Love Came Down (Advent Week Four)

Love Came Down. An Advent devotion from Leslie Ann Jones.

What a whirlwind this season of Advent has been. It's been wild, y'all. I don't know what went wrong, but despite my intentions to have a calm and collected season, it hasn't happened. I've felt more frazzled than ever. I suppose some years are just like that.

Even now, I feel rushed. In just a few minutes, I need to start getting ready for the Christmas Eve service at church. I still have presents to wrap, and there are still at least 37 things on my to-do list before I can fall into bed tonight.

But I need to stop for a minute to breathe. To consider the magnitude of God's love for us. Jeremiah 31:3 says that God's love is of the everlasting variety. It goes on and on and on into eternity. It has no beginning, and it has no end. It's vaster than our wildest imaginations. 

And it's for us.

Sometimes I look at my children and think my heart can hardly contain all the love I feel for them. Can you imagine how God feels when he considers his children?

He loves us. And because he loves us, he came down. He loved us when we were at our most unlovely, and he loves us still. He didn't wait for us to get our acts together or get our ducks in a row before coming. No. He showed up. He stepped right into the crazy alongside us. He showed us what love looks like.

It looks like God bending down low and tucking in tight to put on the flesh of a tiny human baby. So that we might know that he is not so far above us that he cannot hear our cries for help. So that we may see his love on full display. So that we may know him and experience the fullness of his grace, mercy, and love.

He has loved us with an everlasting love. My prayer for you tonight, sweet friends, on this last day of this last week of Advent, is that you would lean into that love and let it wash over you. Sink into it, feel the comfort of his embrace, and be filled with wonder.

Until next time, grace and peace.

Joy for the Broken (Advent Week Three)

Good News of Great Joy. An Advent Devotion by Leslie Ann Jones. #Verses #Scripture #Quotes #LAJQuotes #LAJScripture #Advent #Christmas

Truth: I'm having a hard time with joy today. I've got a cold (again), it's a dreary day outside, and every time I login to facebook, I see a prayer request for another bad situation. 

Lives lost too soon.

Families left behind.

Wildfires running rampant.

Inoperable brain tumors.

Brilliant minds falling to dementia.

Marriages torn by divorce.

Children left fatherless.

Friends losing jobs.

And that's just what's happening in the lives of people that I know personally. In the rest of the world, things are far worse. War. Churches being bombed. Children buried under rubble. Civilians being executed.

The bad news is relentless. And in the face of such an overwhelming flood, it's nearly impossible to keep your head above water. Another wave is bound to come crashing down soon.

But it's into this fray that Christmas comes. And that, dear friends, is where our hope and joy are found. The promise of the gospel is not that we would never know suffering or feel pain but that he has seen our suffering and known our pain, and he has entered into it with us. The wonder of Christmas is that God Almighty came down. When we cried out for help, he came running.

Jesus is the joy of our salvation. He's our rescuer sent from heaven. He's our help in times of deepest need. He's the promise of aid on the horizon. When your current circumstances obscure joy, remember this: Christ has come. Christ has risen. And Christ will come again. 

When that time comes, he will wipe away every tear from every eye. There will be no more sorrow, no more grief, no more pain. No more sickness or death. We will be with God, and in his presence, no darkness can dwell.

Though the sorrow may last for a night, joy comes in the morning. Morning is coming, sweet friends. And that's good news of great joy, indeed.

Until next time, grace and peace.


(Verse  Four)

O holy child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Immanuel.

— Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Hope in the Darkness (Advent Week One)

This is the first of a 4-part Advent series posted each week before Christmas. Each post corresponds with the free Family Advent Wreath Devotional, available for download in the LAJ Shop.

Light Has Dawned. Devotions and readings for Advent from Leslie Ann Jones. #LAJQuotes #Scripture #LAJVerses #Advent #Christmas

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that the world has gone a bit crazy over the past few weeks. I thought for sure that things would get better after the election, but it turns out that I was wrong. It could get worse. And it has.

Those with her were convinced that she was the answer to all our problems. Those with him were hanging on the promise that he would make America great again. And when the results rolled in, half the country grieved while the other half exulted. 

It's never been more obvious that we are a people looking for a savior. It seems that all our hopes and dreams were pinned on the one we thought would save us all, but no matter how much power the president of the good ole U.S. of A. wields, it's not nearly enough for that. Only Jesus can save.

The world is a dark place these days, y'all, but it is not so dark that the light of Christ can't pierce it. Jesus called himself the Light of the World, and it is his light that we cling to when the darkness presses close.

In moments when darkness lays heavy and thick upon us, even the tiniest flicker of light can give us the hope we need to carry on, but thanks be to God that the light of Christ is not a flickering candle in the wind. It's the steadfast and sure glow of a lighthouse warning us of danger and guiding us to safe harbor. 

The hope of Advent is the promise that Christ has come and that he's coming again. It's not wishful thinking. It's not an empty promise. It's a certainty—a forgone conclusion based on the rock solid ground of God's faithfulness. His word promises that something unimaginably better lies ahead for those who place their trust in him. And because his word is based on his character, we can rest assured that it's trustworthy indeed.

He will not leave us or forsake us. Though the world is quite dark, he has not left us stranded. He came into this dark and dreary world to save sinners, and he's coming back someday to take us home. Now that's something to look forward to.

Amen and amen.

Until next time, grace and peace.