This Advent, we focus on the theme of Coming to Our Senses. In the busyness of this season, it is often easy to wrap ourselves in the details and to-do lists of each day and miss out on the meaning and expectancy of this time of preparation. Intentionally engaging our senses—what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch—is a way to prepare our hearts for our Savior and Lord. And hopefully during this series, as we do engage our senses, turning our eyes on Jesus will allow the things that matter little to “grow strangely dim.”
We invite you to sit in the stories of Jesus’s life that we have the benefit of knowing in retrospect. He was a proponent of the senses, and He reflected this in his interactions with others. May we find in His encounters, through the stories that are recorded in the gospels, our own encounters with Christ that will bring healing, restoration, joy, and peace to our open hearts.
Pastor Nancy Eckardt
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Sunday, November 27
Light shows up to Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph.
Luke 1:11: Appearance of an angel to Zacharias. Contrast with Mary, who receives a message. When Zacharias rejects, then he’s silenced. When Mary receives, her response is praise. When this light shows up, it has an effect. But it’s not always a good effect. Light exposes what is in our hearts and leads to either praise or silence, depending on our responses.
Silence to song. How am I responding to light? Silence or song.
Read John 9:1–12.
Monday, November 28
Read John 9:1–2.
As Jesus and his disciples see this blind man, the disciples appeal to the cause and effect explanation for his blindness and ask Jesus whose sin caused it.
- When have you seen someone in pain and tried to fit his or her situation into a cause and effect paradigm?
- Are there places of blindness or brokenness in your own life that you believe are a consequence of sin and beyond the healing work of Christ?
- What do you need to adjust in your theology to let go of the idea that we get what we deserve?
Tuesday, November 29
Read John 9:1–5.
In these verses, as Jesus provides another explanation for the blind man’s suffering—that God’s works might be revealed in him. Then Jesus reminds the disciples of the work they are to do in the light, where all can see, before the dark comes and sight is hindered.
- What are those places of brokenness in your life where God’s works can be revealed?
- How do you need to see your brokenness and the brokenness of those around you as a place for God’s works to be revealed?
- What blinds you to seeing the light of Christ in your context right now?
Wednesday, November 30
Read John 9:6–7.
Jesus’s act of bringing healing is bizzare, and it requires the blind man to participate as an act of faith to restore his sight.
- What are you missing out on by staying in your blindness?
- What are you willing to let Jesus do to restore your sight?
- What steps of faith are before you to participate in your healing?
Thursday, December 1
Read John 9:8–9.
After having his sight returned, the formerly blind man caused a stir among those who saw him daily, not as a blind man but as a beggar.
- What is the difference between being seen as blind and being seen as a beggar?
- Which people might you be seeing based on how their brokenness impacts you rather than meeting them in their brokenness?
- What are you missing by not seeing those around you for who they really are?
Friday, December 2
Read John 9:10–12.
Finally, the crowd decides to listen to this sight-filled man, and he testifies about what Jesus did for him.
- What is your story of blindness turned to sight by Jesus?
- Who needs to hear your story?
- Where is Jesus in your life now? Do you know?
Saturday, December 3
Read John 9:1–12.
There are so many things in this passage that we could still cover. Let’s take a few minutes and read through the full passage. What words or phrases stand out to you?
- Read through the passage again.
- Who do you relate to and in what way? The blind man? The disciples? The crowd?
- What do you need to confess as you consider your own blindness as a participant in this story?
- Read through the passage a third and final time. What new truth is Jesus inviting you to see?
- Take time to journal about your experience with this passage and what you are seeing anew. Write a prayer of commitment to see with expectancy what God may be revealing to you during this time of Advent.