2022 Advent Devotional Guide

Welcome to InterVarsity’s 2022 Advent Devotional Guide. We will provide an image each week and invite you to reflect upon the image and accompanying Scripture. Members of our community have contributed their own reflections to accompany you in this Advent season as we seek and anticipate Jesus’ opening doors of hope.
 

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.

– Pope Benedict XV

 

Week Four Theme: Peace

 

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, … For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.”

Col 1:15f, 19, 20

 

Adviento/Advent by Daniela Amestegui

 

Week Four Reflections

 
Adventually:
We hold our breath, hold our hearts
Come again Prince of Peace

 

Coloured lights on trees,
Snow covered sidewalks and streets
The world is at peace

 

High fives, handshakes, hugs
Hold close now the ones we love
We welcome this peace

 

Carols on repeat
Christ child is celebrated
Come all you peaceful!

 

Can peace pierce through all
our despair-filled silent nights?
Christ – take hold, bring hope

 

Good King Wenceslas and
the little drummer boy played,
danced to the same song

 

Dave Birell

InterVarsity Staff

 

Eight Birches

 

Outside my window, eight birches
Stand in quiet community
Wrapped round in paper
Torn and scarred
Reaching towards the sky
Rooted to earth
They remind me
To remember
That life includes
Waiting

 
Lynda MacGibbon

InterVarsity Staff

 

Arranged

The incredible truth
Creator entering in
Gaze in wonder all

The impossible child
God made flesh in stable born
Unexpected joy

The gathering clan
Festival seasoned with grace
Welcoming table

Nigel Pollock

InterVarsity Staff

 

Week Three Theme: Joy

 

Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people

Luke 2:10

 
 

Week Three Reflections

 
from the seeds of tears
tis no single CN Tower
tis the skylines of a thousand cities
never named, never known to each other
a valley found and formed from a thousand whispered calls
etched in rock, signed and sealed migrations
born of forced digestions of imperial naval grazing.

 

When word comes down the road,
your silence will create
for words do see the other
they do not see the sentence ordered for them
they do not create their own meaning
some words farm, some words storm
some words are seeds, some words a forest
words are bricks, mixed in fire
words are dust, mired in spirit
All words are neighbors, though they never meet.

 

Let not your joy be born of cataloging every flower
let the garden be your palette.
worms and wheat together.
in your blindness, Creator walks
crossed in cataracts
carried onto the ship, wind rising, thunder brawling
where has this blood come from?
how has the pain stolen into his muscles,
sought to hide behind his eyes?

 

Come, the house of figs awaits
in robes billowing in light and linen
From eyes to his hands your tears travel
He flings them through slowed kairos breaths
From this, the seeds of many feasts

 

Alan Thorimbert

InterVarsity Staff

 

Diamond in the Rough

 

despair
darkest, dismal
humbling, backbreaking, disheartening
angels announcing a baby
seeing, soothing, saving
freshest, lightest
joy

 

Nigel Pollock

InterVarsity Staff

 

Week Two Theme: Light

 

This week’s image is titled, ‘Lingering,’ provided by artist Jocelyn Worster, is from her exhibition Meeting by Light.

 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world

John 1:9

 
Lingering
 

Week Two Reflections

 

When Did God Say (December)

 

  1. When did God say:

let there be darkness”?

Not in the beginning
Not at the end either
I imagine
It must have been in the middle,
quietly – half breathed out to Himself
Drawing a close to long summer days
Or even crisp autumn evenings
With the wind suddenly running through leafless trees
playing overtures of music
we have all heard before:
The Descent of Darkness
Remember?
It’s called November.

 

  1. When did God say:

let there be endings”?

Because if God didn’t create endings through His beautiful spoken word
There can be no winter
To coldly end all thoughts of things growing again
While a deep white covering storms
Erasing all other colours in the world
For the next 5 or 6 or 7 months
This is reality, no pretending
We are held fast, gripped by this ending

 

  1. Was God ever a movie director?

And if so, did He ever call out to Son and Spirit and spiralling cosmos:

we’re losing the light!”?

Or does God still work at night?
Twilight sure – but 2am? Or 3 or 4?
Pitch black. That’s a wrap.
Perhaps I fell asleep and missed it. I have slight photographic evidence.
Still – be still and know and have a little reverence.

 

  1. God says:

i do work at night and beyond endings

A God for all hours and seasons
If you know where to look
Frozen landscapes and 4pm darkness
Can be cracked open and you find that
Joy still runs deeply through the frosted world…
If you can light a fire and turn on a kettle
You can even linger between the ending and the beginning
Alighted with the warmth from flame and hot drink, the smell of smoked and smouldered wood wrapped around you
Incense for your never-ending soul
You go back inside enlightened
Eyes still reflecting out to one another the fire’s last ember
Ready now for December

 

Dave Birrell

InterVarsity Staff

 

Shadows

 

Yea, though I walk through the shadows
I will fear no evil.
But there is much else to fear
if I’m honest:
Loneliness, forgottenness, sorrow,
boredom, silence…
Evil doesn’t even make the list.
But there is another list:
rod, staff, table, cup

 

Anonymous

 

The Spectrum of Dark

 

No bow to take,
No purple patch or invitation,
No blues to sing or signals go,
No shining sun or amber nectar
No burning coals and embers glow

 

All colour gone, the blind leading the bland
Such beauty, invisible to the naked eye
Frightful noise, startling the naked ear
Unreadable signs, obscuring hidden destinations
Real danger and imagined, the devil in the lack of detail

 

Darkness

 

Heightens fear
Suppresses hope
Obscures direction
Limits vision
Cancels life

 

But something has been separated
The first day observed as good
More bright and beautiful
Now embodied, come again
True light

 

Shining in the darkness

 

Calming
Kindling
Illuminating
Enlightening
Living

 

Christmas dawning
Now the morning
Glorious day

 

Nigel Pollock

InterVarsity Staff

 

Week One Theme: Hope

 

Our week one image, titled ‘Limina’, was installed at the Memory Garden of St John’s Shaughnessy Church, Vancouver, just before All Souls’ Day this year. Images provided courtesy of Robison Studios.

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil what he has spoken to her!
Luke 1:45

 
Limina
Limina image
 

Week One Reflections


Cellular

 

Your embrace runs through me.
Light, soul-fire.
What is happening?
Wanting more. Light of life.
Lover of my soul body fire.
Absolutely yours.
Yes.

 

Kathy Moll
InterVarsity Staff

 


 

I lean against the bathroom wall to keep from collapsing in despair as I throw yet another negative pregnancy test into the garbage. This is the season of advent, of waiting in hope for baby Jesus to be born. How am I supposed to celebrate the stories of two miraculous births in Luke 1 while my own womb is still barren?
I’m not as old as Elizabeth and I’m not unmarried like Mary but getting pregnant would require just as much of a miracle. My chance of conceiving naturally is less than 1% and the doctor has advised against IVF which is probably a good thing since as a campus minister, I don’t have $20,000 to put toward one month of IVF treatments.
I never knew that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility or that 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage until I became one of them. Why don’t Christians talk about this more, especially since there are 7 couples in the Bible who struggle with infertility and ALL of them end up with a miracle baby?
I know I’m not the only one feeling barren, grieving miscarried dreams, or laboring in ministry only to be rewarded with a stillbirth. What is the hope for us this advent season?
I unfortunately have not been visited by an angel telling me that God has heard my prayers, that God has found favor with me, or that I will become pregnant. I ponder the words from Elizabeth, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her.” What is the word God has spoken that I can cling to in this barren season?
I hear Proverbs 23:18 echo in my heart: “Your hope will not be disappointed.” To be honest, I’m ending 2022 with lots of disappointment. And I know that the story isn’t over yet. But my hope isn’t in a baby. It’s in THE baby who came to us at Christmas. And so I continue waiting. In hope.

 

Anonymous Contribution

 


 

Wayfinding

A sign of the promise?
Look to the stars.

No wonder YHWH showed Abraham the night sky.

What is hope, if not
bright lights in a sea of all-expansive darkness?

Guiding beacons for lonely voyagers,
so, we never lose our way home.

 

Paolene Nepomuceno
InterVarsity Staff

 


 

Rachel

An ancient lament echoes through time
A voice, a place called Ramah
Not the sound of festive laughter
Guttural anguish from visceral pain.
Families ripped by violence
Murder by any other name.

In the aftermath of the mayhem
A name to the voice
Rachel weeping, refusing to be comforted
What is lost cannot be counted
Those who are missing will not be reclaimed
Desolation without consolation.

An ancient lament echoes through time
Anguish in a place called Bethlehem
A threatened king wreaking havoc
Slaughtering hope in anger
First born sons slain
Murder by any other name

The notes of a new song echo through time
At Ramah a prophet is freed from chains
And delivered from exile
At Bethlehem the word survives
Through exile in a foreign land
Don’t skip too soon to the hope

An ancient lament echoes through time
Children die in terror and squalor
Mothers weep beyond comfort
Real places and real people now
In exile there is hope
Oh Rachel, oh Bohdana, oh Afsoon.

The notes of a new song echo through time
The end of dissonance and discord
A melody of comfort from the man of sorrows
The prince of peace quietly sings
A carol that becomes a symphony
A crescendo of hope slowly builds

 

Nigel Pollock
InterVarsity Staff