On behalf of everyone at e3 Partners Ministry, we would like to warmly welcome our blog readers into the season of Advent! As we look ahead to the Christmas season, we hope to provide you with a heartfelt reminder of why this holiday is so important.
A period of anticipation and spiritual reflection leading up to Christmas Day, Advent prepares our hearts to celebrate the greatest gift ever received by mankind: the birth of Jesus Christ. And yet Advent—which comes from the Latin word adventus, defined as “coming”—has a dual meaning as we also prepare our hearts for the second coming of our Lord and Savior. It is an opportunity for the Church to collectively pray, in the words of John in Revelation 22:20, “… come, Lord Jesus.”
Many believers partake in the tradition of Advent by lighting individual candles, which are symbolic representations of the fruits of the spirit; these candles typically rest upon a circular wreath that symbolizes eternity with God. That’s why, over the next four weeks, we’ll provide you with these Advent devotionals, which can be accessed right here on the e3 blog:
- Week 1 – Hope: The Prophets’ Candle
- Week 2 – Faith: The Bethlehem Candle
- Week 3 – Joy: The Shepherds’ Candle
- Week 4 – Peace: The Angels’ Candle
Hope: The Prophets’ Candle
The Old Testament contains a number of prophecies about Jesus. This week, let’s simply recall the words of Isaiah, a biblical titan who prophesied the gift of our Savior’s birth approximately 700 years before His arrival.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call him Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14
Consider that, in just two short sentences, Isaiah broadcasted a message of profound hope to the Jewish exiles of his day and all future generations of people around the world. Astonishing! Later, Jesus Himself confirmed the promise of Immanuel—a Hebrew term meaning “God with us” (Matthew 1:23)—at the conclusion of the Great Commission; He not only gave believers the command to go and make disciples, but also offered the incredible reassurance that, “… surely I am with you always …” (Matthew 28:20). Indeed, He is with us through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The biblical prophecy and confirmation of Immanuel can be very affirming for us, as people of faith. Now imagine how this promise illuminates the hearts of people who are receiving the message of Christ for the very first time. Thanks to your support of e3 Partners Ministry, our missionaries and church planters are able to take the message of Immanuel to some of the most spiritually-dark places in the world. And there, the light of Christ is beginning to shine.
Prayer of Reflection
Lord, I am grateful for the season of Advent. May this be a special time to reflect on the gift of the Savior’s birth. Thank you for the prophetic promise of Immanuel: that You are with us. Fill my heart with hope as I consider the magnitude of Isaiah’s prophecy, and the fulfillment of it that came through the arrival of Jesus Christ. If there is someone in my circle of influence who needs this hope today, please bring them to mind and lay it on my heart to share the gift of the Savior’s birth with them. Amen.
Please stay tuned for the next devotional in this four-part series and have a blessed week!