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A Devotion: Get Ready for Advent

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale gives insight on preparing your heart for Advent.

A collection of purple Advent candles in a church with an Advent devotion
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Clergyman and author Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, offers us this beautiful Advent devotion to help us prepare for this holy time of year.

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The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream…. —Matthew 1:20

Do you have a guardian angel? Does everyone have a guardian angel? The Bible certainly gives us grounds for believing that. The eleventh verse of Psalm 91 says, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” If you look back through your life, you will almost certainly be able to recall episodes where a benevolent, unseen force seemed to be acting in your behalf. Both of us have lived a long while now, and many times we have felt guided or protected in mysterious and comforting ways.

Certainly, in the days before and after Christ’s birth, the angel of the Lord was keeping a watchful eye on Joseph, the young carpenter who had planned to marry Mary. As the Bible makes plain, angels can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, and St. Matthew tells us that in Joseph’s case, the angel chose to appear to him in dreams. Those dreams must have been extraordinarily vivid, even frightening perhaps, since in the first one the angel again uses those reassuring words, “Fear not” (Matthew 1:20). Joseph was told not to hesitate to marry Mary, and the circumstances of her pregnancy were explained to him. In subsequent dreams, the angel told him to flee into Egypt to avoid Herod’s anger, and then later to return to the land of Israel but to avoid Judea and settle in Galilee.

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Each time Joseph did as he was told, and unquestioning obedience is the lesson we can learn from this “just man,” as St. Matthew calls him (Matthew 1:19). But for his obedience, the dangers surrounding the Holy Family might have overtaken them.

Christmas is a time of renewal. Pause and ask yourself: How obedient am I to God’s Will and His Word? None of us is perfect in this regard. But when defiance or rebellion or selfish impulses come crowding in, it might help to remember an honest, uncomplaining carpenter named Joseph, and try to follow the example he has left us.

Give us the wisdom to know Your Will for us, Heavenly Father, and the obedience to follow it.

READ MORE: Our Editors’ Favorite Advent Candles and Holders

This Advent devotion by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was originally published in Daily Guideposts, now called Walking in Grace.

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