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Today is my favorite day of the year. It's my birthday, and there hasn't been a season when I haven't looked forward to it coming, certain that something delightful was bound to happen. People have always asked me if I hate having a birthday so close to Christmas- if I get shortchanged or passed over. They wonder if I've received too many birthday/Christmas combo gifts. The answer is no, and I have to give some serious credit to my mother for always making sure that my special day was given focus, that gifts were wrapped in pink- not green and red, and for still giving me things to look forward to on December 15th. There are some benefits to having a mother whose love language is gift giving.

That's led me to think about Advent- this season of waiting- and our Good Father. A day of waiting isn't something that sounds appealing to any of us. Don't we want the end result? The full satisfaction of our longings? The big celebration of Christmas? But with God, every day is a day when He is celebrating us. There are gifts to be discovered- chosen for us individually- wrapped up (therefore hidden) every day.

What is needed is a spirit of expectancy. Part of the reason my birthday is always a special day to me is because of the buildup to it and my expectation that something good is going to happen. This means that I head into the day with eyes wide open- looking around for the affirmation that today isn't like every other day. Whether it's a free birthday coffee at Starbucks or a surprise text from an old friend, joy ends up being sprinkled around like confetti. I'm not at all sure it's because that many more lovely things are happening. I think a big part of it is the fact that I am looking for them.

One of my favorite songs is “Shepherd” by Bethel Music. Amanda Cook sings:

In the process, in the waiting
You're making melodies over me
And your presence is the promise
For I am a pilgrim on a journey

You will lift my head above the mighty waves
You are able to keep me from stumbling
And in my weakness
You are the strength that comes from within
Good Shepherd of my soul
Take my hand and lead me on

What would change this Advent if we tuned our ears to hear God's voice “making melodies over us”? If we started each day looking for evidence of God's presence, provision and protection?

God is always speaking words of blessing over us- we just don't always “tune our ears” to His station. All too often, we are listening to the radio station that tells us our value lies in what we do- how we perform- what we look like- how much is in our bank account. We take all those messages in, often unconsciously, and wind up feeling discouraged and weary. It's up to us to switch the station.

'In the waiting season, which continuously tempts us to listen to the voice saying we're not doing enough, God's voice calls us to lay the to-do list aside and turn our eyes to Him.'

This is what we're doing when we wake up in the morning and open our Bibles. It's a critical decision to start the day listening to the Voice of Blessing that tells us we are beloved, rather than the Voice of Shame that tells us we're already behind the eight ball.

The third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, is around the corner. God's voice of blessing will be spoken over you through the readings, and I encourage you to tune your ear in such a way that you personalize what you hear. The second reading is my prayer for you today:

“May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

In the waiting season, which continuously tempts us to listen to the voice saying we're not doing enough, God's voice calls us to lay the to-do list aside and turn our eyes to Him. He calls us to holiness, but this is so different than a taskmaster demanding that we get on the treadmill of performance. How do we know this? From that final verse, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it” (emphasis mine). He will do it in and through you. You can leave the heavy lifting to Him.

Praying you'd know how beloved you are-

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
Founder and Chief Purpose Officer
Walking with Purpose

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