Grow Deep: Holiday Windows Edition

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
—John 1:14

Introduction

Three Advent traditions stand out strong in my memories.

  • The first was lighting our advent wreath on the kitchen table for times of devotion and family meals.
  • The second was the daily opening the paper windows of an Advent Calendar displayed in the living room.
  • And the third was the annual visit to Downtown Chicago. There we could take in the journey and story of the Christmas window displays at Marshall Field. I suspect Famous-Barr was the place for St. Louisans.

This issue of Grow Deep is inspired by these traditions. Each day is a “window” into the story of God’s promises for you. Set aside a time to “open a window” and meet Jesus on a daily basis as you travel through these holidays. Where possible, do this around a table with family or friends. It’s best experienced together! We’ve even have Advent Calendars to share (see next page). Light some candles or make your own rituals for reflection.

So join us now as we look into the windows of the Word of God. Open you heart for the King of Glory to enter. Lift up your head and behold His glory. Worship and come into the presence of Immanuel (God with Us) in these Holy Days.

Pastors Christiansen, King, and Geis
Advent/Christmas 2015

 

Advent Window Calendars

The Holiday Windows Edition of Grow Deep has two companion Advent Window Calendars to share with you.

Children & Families: A table top, pop-up Advent Calendar, “Lift Up Your Heads!” is available through our Kingdom Quest Ministry. Our Grow Deep journey has been designed to compliment this fun family devotional tool.

Online Fun: We’ve added an online Advent Calendar to our website. There you’ll open up daily surprises connected to the our Grow Deep—Holiday Windows Edition. The calendar is mobile friendly and sends links through our daily text messages (see below). You can access the Advent Calendar through any internet enabled device or computer.

 

Grow Deep Daily Texts

Grow Deep is available on your mobile phone year round through our daily text message service. You’ll receive one text message each morning with the reading for the day and supporting links to online tools for this season’s Advent Calendar. To receive messages via text, text @growdeep to 81010. You can opt-out of messages at anytime by replying 'unsubscribe@growdeep'.

 

Advent Poem

Based on the Christmas story and Psalm 24, the following poem by David Mead is opened up in the Advent journey. It is reprinted here in it’s entirety and portions are unwrapped each day in our Advent meditations.

Lift up your heads. It may seem dark, but look! I see a distant spark. To people who are all alone God sends his one and only Son.
Lift up your heads. We've lost our way! Like sheep we all have gone astray.
We wait for someone strong and kind to seek us out, to come and find.
Lift up your heads to hear the news, "A child will soon be born for you!"
Lift up your heads. What's this I see? An angel shining brilliantly. It brings good news. It sings great joy for every girl and every boy.
Lift up your heads, dear shepherd friends. It's time to go to Bethlehem, for someone special has arrived to brighten up our darkened lives.
"Bethlehem" means "house of bread." Let's go there, as the angel said.
A man named Joseph travels in. He needs a room in Bethlehem. So many travelers come today. He cannot find a place to stay.
Lift up your heads. The time draws near. And Mary's child will soon be here. Her baby is the promised one. The Savior of the world has come.
Lift up your heads and look to see, a king as humble as can be. He does not wear a royal crown, but rides a donkey into town.
Lift up your heads at home today. What decorations are on display?
The Inn is full but someone shows this family somewhere safe to go. I'll open up my heart today and welcome Jesus right away.
There was a stable right nearby where Mary would be safe and dry.
Can you believe God's greatest gift was given in a place like this?
Lift up your heads with birds and beasts to welcome in the Prince of Peace. Creation celebrates the birth of one who brings us peace on earth.
The lamb of God was born that day. He came to take our sin away.
I am his little lamb, I know. I follow where my shepherd goes.
Lift up your heads to hear the songs. It's Christmas time! So sing along!
Look up and see the shining start that welcomes people from afar.
Lift up your heads and see the light that shines in Bethlehem tonight. Now everyone from everywhere can come to see what happened there.
The wise men came to Bethlehem to give him gifts and worship him. They gave him gold, for Christ is King of everyone and everything.
Lift up your hands, it's time to pray. We all can worship God this way. God loves us so, he came to dwell with us as our Immanuel.
They gave him myrrh: a funeral spice. The Savior came to pay the price. He came to die and rise again so we may live in heaven with him.
Lift up your head. Yes, I mean you! You're welcome at the manger too!
Lift up your hands! Lift up your eyes to see what in the manger lies. The baby born for you and me so all may live eternally.

“Lift of Your Heads!” By David Mead (c)2015 Creative Communications for the Parish. Used by Permission.