Read e-book Lets Go Straight to Bethlehem - Daily Advent Devotional

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And ladies, yes, he is single! Josh is a regular contributor to Mockingbird. But look more closely. Infidelity, after all, could warrant death according to Jewish law, and at the very least, divorce.

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Where is Joseph as this all plays out? What is he thinking? Does he seek anyone for counsel? In fact, there is no record of Joseph saying anything at all, not one word of his own, in all of Scripture. Joseph only gets fourteen mentions in the entire Bible. We can relate to being sidelined, to living with fear, uncertainty, and shame even, while trying our best to be faithful to the call God has placed on our lives. We may be able to relate to the immense responsibility that comes with raising children who are born not of our blood. And relate to working tirelessly day in and day out to love, raise, and protect a child whose life inevitably brings us heartache and pain, intermixed with joy and purpose.

Adoption in and of itself is a traumatic event for any child, regardless of whether it happens at birth or In addition, raising children with histories of trauma can be especially lonely and isolating, devastating even. Does anyone see how scared we are? How tired? Does anyone see the cost? Positively, does anyone realize how transformative this experience is?

Will others be willing to assume the risk to experience the relational reward? Even if it means getting no mention, no credit? For sure, raising children who have endured multiple traumas is the most difficult vocation God has called me to, and also the most rewarding. Like Joseph, our own identity and the significant role we play as parents may get overshadowed or confused, threatened and belittled even, as God calls us back into the ring each day to support, give care, provide, encourage, raise up, and empower our children.

Children, who in some cases due to their own history of trauma, hurt, and resulting attachment challenges, can not only reject love and relationship, but sometimes unintentionally continue the cycle of adding hurt upon hurt. Most in our world learn sooner or later that adoption is incapable of completely healing primal wounds or restoring wholeness from wounds generated by the severance of primal mother-child bonds. While Christians are usually quick to remember God and humanity, we are often unwillfully negligent in remembering and giving voice to the destructive and powerful work of Satan, or the Evil One, among us.

The trauma and broken relationship many of our children live with and in is nothing short of the manifestation of evil.


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  6. Evil, theologically understood as nonbeing or that which is not, represents everything that is not whole, right, and restored. You and I? We cannot defeat evil, only God can do that. We are only capable of resisting it. Which is where adoption comes back into play. Adoptive families often resist the evil of trauma and broken relationship by entering straight into the relational pain, by refusing to give up hope of healing and restoration, and by allowing ourselves to believe that things will be made right. For many, the path has taken us to places of great joy, and also great pain.

    The path has taken us to new places of belonging, and old places where we are now no longer welcome or accepted. The path has showed us God in ways many of us may never have wanted to know God. And yet here we stand.

    "Let's Go Straight to Bethlehem" Free Ebook

    Promises not yet fulfilled. Bruised, scarred, often confused and lonely. And yet, capable of a bigger love than we likely ever imagined, even as we take our place, often in the shadows. Joseph does not ask to be tagged, shared, or mentioned. He reminds us that we are not God.

    He reminds us, that whatever we are doing, if we are doing it out of our love for God and love for the other, we are doing enough. We are enough. No platform needed. No accolades.

    Guide Lets Go Straight to Bethlehem - Daily Advent Devotional

    No mentions. No quick fix assurances or 30 days to overcoming trauma subscriptions. She is an advocate for trauma-informed practices and connects with others about adoption, foster care, and the effects of trauma at emergingmama. Monica irregularly hosts the Collared Chicks podcast to amplify the voices and experiences of women leaders, both clergy and lay, within the church. I was humbled twice recently. November was the end of a yearlong cohort with 15 other clergy. We met on six occasions. We spent at least hours together: eating, learning, laughing, and getting to know each other and ourselves more intimately.

    It was difficult to carve out the time. It placed a strain on my schedule for work and family. One of my colleagues had to find a new home for their family dog that was unexplainably snapping at his toddler; then later that month, perform life-saving measures on his son until an ambulance arrived, due to seizure activity his son is o.

    Other colleagues have newly discovered health challenges to bear.

    Advent Begins in the Dark

    Some of us moved this summer. Looking back though, we count it all joy. The last day of our last session, we sat in a circle and commenced taking turns telling each individual something we observed or appreciated about them over the span of the year. Someone placed a box of tissues somewhere near the center of the circle, but no one got up to grab one. We hung on every word spoken with anticipation and reverence. When I returned home that evening, road weary from the commute and having just finished charge conference[Methodist-speak for annual business meeting] that same day, I told my wife about this event.

    You can play video games on your phone and use the bathroom at the same time? I shared this exchange with a few of my friends from the circle by way of text message. My friends are right, and my wife of 20 years is absolutely correct. The World will be purged of its iniquity in the consuming fire of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the Advent theme…the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God.

    Luke 2:8-14, The Angels And Advent

    These words, woe to thee, these words like the tone arm of a record player out of balance unexpectedly lifts and the needle pulses with the same refrain, over and over again…. The Lord is a consuming fire and we are like grass. Woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips. I get disgusted and short with people who want to sing Christmas carols in November.

    I cheer myself with the notion that the church would be a whole lot better if a few funerals we dressed-up in the queue. This Advent season, a dawn has broken upon us from on high. It brings light to those who sit in darkness, and it also casts a shadow revealing the darkness within. The good news is that this dawn has s ignaled our rescue where we could find no strength in ourselves.

    This light will guide our feet into the way of peace. Humbled, becoming new. Married to Jessica for 20 years: they have three children together. But give me a minute to long. Or rather… therefore let me long. Yes, longing. Which begs the question: Can you know the joy without a longing heart? Could you ever be a Lover without desiring, and being desired by, the Beloved?

    Advent gives us time to savor the delicious tension of the long longing.


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    Save the hard work in darkness for the montage, like Creed preparing for the title fight. Zip us to the ring, the bell, the roaring crowd. In this case, zip us to Christmas and tell us it all turns out right in the end. Which, of course, it does. But only after Christ on the cross has exposed the world and each human heart for what it is: a cauldron of unruly desire. Fleming Rutledge notes our cultural tendency to cast everyconflict as good versus evil.

    In her new book, Advent: The Once and F uture Foming of Jesus Christ , she shares the struggles of the actor, Viggo Mortensen, who resisted those who would see his Lord of the Rings character, Aragorn, as a model of pure good fighting pure evil. The call is coming from inside the house! The chaos is within! Quatro places these words in the voice of Maggie, her protagonist, as she is agonizing over the implications of an affair:.

    Prayed importantly and body would tend always and only toward Thomas [her husband]. What if the right prayer is Let me burn, only walk beside me in the flames?

    The Greatest Christmas - Ann Voskamp

    Remember the Israelites wandering the Sinai Desert led by a pillarof fire. And we are not alone in this. The whole cosmos, it turns out, is on fire.