First Monday in Advent

Now is the time to prepare for the Coming of the Messiah this Advent Season.  Meet us here each day of Advent where we will be posting a blog written by members of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem,  representing an intergenerational sampling of contributors as they reflect on the scripture selections from the Daily Lectionary Advent readings from the Book of Common Worship. If you would like to download a copy of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem Advent Devotional, CLICK HERE.


Lectionary reading: Amos 2:6–16; 2 Peter 1:1–11; Matthew 21:1–11

God created humans and gave us all the joys and pleasures of the Garden of Eden. We sinned and turned from him and believed we knew better. That was only the beginning of a continuing cycle of our sin and his forgiveness. The Old Testament chronicles these cycles as generation after generation hear the word of God, but turn away. We become self-centered and put our faith in idols and spend our time in pleasures of the body.

The book of Amos (2:1–16) provides insight into a part of one of these cycles of sin. God recognizes that the people of Israel have fallen. God announces through the prophet Amos that he will punish his people. The people of Israel will suffer real losses and the nation will be unprotected. 

In the New Testament the cycle continues. God sees that the people of Israel have built up a wall of rules and regulations for their religion, but have not found God’s love in their hearts.  Today we cover our eyes, our ears, and our mouth as the word of God is removed from our schools and everyday dialogue. Our leaders are not held accountable for their lies, and our lives become more and more dependent on “things” rather than beliefs. As in the day of Amos, God says we will be (and are) made weak. We cannot save ourselves.

Prayer: God, we pray, please forgive our sins. We know “the archer’s aim will fail, the swiftest runner won’t be fast enough to flee” our enemies. Only your forgiveness through Christ will save us. Give us the strength to turn away from sin and follow you. Amen.

-Jim Birdsall