An Advent Devotional Study from Caring.
Christmastime can carry many mixed emotions—and lots of stress. But this year will be different.
Reserve five minutes a day to read the daily devotional entry in this series and journey through the Christmas season with peace, perspective and hope.
This “Hope and a Future: Advent Devotional Study” will guide you through the month of December to ponder afresh the story of the Bible with Jesus’ birth as the focus. Find daily a reflection, highlighted Scripture, meaningful questions and a prompt for prayer.
Connect with God this Christmas season and experience hope for the future.
December 5: Social Disgrace
Take a deep breath. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts through today’s reflection.
Sometimes the judgement of others can feel as painful as a branding iron.
My friend, Sandra, and her husband, experienced social disgrace as they looked forward to raising a family, but a decade of numerous miscarriages and failed adoptions left them wondering if they would ever have children.
They watched numerous friends welcome second and third children while carrying the burden of empty arms. The social pressure in Sandra’s religious community added to the pain. Some recommended herbal concoctions. Others wondered aloud if she should change doctors. One person even advised her to buy maternity clothes to demonstrate faith that God would answer her prayers.
During her decade of loss, she learned that her highest calling was following Jesus, no matter what that looked like. Embracing options available to women in the modern era, she focused on building a career she loves, teaching and mentoring students.
But women in the time of Jesus lacked such social freedom. It simply was disgraceful for a married woman to remain childless. For such a woman, the shame hung on her like a tattered coat, unable to be removed.
So, when Elizabeth suddenly was with child after decades of barrenness (she was an old women, Scripture says), she gave credit to the Lord and spoke of his favor taking away her disgrace. Can you imagine the joy? The relief? The comfort?
Read: Hear from God
After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people” (Luke 1:24–25).
Reflect: Focus on God
How have you experienced social disgrace or painful judgment of others for something outside of your control?
Who might you be holding at arm’s length with judgment for things outside of their control?
How might you need to let go of other’s judgment or your own judgement this Advent season?
Pray: Talk to God
Talk to God about your reflections above. If you would like a sample prayer, here is one to follow:
Father God, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Because of his birth, death and resurrection, I am freed from the shame of my sin. But, God, I still feel heaviness. Please help me with _________________ . I know the same power that opened Elizabeth’s womb can lighten this burden for me as well. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
- Looking for a meaningful way to prepare your family for Christmas? Try our new, classic downloadable Advent Paper Chain. For 25 days, reflect on the love we receive from God and give to others during the holiday season.
- Join us in making a difference with The Salvation Army this season and help families in your community during the holidays and beyond.