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Mission Devotional - December 1, 2016

Opening Prayer:

O Expectancy,
born of fertile wonder,
belabored by narrowed hope;
craning curious lives forward,
You are the brother of holy surprise.
Come startle awake
our dozing apathy, our complacent dreams,
that we may behold your borning, Advent cry.
Amen. (Behold! by Pamela C. Hawkins)

Scripture: Romans 8:19

Journal: What does this verse do within you? What longing within you does it speak to? How are you waiting in eager longing for God's appearing? How are you waiting and longing for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God?

Reflection: The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton.

In the silence of a midwinter dusk there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen.

You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you've never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart.

The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.

The Salvation Army Santa Claus clangs his bell. The sidewalks are so crowded you can hardly move. Exhaust fumes are the chief fragrance in the air, and everybody is as bundled up against any sense of what all the fuss is really about as they are bundled up against the windchill factor.

But if you concentrate just for an instant, far off in the deeps of you somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart. For all its madness and lostness, not to mention your own, you can hear the world itself holding its breath. (Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Buechner)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Paul and Karan Davis have been working with TEAM in France since 1978 in church-planting ministries. They have planted churches in the southern suburbs of Paris, northwestern suburbs of Lyon, and more recently in the Alps region around Albertville. Pray today for the local government to grant the property a tax exemption and for other issues to be resolved in the neighborhood. Find out more about how you can pray for this church here.

Volta a Biblia is a Bible Training College equipping church leaders in Macia, Mozambique. Pray today for the faculty of the college as they prepare and teach the students.

Closing Prayer: Lord, thank you for all you are doing within us during this time and this season. May we take great care to nurture and attend to whatever that may be. Amen.