be given power to become children of God if we receive the light. It is offered freely in the midst of our own darkness, cynicism, and confusion.

Prayer: Father, help us to see hope shining in the darkness. Since you have kindled your light in us, may we be alive to all that is good and human. Amen.

Friday, December 7
READ Matthew 11:2-6

In the last few days we have seen how prophecy, visions, and dreams were given to help us understand the coming of Christ. Hope was abundant, to be sure, in all of these promises. But the doubts of John the Baptist gave Christ an opportunity to call our attention to the fulfillment of all hopes. John was to recognize "one who is to come" by opening his eyes and attuning his ears to what Jesus was doing.

Words are often cumbersome and confusing when the simplicity of compassionate action speaks for itself. It takes faith to see and hear.

Prayer: Father, you have given your son to us. Give us faith enough to recognize the light of your word among us. May we transform the hope we have been given into loving involvement in the lives of those who need to hear and see the good news. Amen.

Saturday, December 8
READ Colossians 1:23-27

The apostle Paul was talking about the greatest hope of all - that Christ may dwell in each of us. Through diversity, setbacks, suffering, and stupid mistakes the promise remains, Christ in you, the hope of glory. The good news of the gospel is that we have a part in it and that hope lives as Christ in each of us.

The season of Advent prepares our hearts as fit dwelling places for the coming of Christ. Each day we celebrate the possibility that Christ really can make us new beings if we give him room in our crowed lives. The poet Robert Herrick gave encouragement to us when he wrote the following lines:

Christ, he requires still, whereso'er he comes,
To feed or lodge, to have the best of rooms:
Give Him the choice; grant Him the nobler part
Of all the house; the best of all's the heart.

Prayer: Father, create in us love so pure and perfect that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming. Amen.

December 9 - December 15
About the Writer

Bob Kilgore is the writer for this Advent Week of Peace. Bob served on the staff of Crescent Hill Baptist Church as Minister of Administration and Pastoral Care from 1964-1968. He and his wife Elizabeth have been back at Crescent Hill for three years.

Bob is the vice-president and General Manager of Loevenhart's. He is currently serving at the church as a deacon and chairman of the New Member Committee. He and Elizabeth are in the choir. They have two grown sons, one living in Hawaii and one in veterinary school at Auburn University.

Sunday, December 9
READ Isaiah 9:6-7

The prophet Isaiah told of the One who would come to bring humanity back into the proper relationship with God. This One would have many names: "Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." There is much emphasis today on the desire and need for peace. The handshake of peace is given in many worship services. Such expressions are merely symbols of peace but do not guarantee the gift. Only those persons who have faith in Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of God's promise have begun the journey toward true peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, as the sounds of "Peace on Earth" fill the air, help us to seek Jesus Christ for true inner peace. Amen.

Monday, December 10
READ Isaiah 52:7

Do you remember the person who helped you to discover the "good tidings?" Doubtless that one is a beautiful person to you. He, or she, has a beauty which was displayed through a sincere desire to share the good news that Jesus Christ loves you. It is amazing that God will use any of us in publishing the word of salvation. In the midst of any circumstance we can proclaim "Thy God reigneth," if we have placed our faith in God through Jesus Christ. However, unless we have experienced God in all areas of our lives our words will be hollow and sound like a cliché. One difficulty in sharing out experience is that there are no new words for the new life that has come to us. Therefore, we must use phrases that have been used before and trust the Holy Spirit to give them meaning.

Prayer: Dear Lord, it is difficult to be a messenger of your truth. Help us to realize that we are only responsible for sharing that truth, not making someone else understand it. Amen.

Tuesday, December 11
READ Jeremiah 23:5-6

We seldom consider that peace comes to us through judgment. In fact, we do not hear much about judgment today. The peace we think about is some state of tranquillity. The people in Christ's time were not looking for a King such as He was. They were looking for a political leader who would reign within the scope of their understanding. But when the "Righteous One" came, He spoke of the kingdom in a different way. We can dwell in peace when we follow His teaching. The emphasis on righteousness in our text reminds us that before we can dwell in peace with our fellowman we must have found personal peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, You are our righteousness. Help us to confess our need for You that we might dwell in peace with our fellowman. Amen.

Wednesday, December 12
READ Micah 5:2-5

God's gift to the world came from an unexpected place. The gift of peace often comes in unexpected ways. Recently a lady said she had found real peace by simply letting go of all anxieties. When asked how she managed this feat she merely said, "I just let go." That seemed too simple because she could not explain how the process of "letting go" took place. There are many people in churches today who need to learn to let go. Instead they seem to be frantic in their many activities. As good as those activities may be, meaning is often lost because they are not done in a spirit of peace. When Jesus is leading in all areas of one's life--including church activities--there is peace because He is our peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, You offer us peace but we often miss it because 'we are too busy to accept Your gift. Help us to relax and let You lead our daily lives. Amen.

Thursday, December 13
READ Luke 2:11-14

In typing the text to prepare for this writing I transposed two letters In the word wrapped. As I read the text later it said "Ye shall find the babe 'warpped' in swaddling clothes...." The thought came to me that we have often warped the story of Christ the Lord. We see Him as the "babe in a manger" and lose sight of His growth into manhood. To fully understand the fact that He is our peace we must move past His birth on through His death and resurrection. We can join the heavenly host in praising God when we accept forgiveness for our sins and realize that Christ the Lord took the judgment for us. The experience is deeply personal so each of us must see that even though Christ is the Savior for all, He is our (my) personal Savior also.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for bringing peace to me. As I view all that You do for me, help me to know that seeing my unworthiness leads me to see Your wondrous love. Amen.

Friday, December 14
READ Matthew 12:18-21

Since we do not hear much about judgment today we also miss recognizing the victory that is ours in Christ Jesus. He is the fulfillment of the promise of God. He is also the Way that we Gentiles have to become part of the chosen people of God. However, the Scriptures are clear in stating that we can only know the peace He offers as we trust in Him. We can know all of the facts of His life, quote scriptures relating to Him, observe religious celebrations and even believe His is the Son of God. But until we trust Him with our lives we will not truly become a joint heir with Him. He has done His part and the response is up to us. We must accept Him fully to truly know what "peace on earth" is all about.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help us to truly trust in You that through Your name we may know the fullness of life. Amen.

Saturday, December 15
READ John 14:27

The words of today's text are often spoken at funerals. They are intended for comfort but possibly their use at such occasions teaches us something more. The peace our Lord gives to us is beyond anything the world can give. Yet we do not seem to draw upon that peace until we face difficult, or impossible times. Persons who have faced real trauma in life invariably say they found peace as they reassigned their priorities. They face daily life with a peace that can only come from God. This does not mean that life no longer has anxieties for those persons. It does indicate that they have learned that God really is working through all things to bring out the good.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help us to slow down and to put all things in life into proper perspective in order to know true peace. Amen.

December 16 - December 22
About the Writer

John Edgar is the writer for this Advent Week of Joy. John is a retired Air Force Officer now attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He has served as Adult I Sunday School Director and for the past year ,has been our Interim Minister of Administration and Christian Education.

John and his wife Donna have traveled extensively as reflected in these writings. Their son, Brian, was born in Germany.

Sunday, December 16
READ Isaiah 9:2-3

Isaiah relates how Israel rejoiced when God had destroyed the power of the oppressor. The people were happy in their new found freedom and they expected a King to come and mount the throne of David with a new age of peace, justice and prosperity.

Throughout history humanity has rejoiced as peace was inaugurated. But peace soon becomes an expected state of affairs. Peace is more than just the absence of conflict. Harmonious relationships between persons and countries require active concern for the other's needs and sincere efforts at peacemaking. Individual peace is found in our personal relationship with God.

Prayer: Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin? The blood of Jesus whispers peace within. Amen.

Monday, December 17
READ Zechariah 9:9

In the Matyas Church, Budapest, Hungary is the coronation throne of the Hapsburg Emperor Francis Joseph. While serving in Budapest, Donna and I attended mass at the Matyas Church and I was seated in that old throne. The Emperor was grudgingly accepted by the Hungarians as a foreign King. But that day we heard a catholic priest in a Communist country proclaim that our first allegiance was to Jesus Christ. Not the Catholic church! Not the Communist state! But our mutual King of Joy, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Rejoice, the Lord is King: Your Lord and King adore!...Rejoice, again I say, rejoice. Amen.

Tuesday, December 18
READ Matthew 2:7-12

Christmas of 1968 in our winter wonderland of the Colorado Rockies was a particularly beautiful season. And yet as a pilot, I was anxious about not having television or radio to follow the astronauts lunar space flight.

After getting a tree from the woods and decorating it with homemade decorations and popcorn/cranberry strings we went on a Christmas Eve walk in the snow under the bright moon and stars of that crystal clear evening. As I gazed at the moon and dreamed of man reaching out to the heavens, I was reminded of that joyful star of yesteryear where God reached out to man. We may flee to the farthest star or stay at home --God is shining there.

Prayer: A baby was born--the Magi came--They worshipped him---and what did they know? The joy of discovery, the joy of hope. Amen.

Wednesday, December 19
READ Luke 1:46-48


Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!

Hannah's Song!
. .Magnificat!
. . . Joyous Praise!
. . . . .God Loves you!
. . . . . . .The Savior!
. . . . . . . . .Amen and Amen.

Prayer: God our Father we sing your praises. Salvation has such a wonderful melody. Amen.

Thursday, December 20
READ I John 1:1-4

Away from their families, Christmas of 1969 was going to be a day of loneliness for the personnel assigned to Osan Air Force Base, Korea. As president of the Protestant Men of the Chapel, I set up a "Dad for a Day" program in which 410 Korean orphans from six local orphanages had a day of on-base activities with a military sponsor. The "Dads" took their children to movies, dinner, airplane exhibits, a flying and parachute show, a dog show and chapel. The busy day was capped by Santa's gifts followed by loving and tearful farewells as the children entered their busses. Giving and sharing brought joy to a very special Christmas.

Prayer: God, our Father, we are full of thanksgiving for the joy of giving and sharing ourselves at Christmas. Amen.

Friday, December 21
READ Luke 2:8-10

In our personal relationship with the Living Christ we experience the joy of that great birth. That birth into the world is reborn in each believer with the resultant joy being more than just an inward feeling, but that joy finds expression in loving others. God does not promise a life free from tribulation but in Jesus Christ we know He has lived the simple life.

We are called together as disciples of Jesus Christ and are led into the church fellowship. In relationship to Him and one another we receive the joy of to- day and the promise of tomorrow.

Prayer: 0 God, we don't only want to be concerned for others, but we need the courage to live the gospel life that we proclaim. May our deeds support our words. Amen.

Saturday, December 22
READ John 14:3

A message arrived from my son that I had become a grandfather. I rejoiced at the words and announced to my office the great news, "I'm a grandfather!" The congratulations were mixed with the patronizing comments, "You're too young to be a grandfather." These comments were greatly appreciated. Later that week Donna found out that she was pregnant. I again went to my office with news, "I'm going to be a father!" To this announcement I received a few congratulations, but a roaring response of "John, you're too old to be a father!" Both reports were glad tidings of great joy.

As we joyfully announce new life to our-friends we are equally compelled-to share our vision of Christmas joy.

Prayer: We celebrate the joy of our personal faith in you, our Father, and anticipate the joy of every succeeding day with you. Amen.

December 23 - December 30
About the Writer

Kay Shurden is the writer for this Advent Week of Love. Kay is a newly ordained deacon and a member of the Education Committee. This year she is a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Wayne Oates at University Hospital.

Her husband Buddy served as Interim Minister at Crescent Hill the first six months of this year, and is a church history professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. They have two daughters, Sherry and Paula, away at college and a son Walt, who is a junior in high school.

Sunday, December 23
READ John 3:16

A gift tells something about the person it's given to. A golf cart goes to a golfer, a book to a reader, and a necklace to an appreciater-of-jewelry.

A gift also tells a lot about the giver. It is a symbol of care, interest, and concern. The familiar scripture you just read in John said that God's gift of His Son revealed the extent and nature of His love for us. It is a perfect gift, just what we need.

Prayer: Father who gives all, show us how to accept your gifts to us, especially the gift of your Son. Make our hearts ready to receive your love. Amen.

Monday, December 24
READ John 15:12

These words of Christ are simple: "Love one another." But how can we? We who know only our world, our thoughts, our needs. We feel only our own pain. How can we love others?

The simple commandment remains: "Love one another." We know how, because Christ showed us. He gave, taught, healed, fed, touched, cried, laughed, and died - he lived among us. We are to love others as Christ loved us.

Prayer: God of Love, teach us, your children, how to love. When we have learned how, give us the grace to love the unlovely, and those not easy to love. Amen.

Tuesday, December 25
READ John 16:27

Christmas Day is a celebration of God's love. He came as a babe and lived with us! Our hearts respond with love to Christ and those around us.

Because His love is in us:
--we offer water to the weary
--we bear the burdens of our brothers
--we listen to the lonely
--we cherish communion with each other
--we experience the peace of Christmas

Prayer: God of Christmas Day and every other day, capture our hearts with your Christ. 'Like the sweet, wild bells of Christmas Day, let our lives peal out the truth of your love. Amen.

Wednesday, December 26
READ I John 4:7-12

Loving God is easy. Loving people is difficult. The difficult task of loving others is easier when they are good to us. But some people are difficult to love. Some are even difficult to like!

The unmistakable mark of a Christian is love. Love is either the rule or the exception in the way we live our lives. "Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God, but the unloving know nothing of God." Loving others is the life style of the Christian.

Prayer: Father, bind us to each other in love. Let others recognize us as yours, not by our talk, but by our walk of love. Amen.

Thursday, December 27
READ I John 3:1

"That must be Jim's daughter. She looks so much like him! "

"You can tell he's Margaret's son. He has her same thoughtful ways."

We see family resemblances in physical characteristics - the slant of eyes, the angle of a chin, or the shape of a hand. Actions and attitudes are also reflected in family members. Eagerness to help and willingness to include others are family traits.

We are children of God. How are we like Him? Can people tell we are members of His family? Showing love to others is one basic way to be like Him.

Prayer: Father, help us to resemble you more and more each day. Amen.

Friday, December 28
READ Ephesians 3:14-19

Beginnings are important. Many times they determine endings. The nest for the tiny bird or the flowerpot for the tiny seed provide the space and place for life to begin. A too-small pot or too-poor soil may give a plant a half-start. It won't survive the hot sun or pouring rain.

People, too, need good beginnings. God provides families as the place and love as the soil for growth.

Roots take hold firmly in the environment of love. People grow and trust and blossom. This is God's way of growing people.

Prayer: Help us to grow, O Lord, into the warmth and nourishment of your love.

Saturday, December 29
READ Galatians 5:22-23

Love is a basic need all our lives. From infancy through adulthood we need love. As babies we needed love literally in order to stay alive. Cuddling, stroking, and feeding by our parents helped us begin to trust others. This trust helped us continue to mature.

In whatever stage of life we find ourselves, we mature to the degree we feel loved and accepted. This feeling of acceptance helps us give love to others. As Christians, we know we are loved and accepted. Let us give love in return.

Prayer: Let your Spirit grow love in our hearts, O God.

Sunday, December 30
READ John 13:35

Love is certainly a much-abused-and-overused word. Even more than the word "virus" by the medical profession! After hearing love used in so many different ways, we become confused about its meaning in scripture.

What did Jesus mean by love?

He told his disciples to love each other as He had loved them. So love must have been the fabric of his life. He treated his disciples with care and respect. He chose to live his life in their company. Of such is love.

Prayer: God, help us begin the New Year living carefully and lovingly with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

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