“All Things New” meditation by Fred Knebel

For some reason New Year’s Day is special. Especially this one, putting 2020 behind us! Throughout the world the New Year is welcomed with some special traditions. In the U.S. we watch a ball drop in Times Square. In the south, people eat Hoppin’ John-black-eyed peas and ham hocks for good fortune. In Spain, people eat 12 grapes at midnight to insure 12 happy months in the New Year. The Dutch burn their Christmas trees to purge the old year and welcome the new. And in Puerto Rico, on New Year’s Eve people throw buckets of water out the widow to cleanse the house of the old year.

No matter what the tradition, the idea is that it is time to get rid of the old and welcome the new – new hope and new beginnings. This was exactly God’s message in Jeremiah 31:31, 33b. Up until this time, the people had God’s laws written on tablets and the law demanded perfect obedience and rituals, and sacrifice.

“The days are coming,” declared the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.”

This is the New Covenant, the New Agreement God made with his people; it is this New Covenant that allows us to get rid of the old and welcome the new – new hope and new beginnings. Jesus ushered in the New Covenant when he died for our sins. It is our privilege to remember that gift and to give thanks for a new start with God by sharing communion together.

“O Holy Night”  meditation by Mat Slaybaugh
“The weary world rejoices.” As I listened to the song “O Holy Night” playing at the end of the cartoon nativity movie The Star, this one line hit me unexpectedly and I found my eyes even tearing up. As we continue to trudge on through the COVID-19 pandemic and an especially heated and messy election on top of all the normal things in our world that can drag us down, many in this world are feeling weary. I am no exception. That makes it more important than ever that we rejoice during this Christmas season. The weary world at the time of Jesus birth rejoiced but they were expecting an earthly king to come and rule over them. What more reason do we have to rejoice knowing that he was more than just a king bringing peace to one nation but instead a savior coming to deliver all of us and bring eternal life. I rejoice in this comfort!


If I as a Christian feel myself becoming weary, how much worse must those that don’t know Jesus feel? This year has more people than ever seeking hope and comfort. What better time than now to show them the joy that Jesus brought to this world. He is the only hope worth placing our hope in. As Christians, let’s do our best to be more joyful than ever. Let’s spread this Christmas cheer and it’s true meaning to everyone we can.

Praying with Wonder Through Christmas, by David Matthis

Day One: The glory of Christmas is that it is not the beginning of Christ!

Matthew 1:18-21 CEV  This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David’s family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God’s Holy Spirit.  (19)  Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding.  (20)  While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her.  (21)  Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

1 Peter 3:18 CEV  Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty. Christ did this to bring you to God, when his body was put to death and his spirit was made alive.

Let’s pray:

Father in heaven, we ask that this Advent you would seal deep within our souls the meaning of Your Son’s coming. Jesus came not to entertain. He came not merely to make a great story. He came to restore us rebels to our God. Advent is personal. Draw us closer in these days to the heart of Christ, which is your own heart, and make his first advent, in all its realness and substance, more real in our lives.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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