Are we going to jump on the seasonal crazy-train? Or will this be a time of Promise and Grace?

David and Beks, 2017

Because of our God’s deep compassion,
    the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
    to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
        to guide us on the path of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79

During this week – the few days between Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent – there has to be a unifying idea that sums up the trajectory, the focus, the direction, and the meaning of this time. It turns out that there is, and that word is promise.

Promise is deep truth that carries enormous spiritual gravitas. Promise is the central thrust that unites the traditional seasonal words of hope, peace, love, and joy.

Andrew and Naomi (1987)

Additionally, promise is a powerful truth that is illustrated beautifully, and continually, and dynamically by my grandchildren.

Every time I see David and Beks I see more of their future story revealed, as we get to know their unique personalities and discover who they are becoming. At the same time, anything is still possible in terms of character, and values, and the decisions they make, and what they learn, and how the trust and innocence of childhood plays out as they grow into faith and finally begin to own their individual faith – that is promise!

This is what thrills me about this coming four weeks of Advent, I see promise wrapped up in every beautiful aspect of the season. When I see the children, I actually experience promise, and in the idea of promise I can’t help but connect with hope, peace, love, and joy.

1-IMG_3268 - CopySo again, I’m going to throw out the idea that has been guiding my thinking these past few weeks. This is the prequel to Advent; we are getting ready to get ready for Christmas. Remember – and I’m going to write about this a lot between now and December 25 – if Christmas is going to mean anything at all to us, then we must prepare our hearts and minds to receive the King.

It’s not actually Christmas until December 25, that’s the first of the twelve days. It’s not Advent until this coming Sunday. But it is the week of getting ready to get ready.

This is the week of promise. This is when we make the decision either to get on board with preparing our hearts, or simply climbing on the seasonal crazy-train and missing it altogether.

What’s it going to be? Peace – and more – DEREK

Here is some sunshine from our weekend – enjoy!


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derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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