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Advent

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Washington Nationals

Quote:
“I can’t put this into words. I’ll say this: Often bumpy roads lead to beautiful places. And this is a beautiful place.” – Davey Martinez

Verse:
Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Micro-Challenge:
Do something as a team today. Play. Create. Decorate. Listen to others and their ideas. Reject wild independance for radical interdependence. Ask for help.

Forky

Quote:
“I’m trash.” – Forky

Verse:
Luke 12:6-7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Micro-Challenge:
Find some purpose in caring for the earth today. Pick up some trash in your neighborhood while on a walk for your mental and physical health.

The Office

Quote:
“Presents are the best way to show someone how much you care. It is like this tangible thing that you can point to and say, “Hey man, I love you this many dollars worth.’” – Michael Scott

Verse:
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Micro-Challenge:
Give a gift today that costs you zero dollars but is still costly in time, thought, wrapping, and creativity.

A Christmas Story

Quote:
“Oh Fudge.” – Ralphie Parker

Verse:
James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

Micro-Challenge:
The words we say to others give life or take life. Create a habit for the rest of Advent to not speak down to another living thing. Give life with your speech.

Jane Goodall

Quote:
“One thing I have learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” – Jane Goodall

Verse:
Matthew 18:2-4 “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”

Micro-Challenge:
Make a list of 10 things with your kids that they love to do with you, and check a couple off the list as you play together. If you don’t have kids, do the same list with a friend.

Makoto Fujimura

Quote:
“When we cross borders culturally, we experience some alienation from our own culture and gain an objective perspective toward our own culture at the same time. A bicultural individual comes to identify home as a culture outside his or her original identity, and may vacillate in commitment and loyalty to both cultures.” – Makoto Fujimura

Verse:
Ephesians 2:13-16 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”

Micro-Challenge:
Cross borders today culturally. Make a friend or reach out to a friend who doesn’t look like you, vote like you, think like you, but who still worships like you.

The Mandalorian

Quote:
“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Empire is gone.” – The Mandalorian

Verse:
Colossians 1:13-14 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Micro-Challenge:
Imagine a world without a Savior. Ponder that for a few minutes and then consider who needs you share the truth that the light is winning. Go tell it on the mountain.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote:
“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Verse:
Galatians 4:3-5 “In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Micro-Challenge:
Let someone out of the prison you have been holding them in by forgiving them today. Pray for their goodwill and flourishing this Advent season.

Hildegard Von Bingen

Quote:
“Be not lax in celebrating. Be not lazy in the festive service of God. Be ablaze with enthusiasm. Let us be an alive, burning offering before the altar of God.” – Hildegard of Bingen

Verse:
Matthew 2:11 “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

Micro-Challenge:
Do a bit of celebrating tonight! Break into your week with songs, dancing, toasting, giving, and do it with others! Invite a friend over or a neighbor and celebrate like the Wise Men.

The Christmas Truce of 1914

Quote:
“I think I have seen today one of the most extraordinary sights that anyone has ever seen. About 10 o’clock this morning I was peeping over the parapet when I saw a German, waving his arms, and presently two of them got out of their trench and came towards ours. We were just going to fire on them when we saw they had no rifles, so one of our men went to meet them and in about two minutes the ground between the two lines of trenches was swarming with men and officers of both sides, shaking hands and wishing each other a happy Christmas.” Captain A.D. Chater, in a letter to his mother.

Verse:
Matthew 5:44-46 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

Micro-Challenge:
Write a Christmas Card to a military person you know and love. Encourage them with the peace of Christ during the Holiday season.

Frozen II

Quote:
“If you don’t want me to chase you into fire, then don’t run into fire.” – Anna

Verse:
Matthew 18:12 “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?”

Micro-Challenge:
Reach out to an elderly friend who may feel extremely lost and alone this Christmas season. Bring them a gift and let them know they are not alone.

The Nativity

Quote:
“Luke’s Gospel account of the Christmas event is full of activity…And yet, in the middle of the frenetic action, here is this woman wrapped in mystical silence…She demonstrates the necessity of a quiet place within ourselves at Christmastime—that place where we are most ourselves in relation to God. It is a place of silence, not because it is untouched by all the activity of our lives, but because it is capable of wonder. Every prayer begins with silent wonder before it turns to words. Our first response to God is dumbstruck awe at who he is and what he has done for us.” – William Freburger

Verse:
Hebrews 4:10-11 “For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…”

Micro-Challenge:
Advent is in full swing. Find the peace of a resting baby today any way you can. Go to bed wicked early. Take a nap. Trust that God has the day and it’s troubles in full control.

Kelly Clarkson

Quote:
“The thing about Christmas is that it almost doesn’t matter what mood you’re in or what kind of a year you’ve had – it’s a fresh start.” – Kelly Clarkson

Verse:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[ is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Micro-Challenge:
Take 25 items to Goodwill. One for each day of Advent. Clean house.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Quote:
“If you find that not many of the things you asked for have come, and not perhaps quite so many as sometimes, remember that this Christmas all over the world there are a terrible number of poor and starving people.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Verse:
Proverbs 14:31 “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”

Micro-Challenge:
Open your hand and your heart to the needy today. Give to whoever asks today or give online a small donation that honors your Maker.

Gingerbread House

Quote:
“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” – Brene Brown

Verse:
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Micro-Challenge:
Advent is about God doing for us something we could never do for ourselves. Ask for help today. Humble yourself and ask for the help you need.

The Polar Express

Quote:
“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” – Conductor of The Polar Express

Verse:
John 20:27-29 “Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”

Micro-Challenge:
Scrape your neighbor’s car windows before they go to work. If this seems too intrusive, be prepared to shovel their snow when it comes.

Toby Mac

Quote:
“My wife and I would want the world to know this … We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him, like we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. He is the God of the hills and the God of the valleys.” – Toby Mac after his son’s death of appearent suicide.

Verse:
Psalm 34:18-19 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous have many problems, but the LORD delivers them from every one.”

Micro-Challenge:
Reach out to someone you know struggles with their mental health. Let them know how wonderful this world is because of them and commit to being a source of light to them.

The Avengers

Quote:
“Five years ago, we lost. All of us. We lost friends. We lost family. We lost a part of ourselves. Today, we have a chance to take it all back. You know your teams, you know your missions. Get the stones, get them back. One round trip each. No mistakes. No do-overs. Most of us are going somewhere we know, that doesn’t mean we should know what to expect. Be careful. Look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives. And we’re going to win. Whatever it takes. Good luck.” – Steve Rogers

Verse:
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Micro-Challenge:
Call a dear friend and remind them of how proud you are of them and how far God has brought them in the last five years. Encourage them that you see their light shining and give a specific example of how they shine their light!

Harriet Tubman

Quote:
“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” – Harriet Tubman

Verse:
Revelation 2:2-3 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.”

Micro-Challenge:
Read up today on the persecuted church around the world. Consider their endurance in the faith and other saints like Harriet and run the race of faith marked out for you.

The Golden Girls

Quote:
“Rose, what are you listening to? Rose: A relaxation tape. The rain is supposed to relax me. Dorothy: Is it working? Rose: Not really. I keep worrying that I left my car windows down.” – The Golden Girls

Verse:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Micro-Challenge:
Remove worry today. Grab some friends or at least one good one and decorate a Gingerbread House or bake and decorate some cookies and be sure to make part of it imperfectly. Leave room in your mind that our presence is better than our perfection.

Homeless Persons’ Memorial

Quote:
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Teresa

Verse:
Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

Micro-Challenge:
Head down to Market Square tonight to be reminded that there are others in our city who are not only seen by God but seen by you as well. Honor their memory by standing out in the cold at the Homeless Persons’ Memorial tonight at 7 pm.

Saint Nicholas

Quote:
“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic God’s giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.” – St. Nicholas of Myra

Verse:
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Micro-Challenge:
Copy God today. Make a list of 10 ways that God has loved you as his child and copy God in all things. Join us at Common Ground as we light the Advent Candle of Love and grow in our anticipation of the coming King.

Mary and Jesus

Quote:
“Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog.” – Philip Yancey

Verse:
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Micro-Challenge:
Get away. Take a walk today. In the midst of the chaos and hustle, carve out the necessary time to “ponder these things in your heart” like Mary. Walk slowly with no destination and ponder anew what the Almighty can do.

Stable Birth

Quote:
“Advent is not for sissies. “The king is coming” is a cry of hope in the midst of darkness, suffering, and pain.” ― Fleming Rutledge

Verse:
Luke 2:16-19 “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Micro-Challenge:
Alright no complaining today. None. As Mary and Joseph are not found complaining in the stable, may you not be found this Christmas Eve complaining about anything. Cast your cares on Christ who cares for you. This one is not for sissies. Be strong and courageous, our King is nearly born.

A Christmas Carol

Quote:
“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.” Bob Cratchit from A Christmas Carol

Verse:
Mark 1:1-3 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

Micro-Challenge:
Live in the world today as if Christ has come. Plan the road ahead in 2020 with marked off ramps to revitalize your faith. Plan some silence, a retreat, a Sabbath, and some stillness. Live today in the full knowledge that the light has truly overcome the darkness.