Advent Devotional - Day 5

Thursday, December 3
1 Peter 1:3-5

Growing up I went on a lot of canoe trips with my family. We would pack up the canoe with ice chests with drinks and food, bags with extra clothes and equipment, and if we were going over night we’d include a tent. I learned on these adventures that one of the most important things on a canoe trip isn’t your water shoes or your ice chest or even your paddle. Instead the most important thing was the dry bag.

As the name implies, this was the bag that kept everything in it dry. We would pack things like matches, the first aid kit, some dryer lint to start a fire and maybe one set of clothes per person. This dry bag was critical because if your canoe tipped over, which happened more often than I’d like to admit, the things in the dry bag were safe. You could lose your paddle and find an alternative. You could lose your cooler and your tent and be ok. But the dry bag held the contents that could be the difference between surviving and not making it. With the contents of the dry bag you could still start a fire, have dry clothes and take care of a medical issue. The dry bag protected the most important supplies on the trip from whatever might happen downstream.

Today’s scripture reminds us that God has put the most important stuff in a dry bag of sorts. That no matter what happens in life, we still have this inheritance of hope and life that comes from God. I find holding onto that promise is even more important during this season. We have been through some rough waters lately. It might feel as though our canoe has turned over and we are stranded. The pandemic. The loneliness. The actual darkness and cold. But this scripture reminds us that the most important stuff, God keeps safe. That God still invites us into a new, generous way of living. That this is not the end of our story. That in Advent God entered into our darkness to show us how to live even in the most difficult seasons of our lives.

The promises and the presence of God withstand not only external challenges but also withstand our internal self doubts and negative self talk. It does not matter how we feel about God or how we feel about ourselves. God’s hope and love for us remains protected and true.

Challenge: Set aside 10 minutes to reflect on God’s love for you and God’s promise that your current reality is not the end of your story. Read the scripture three, four or five times, each time listening for God’s promises to you.

Prayer: God, thank you for your promises of a life filled with hope. Thank you for your grace, love and forgiveness that you offer me. Thank you that they are held safe and surround me no matter what happens in life.

Reflection by Matt Fulmer

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