A Devotional From Seacoast Church
The story of Jesus’s birth can become so familiar to us that we forget why it happened at all. As we prepare our hearts to celebrate Advent, let’s look back beyond the manger to where our great salvation properly begins. Our four-week Advent study was crafted by Seacoast Church pastors, staff, and contributors to remind us that God gave us the most precious gift in the form of a little baby who would redeem the world.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph,
 of the house of David. 
And the virgin’s name was Mary. 
And he came to her and said, 
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, 
and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 
And the angel said to her, 
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”Luke 1:26-30(ESV)
Day 10

Favor Of God

We are introduced to Mary in the most intimate of ways. We are told that she is a virgin, engaged to a man named Joseph, who comes from the family line of David, and her name is Mary. Usually when we meet someone, we learn their name first, and then,…

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A voice of one calling: 
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; 
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”Isaiah 40:3-5 (ESV)
Day 9

The Ultimate Guest

When you invite a group of friends over for dinner, you do not just plan that evening; you also plan the day leading up to that evening, perhaps several days before as well. You look at how much cleaning needs to be done and make sure there is time enough…

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Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
Day 8

My Name On It

One of my favorite memories growing up in West Virginia was waking up on Christmas morning and opening the door to the basement. Living in the mountains, most homes have finished basements and often, families will gather there and enjoy time together. My grandparents’ basement was this magical place where…

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But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.Matthew 2:6 (NIV)
Day 7

An Ordinary Place

Christmas is my favorite time of year. For me, the Christmas season reminds me that God has done something in Jesus Christ that changed everything. Today’s Scripture may not jump out as an integral part of the Christmas story, but if you allow it to, it will speak a word of…

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There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:1-2 (ESV)
Day 6

Bulbs Of Hope

Last year, the gold, waxed amaryllis bulbs arrived on our porch during November. My mother-in-law sent the special gift, knowing our plans to host family and friends for Christmas. We put the bulbs on the fireplace mantle and watched the stalks slowly sprout, as we prepared for a gathering of…

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The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:2 and 9:6 (ESV) 
Day 5

Embrace The Announcement

A world-altering change was being announced—bigger than any world war, pandemic, or global crisis. It’s Isaiah’s announcement of divine love being demonstrated through the birth of a child—Christ’s birth. This announcement would impact the life of every person ever created. It’s an announcement that can either be glossed over every…

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And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven...”Genesis 22:15–17 (ESV)
Day 4

The Stars In Heaven

What horror and grief Abraham must have felt when God told him to take his beloved son, Isaac, and offer him as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah. Isaac was the miracle son that Abraham had prayed for over a lifetime of being unable to have children. As someone who…

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So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden 
to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, 
he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden 
cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth 
to guard the way to the tree of life.Genesis 3:23-24 (NIV)
Day 3

Longing To Return

Our Christmas tree was visible from the street, shining with twinkling white lights through the bay windows. On the snow-covered lawn, stood a blue spruce tree adorned with colorful lightbulbs, almost as tall as our two-story house. Inside, my siblings and I ducked our heads under the tree branches decorated…

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And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”Genesis 3:8–9 (ESV)
Day 2

A Way Out

Have you ever wanted to run and hide?  I was an amateur thespian in high school. One year, our drama group presented the play, Peter Pan, and I was Captain Hook/Mr. Darling. In one of the more dramatic scenes, Hook and Pan were engaged in a swordfight. I had a…

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And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So…she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened…Genesis 3:2-7 (ESV)
Day 1

The Unspoken Lie

I know what you’re thinking. “That can’t be the right verse. Where’s Mary? Where’s Joseph? Where are the shepherds and the angels and the manger?” I realize this is a strange way to start an Advent devotional, but the road to Christmas starts here, at the very beginning, when everything…

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