Advent 2019 Blog

Advent Devotional

by Josiah Kennealy ’13, MA ’17

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this advent season, it’s a gift to reflect on the four candles of advent: hope, faith, joy, and peace. As we do, here are some rhythms of remembrance you might also enjoy:

Pause to ponder the 90-mile journey Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem in Israel. Whether they walked, or had Mary ride on a camel or donkey, that is quite a distance to voyage. Especially when you consider that even a 90-mile car ride today would have the possibility of several restroom pauses from productivity for an expectant mother. The blessing I have found during this time of year is that things tend to slow down near Christmas as classes come to a close, companies give time off, and families come together. These breaks and pauses are divine and glorious, soothing to the soul.

Praise is our priority. Just like the magi who came from afar when they saw a star, we also have the privilege of adoring our savior on silent nights. We worship a wonderful savior because we delight in He who came as a baby in a manger, died on a cross, and rose triumphantly from the grave. Not out of an obligation – but in response to the greatest opportunity to praise the greatest being – and celebrate the greatest story ever told.

Present your presents. I often think back to the first Christmas play that I was a part of when I was in pre-school. I held a little drum and rum-pum-pumed to a powerful song, Little Drummer Boy. The lyric that speaks deeply to me is: “I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give our king.” The reality is when you’re invited into an audience with a king in any culture, the custom is to bring a gift. When you consider who you are and who He is, there’s no gift that’s sacred enough, but we do bring what is in our hands, our heads, and our hearts. That is where celebrating a savior starts.

Presence of a Prince, and not just any royal majesty, he’s the King of all Kings, with a name higher than any name. A wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. If your life is like mine, it’s all too easy to be hurried and rushed, filled with anxiety in this time of year and every time of year. Yet our Prince of Peace offers a presence so powerful that the only right and reasonable response is to bow in honor, in reverence, in awe, in adoration, and in worship. His presence is unlike any other – and my prayer is He draws you in near this season!

Peace is promised. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, be empowered and confident of this; in the hurry, in the waiting, in the working, in the darkness, in the chaos, in the valley, He is in control.  Your life, your family, your circumstances are safe and wise to be entrusted into the hands of He who was scarred with nails. That is a promise that brings peace. Rest in this.

Josiah Kennealy ’13, MA’17  and his wife, Micah ‘16, lead the movement called Minnesota Young Adults. Josiah is a college pastor through Chi Alpha, also the co-host of the podcast and is the author of the book Debtless: Helping Students Take On Less Debt. You can learn more and connect online @josiahkennealy or

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