Beyond the Manger: Advent Study 2015


This year’s Advent Study takes its devotional content from the Sermon on the Mount. Each devotional uses two translations of the same scripture, NRSV and The Voice. Below you will find a short calendar of events during advent, an introduction by Randy and daily devotions from our blog.


Sundays in Advent

  • Sunday, November 29: First Sunday of Advent “Thy Kingdom Come” Matthew 1:18-21
  • Sunday, December 6: Second Sunday of Advent “Baptized by Anticipation” Mark 1:1-8
  • Sunday, December13: Third Sunday of Advent “The Witness of Light” John 1:1-14
  • Sunday, December 20: Fourth Sunday of Advent “Servants of the Lord” Luke 1:26-38

Christmas Eve Services

  • 2 P.M. Family Focused Christmas Eve Worship
  • 3 P.M. “Happy Birthday Jesus” Party
  • 4 P.M. Family Focused Christmas Eve Worship
  • 6 P.M. Christmas Eve Worship Featuring…
  • 8 P.M. Christmas Eve Worship Featuring…
  • 10 P.M. Christms Eve Worship &  Holy Communion

Introduction by Randy Jessen

The season of Advent is always a time of great joy and anticipation in the life of the Christian community.  We use the time to get ready for the celebration of Christmas and the renewed presence of Jesus being born into the world.

The actual season of Advent incorporates the four weeks just prior to Christmas. This year, Advent begins with the first Sunday of Advent on November 29th.  Each of the four Sundays in Advent have a unique focus to help us open our hearts as we slowly approach the manger of Jesus in the ancient city of Bethlehem.  The four week journey helps us tell the birth story and to remember all that Jesus means to our lives as people of faith.

It won’t be long before we are gathering for Christmas Eve worship as we celebrate in the glow of candlelight and give thanks for this remarkable event that continues to transform the world.  Jesus, the Son of God, is born into a troubled world.

The word ‘Advent’ comes to us from the Latin word ‘adventus’ which is a translation of the Greek word ‘parousia’ which means ‘coming’ in reference to the anticipated arrival of the Messiah.  So the season gives us a chance to participate in the spirit of waiting for the ‘coming’ of Jesus the Messiah into the world and into our lives as individual believers.

I want to welcome you to this cluster of daily Advent devotions that have been prepared just for our congregation.  Within this booklet you will find a brief devotion for our Monday through Friday experience.  In addition, I want to invite you to take part in our congregational Advent conversation by joining with your sisters and brothers on Thursday afternoon at 1:00 or Thursday evening at 6:00 as we explore Beyond the Manger and look at some of the key teachings of Jesus.

I want to personally invite you to share the daily experience, join one of the Thursday class groups (afternoon or evening), and be present for each of the four Sunday worship experiences as we become pilgrims on our way to Bethlehem and beyond.

You will notice that each daily devotion is based on the core teachings of Jesus as we find them in the Sermon on the Mount.  We find the text of this historic and ancient teaching in the Book of Matthew chapters five through seven.  Each daily devotion will focus on a specific set of verses from that section of the Bible.  Our readings will take us Beyond the Manger and touch our lives today.

In addition to the daily devotional reading, I have also provided the direct biblical text for the day in two different versions.  You will find the daily reading from the New Revised Standard Version and from the translation known as The Voice.  The two translations will give you a way to compare and expand the meaning of the text.

The New Revised Standard Version is the typical translation that we dominantly use on Sunday mornings.  It was created as a way to renew the text of the Revised Standard Version by a group of Bible scholars in 1989.  The Voice bible translation was just released in 2012 as a ‘dynamic equivalent’ modern language version.  The Voice incorporates some additional commentary, artistic imagery, and lively phrasing that you will find printed in italics within the text.  I think you will find the comparison helpful.

Thank you for joining us on the journey to the manger and beyond.  I pray that the 2015 season of Advent will be a great blessing to you and to our faith community that we know and love as the Parker United Methodist Church.

May the Lord bless you as we wait, anticipate, and prepare for the arrival of the Christ Child!

Yours in Christ

Randy Jessen


Daily Devotions and Scripture Readings

[blog category=”104″ perpage=”5″ pagination=”on” ]