2021 Advent Devotional - Week 3 - Love

by Cindy Scott on December 12, 2021

This Advent as we focus on celebrating the arrival of the Messiah, let’s walk through this series of devotional thoughts together!

Each week there will be 5 devotional thoughts that will focus on a different facet of the topic of the week- Hope, Joy, Love and Peace. There will be scriptures, personal sharing, journaling questions, posting challenges and more. And there’s a playlist for each week.

Do the 5 devos however you like  - weekday mornings or evenings, a couple here or there, or even in one lump sum on the weekend or your day off. 

However you do them, our hope is that you will:  

  • experience Hope, Joy, Love and Peace in new ways
  • feel connected with others in our Worship Center family
  • be prompted in practical ways to live out your faith in real life

Enjoy the journey!

For a printable version of this devotional, click here.


THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRISTMAS IS LOVE


LOVE: DAY 1

God is love

1 John 4:8b says, “God is love.”

Later, in that same chapter it says,

We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19).

In this week’s devotional thoughts we’ll take a closer look at what love is by going bit by bit through 1 Corinthians 13. We will look at how God loves us through this lens and then our call to love others.

Here’s the whole passage:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Today our focus is the first part: “Love is patient and kind…”

When I think of God’s love for me I get overwhelmed with gratitude. He loved me (and all of us) while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). We didn’t do anything to deserve that love. We just received it.

It’s kind of like a Christmas gift. It can be yours, but if you don’t open it you will never experience what is inside.

God’s gift of patience and kindness is not a one time thing. He was so patient with you when you were not yet a believer and so kind to offer you salvation and forgiveness. Now, God is helping you grow and become like Christ, but he is not pushing, or angry, or unkind.

Take a moment and think of God’s love for you. In what areas of your life have you seen him be patient and kind to you? Be specific.

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Now, let’s look at paying it forward. Who is one person God would want you to extend his love to by being just a little more patient and kind?

Take this verse to heart today as you love others. 

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Prayer: Father, help me first to receive your love again in new ways and new places in my life. Remind me of your love today and all throughout this week. Then, help me to be a conduit of that love, letting it pass through me to others.

Want more? Spend some time soaking in the love of God as you listen to this week’s playlist: The Good News of Christmas- Love

LOVE: DAY 2

We love because he first loved us.

Let’s start out the same as yesterday. 

1 John 4:8b says, “God is love.”

Later, in that same chapter it says,

We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19).

In this week’s devotional thoughts we’ll take a closer look at what love is by going bit by bit through 1 Corinthians 13. We will look at how God loves us through this lens and then our call to love others.

Here’s the whole passage:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Yesterday we looked at how love is patient and kind. Today our focus will be, “Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.”

I don’t think any of us wake up in the morning and set out to see if we can be jealous or boastful or proud or rude. That would just be weird.

But, what if… what if we do those things unintentionally?

What if we think our view on that issue we are passionate about is SO right and “they” are so wrong – or at the very least they are uninformed?

We question why “they” don’t see it the right way. We wonder how they could drift so far from truth.

Or maybe it’s not a viewpoint that trips your trigger, but an issue you feel strongly about. It seems inconceivable that others don’t see how important it is and you want them to get behind it. It’s easy to unknowingly move into a place of “rightness”.

If I am honest, over this last year or so I’ve found myself judging the “judgers” and asking myself why people were getting so heated about things that were not eternal. I felt that strong pull to be “right”, even if it was about others being too strong!

Romans 12:10 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

Other versions say to prefer one another in love. That’s great for a memory verse but how do we do that in real life? 

An even better question is how does God love us in this way?

Let’s do a little equation. If “God is love” and love is all these things – let’s replace “God” for “Love” in today’s verse.

God is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. He does not demand his own way.

Jesus humbled himself and became a man to prefer us, to offer us a pathway to relationship with the Father. The Father offers us freewill. He doesn’t force us to see things his way. Instead he sends the Holy Spirit to us to guide us to live in the upside down kingdom where we think of others more highly than ourselves.  

This rarely happens on social media. 

This rarely happens in real life.

When did it become the “right” thing for believers to judge others? Perhaps instead we should leave that to the Holy Spirit and focus on considering others as more important than ourselves.  

Can we be honest with ourselves? What is a passion area you feel strongly about that you wish others would just get on board with?

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Take a moment and think about Jesus. Let’s think about how he loved people where they were at when he walked on the earth, and how he loves us where we are at, now.

What is one way you have experienced that love and acceptance wherever you are in your life right now?

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Who is one person you need to love where they are at right now? Or what is one issue you want to release and let God champion in a new way this season?

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Let’s close with this thought from John 14:16:

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

Prayer: Oh God, we want so much to trust in your love, live in your love, and to allow you to live in us. May we be saturated with your love so much that others would love being around us because they feel you!

Want more? Take the social media challenge and don’t comment on any hot topic, but rather find someone to intentionally compliment and encourage.

LOVE: DAY 3

Love is gracious

We’ve looked at, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.”

Today our focus will be,

It [Love] is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 1 Corinthians 13:5b

Sometimes I beat myself up for something I wish I did differently in the past. I go over that one statement I made and wish I could take it back, or I re-envision that thing I did, or didn’t do and wish I could have a do-over.

When I do that, it’s distracting at best, but debilitating when it really takes over. 

I take GREAT HOPE in the focus for today.

“Love [God] is not irritable, and he keeps no record of being wrong.”

In John 14 Jesus explains God the Father’s love for us:

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”  John 14:18

The Good News of Christmas is that God’s love has been revealed and is offered to us. 

God does not obsess over my failures. He loves me. Jesus came to earth as a human to ensure that my missteps would be forgiven if I take them to the cross.

If Jesus isn’t irritable and keeps no record of being wronged, why do I keep focusing on my stuff?

Prayer: Jesus, today I choose to receive your amazing forgiveness! Whenever I start to replay something I wish I did differently in my head, I will instead remember your great love, your great offer of forgiveness. Meet me there.

What do you keep replaying in your head that you could give to Jesus today?

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Oh the wonder of the goodness of God! Today let’s receive his great love for us as our faith intersects our real life!

Want more? Ask Jesus what he loves about you. It’s a bold prayer, but he wants you to know.

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LOVE: DAY 4

Love is truth

As we continue to walk through the love passage in 1 Corinthians 13 our focus for today will be:

“It [Love] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” 1 Corinthians 13:6

Did you know that Jesus says, “I tell you the truth” over and over in the New Testament? There are at least 70 times recorded.

Truth was one of his favorite topics.

John 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

And late in the book of John he actually reveals himself AS the truth.

‘“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”’ John 14:6

Jesus IS Truth! Everything else is temporary. He is eternal.

The focus verse for today says, “It [Love] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.”

Let’s take a few moments to shift our focus to rejoicing when truth wins out!

  • Truth wins when love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
  • Truth wins when we love our enemies (Matthew 5:44-46, Luke 6:27-32).
  • Truth wins when we live kingdom ways (John 12:24-26).
  • Truth wins when we receive and pour out love (John 13:34-35).

This is the great adventure! The ongoing journey of receiving and giving love.

If I’m honest I’m better at giving than receiving love. I don’t know why, but it feels easier for me. Maybe I just don’t like to acknowledge need? Maybe I don’t want attention on myself, but whatever the reason is, I still need love.

We all need love. Some of us know it more than others, some of us get sidetracked by the stuff of life, but the truth is that his wonderful love is always there for us.

How do you feel about receiving the truth of his love?

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Oh, the wonder of his love – it supersedes all the circumstances in our current reality and extends through all of eternity.

John 16:13a promises, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

Prayer: Holy Spirit, we welcome your truth in our lives. We embrace your love once again. Fill us with your love. We place ourselves under the waterfall of your continual love. 

What works best for you when you think about receiving love – an extended quiet time, choosing a certain song to focus on for a season, finding a verse to write out and put places to remind yourself, journaling, spending time in nature…

When I think about receiving love from God here’s where I see myself:

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Want more? Today, as you go about your life – look for his love all around you!

Write some sightings here, or better yet, make a post that starts with, “I see the truth of God’s love when…”

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LOVE: DAY 5

Love wins

The final verse in our love passage for this week is:

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

Hold your hand over your eyes for a second. It’s hard to see around it right? You can’t see the light in the room or even your own feet. Your hand is the only thing you can see.

Circumstances can be like that. If we hold them too close to our eyes they become the only thing we can see. 

They can steal our focus and rob us of hope and faith.

What circumstances are demanding focus in your life right now?

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Hold your hand over your eyes again. Now, pull your hand away. You can see a lot more things right? What would it feel like to think of your circumstances written on your hand and then to pull them away to see a broader perspective?

What could you see if your circumstances were not so close? How would you feel?

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One more prompt. What if you put your hand behind your back? What if your circumstances were not simply made to be a smaller focus, but were put out of your focus at all? 

Let’s take a look at the passage again and break it up. 

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

What would it look like if you didn’t give up, lose faith, had hope, or could endure?

Which of those do you want to be a focus today? 

  • Not giving up
  • Not losing faith
  • Having hope
  • Enduring through every circumstance

Prayer: Father, right now I choose to breathe out and release those circumstances I listed before and breathe in your love which gives me what I need for today. 

Now try it! 

Choose one word you want to release from your life like – chaos, lack, or worry – and choose a word you want to receive in its place like – trust, hope, or love.

My words today would be “overwhelm” and “peace”.

Write your words here. 

God, today, I choose to let go of __________________ and breathe in _________________.

Take a deep breath. Breathe out your ___________ and breathe in his ____________.

Repeat all day as needed! Enjoy the exchange!

Connect: If you are willing, post what you are releasing and what you are breathing in.

Tags: love, christmas, advent, devotional

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