Advent is here: the season that beckons us to remember our past and where we came from and yet also compels us to look to the future of the promised Messiah.

In the midst of schedules, homework, church obligations, holiday concerts, parties, and play…

We are called to pause for a moment and focus on God, our Creator and on Christ, the Bringer of Peace.

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Lord, you’ve been kind to your land; you’ve changed Jacob’s circumstances for the better. You’ve forgiven your people’s wrongdoing; you’ve covered all their sins. Selah

Psalm 85:1-2


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The psalmist invites us to pause with the opening words of Psalm 85. Selah — we don’t know exactly what that Hebrew word means, but we suspect it is a musical term for a breath, a pause. Here we are asked to pause and remember the past acts of a loving God who provided for the people of Israel.

In fact, the psalmist brings up the story of Israel itself, the story of Jacob, who wrestled with God and survived. The author speaks of a forgiving God, who has always cared for us who are claimed as God’s children; we call this a “covenant.”

Today, on this busy day, let us stop for a moment, breathe in deeply, and acknowledge the God of the Covenant. Let us remember with joy and peace God’s forgiveness of our human brokenness in the past as we together continue our Advent journey toward the light of the world in Christ Jesus.

Jeff Binder

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Lord, today I pray for your peace in my life. Despite the brokenness of my life and the world around me, please bring me your peace and love as my loving parent. Amen.

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May we be comforted by your history of loving us, dear Lord, at peace with your daily presence, and energized for the adventures that lie ahead.

Jeff Binder

Jeff Binder is serving as the Designated Pastor of Valley Community Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. He is engaged to be married to his fiancée, Julie, in December 2017. Jeff is an avid Cleveland sports fan and outdoorsman; he can be found cheering on the efforts of his teams or enjoying hiking or running on his days off. Jeff’s writings and sermons can be found on his blog:

Unto Us: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel


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