The devotional for this year is now available on Amazon.
Here is the link to the Kindle version
Here is the link to the paperback
Free PDF of the devotional for printing (due to the varieties of printers and PDF settings I can’t guarantee that this will always be easy to print)
From the Introduction of the Devotional:
“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.” (John 1:38–39, ESV)
“Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”” (John 1:46, ESV)
This year we have a full Advent Schedule, as full as it can be. As such many of the festival days of the Church year will be occurring at times when Christians are already gathering to hear the Word. This gathering, as we reflect upon saints like Andrew, Philip, Nathanael, and Thomas involves coming to Jesus.
Far from some pie-in-the-sky mystical experience, our Lord has promised where He can be found in His gracious presence. Sure, He is omnipresent, but His gracious presence has been tied to the Word of God and to what our fathers called the visible Word, the Sacraments. I can rejoice in the beauty of Creation on a mountain, but I hear of the forgiveness of my sins at Church or when I open sacred Scripture to read it out loud to my children or myself.
Knowing this is where Jesus is to be found, this is where we seek to gather. Gathering has become an odd thing since we have been reminded of our mortality once again. It’s because of that mortality though that we cannot help but gather around the things of God that bring Christ to us. If we are going to have fully healthy and good lives, we are going to be found around the means of grace. It’s those things which God has Himself appointed to bring us forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
We know however that Christ did not just die for us and that the means of grace are not meant to be locked away from others. Each is appointed for a larger reception than just our private one. From the Word of God, preached unto nations, to Holy Baptism given to all who are brought for it, to absolution granted to all the penitent, to the Lord’s Supper for those who have been baptized and catechized – these gifts of God are meant for others as well as for us.
Andrew comes to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and so he invites Peter and takes him to Jesus. Philip is overjoyed at finding Christ Jesus. He invites Nathanael to “come and see”. When we realize what great blessing we have in Christ, we too will want to invite others to “come and see”. That is the focus of this Advent devotional series. To realize what God has done and invite others to receive it also. To be both blessed by God and be a blessing to those that God has put around us.
That means that this devotion will be both comforting and challenging to you. Comforting because it will continue to deliver the Gospel of Christ to you, drawing you into the Word of God and making the work of Christ yours. It will also challenge you to think of others that God has put around you. Yes, those loved ones of your family, close friends, coworkers, and all sorts will be drawn into focus as people for whom our Lord has not only died, but who presently wants to bless also by the gifts given to the Christians who gather.
This is not meant to be a gimmick or some apologetic (defense) strategy to argue souls into the Church. No, it is meant to be a calling back to something far simpler – to simply invite others to come to church. To meet them there and sit with them. To receive them with warm hospitality and rejoice in the rich blessings of God as He gives them.
This of course means that you yourself are active in attending to the services of your congregation. What would you think of someone who recommended a restaurant to you that they never ate at? Instead, be at church. Attend the extra services. Rejoice in that opportunity you have right before you, so easily offered. Invite others then to share in that opportunity. God blesses by His Word. He will bless you by it. He will bless them by it.
As to what God will do with this devotion and with those invitations that it will challenge you to do – I pray as we all do that God’s kingdom would come and His will would be done. This is who we are as Christians. People who gather to Christ where He can be found in His grace and mercy. Sheep who know their Shepherd’s voice. Sick Sinners who know the Good Physician. Those who not only know and confess their sins, but also know and trust in the forgiveness of sins won by our Lord Jesus Christ. May this devotion be a blessing to you and others around you this Advent.
Rev. Joshua Scheer
Senior Pastor – Our Savior Lutheran Church, Cheyenne, Wyoming President and Editor-in-Chief – Steadfast Lutherans