Advent Devotional 2022

Excerpts from






Rev. Garland F. Pierce, Executive Director


Rev. Patrick Barrett II, General Secretary-Treasurer


Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield, General Secretary

The cover art, Black Madonna and Child, is a work by Katherine Skaggs, Copyright 2022. The cover art is not to be reproduced in any form without the expressed permission of the artist.


Micheal Russell, AME Church Publishing House

Scripture quotations not otherwise identified are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.


The Advent season is a time for reflection on God’s great love for us in the sending of Emmanuel-God with us and on Christ’s promised return. For some time now, the Historic Black Methodist churches have used this time to share a daily devotional to serve as a resource for spiritual practice and faith formation during this blessed season. It is a joint labor of love of the Christian Education Departments of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

This year’s themes focus on how God prepares the way and holds fast to God’s promises. The scripture passages were selected from the Home Daily Bible Readings published by the Committee on Uniform Series (CUS) of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. CUS has promoted an ecumenical approach to the study and teaching of God’s word since 1872.

It has been an honor to serve as this year’s editor. Special thanks to all the meditation contributors and to my colleagues, Rev. Patrick Barrett II, General Secretary-Treasurer for the AMEZ Christian Education Department, Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield, General Secretary for the CME Church Christian Education Department, Rev. Gwendolyn Peters and Dr. Willa Ross, meditation coordinators for the AMEZ and CME contributions, respectively.

In Advent, we are called to reflect and wait for the coming of Christ; however, far too often, it is a time of anxiety and hurriedness due to societal demands of the season. This year, we continue through the transition from the COVID-19 pandemic to the prolonged state of endemic. We pray that this meditation guide might be a tool to assist us to slow down and focus on our faith in Christ this Advent and Christmastide, resulting in a deepened discipleship that inspires us to respond faithfully to our callings to do greater works of compassion, justice, and witness, particularly now in the midst of a hurting and divided world.


November 27, 2022

First Sunday of Advent

Dressed for the Season

Ephesians 6:10-24

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11

He exclaimed, “I have my ugly Christmas sweater; I’m ready for the season!” For many, the holiday season demands special attire: red and green velvet, sparkles, and Santa hats.

The USA and many other countries find themselves deeply divided with political campaigns and governmental processes fraught with distrust and rancor. The headlines and news feeds daily remind us of the war in Ukraine and to a lesser extent the political unrest in Somalia, Chad, and other parts of Africa. Unseemly disputes even compromise the witness of the church. There seems to be little to no tolerance for differing opinions; and, so many seem to have forgotten how to do unto to others as they would have others do unto them. We are in a season of strife and division.

The Christian community in Ephesus knew strife and division as a religious and political minority trying to bear faithful witness in the midst of the Roman Empire. In this epistle, the Ephesian believers are encouraged to be strong and remain firm in their faith, not in their own strength but in the power of Christ. They are encouraged to dress for the season in which they found themselves so that they could fight the good fight of faith. They are to dress in truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, the Spirit, and the word of God. Their lives are to be clothed in prayer.

This Advent is to be a time of hope, peace, joy, and love; yet, we must remain ready to fight the same good fight of faith—fighting for truth, fighting for justice for all. Our weapons are not the weapons of this world. Our combat attire has not been sanctioned by any department of defense. Daily, we put on the whole armor of God. Forward! March!

PRAYER: God of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, thank you for your promise of protection. AMEN

Rev. Garland F. Pierce is Executive Director of the Department of Christian Education of the AME Church and serves as Chair of the Committee on the Uniform Series of the National Council of Churches, USA.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Do you hear what I hear?

John 10:22-30

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:22

One of the most famous Christmas carols is “Do you hear what I hear?” Each verse asks a question but verse 2 asks that question of “Do you hear what I hear?” The song suggests that a little lamb is communicating with a shepherd boy. (The wind speaks to the lamb, the lamb speaks to the boy; and, the boy speaks to the king.) The last verse is the king speaking to the people everywhere.

This song never mentions God or Jesus but hints that both are present. In this scripture, Jesus is telling the Jews who HE is and who HIS Father is while letting them know that he and the Father are one. He is encouraging them to listen to HIM, to get to know HIM, and to follow HIM.

I remember when my oldest daughter was in elementary school; and, we were on a field trip to Liberty Science Center. We decided to go through the touch tunnel. It was designed to help us use our other senses, not just sight. One of her classmates had lights in the heels of his sneakers and said to our group, “Follow my light”. There would be no way to follow the light if we could not hear his voice. In this song, one is encouraged to use more than one of their senses: sight, sound, and, of course, knowledge.

John 10:22 speaks of voice (sound) and knowing (knowledge). We must use our senses to witness God.

PRAYER: Lord, in this season of expectation, help us to use our senses. Help us to hear your voice and follow you. Help us to be Peace and Light in this cold world. AMEN

Rev. Donna Stewart is pastor of the St. Thomas AME Zion Church in the New Jersey Annual Conference.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Work of the Holy Spirit (Paraclete)

John 16:1-15

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.” John 16:4b

While in seminary, I spent several weeks studying about the Trinity. An understanding of what is often referred to as the third person of the Trinity is not easy and sometimes I wonder even possible.
What can we say about the Holy Spirit (Paraclete)? We can say the Holy Spirit is the Helper. We can say that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin. The Holy Spirit convinces the world of righteousness and judgment.
The disciples were bewildered and grief-stricken. All they knew was that they were going to lose Jesus. But he told them that in the end this was all for the best, because, when he went away, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, would come. When he was in the body, he could not be everywhere with them; it was always a case of greetings and farewells. When he was in the body, he could not reach the minds and hearts and consciences of humanity everywhere, he was confined by the limitations of place and time. But there are no limitations in the Spirit. Everywhere a person goes, the Spirit is with them.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is revealing Jesus to us, to bear testimony of Jesus (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit uses many different ways and many different gifts to accomplish this, but the purpose is always the same: to reveal Jesus.
One of the Holy Spirit’s main purposes is to unveil Jesus’ true likeness, to paint his portrait in divine colors. Thus, John presents Jesus as saying that “he [the Paraclete] will glorify me,” making Jesus’ cosmic meaning known to John’s group.

PRAYER: Come Holy Spirit, come! Fall fresh on us! AMEN

Rev. Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield is General Secretary, Department of Christian Education and Formation of the CME Church; Professor of Christian Education, Spiritual Formation, and Youth Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary; and Pastor of Mother Liberty CME Church, Jackson, TN.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Waiting for our Gracious God

Isaiah 30:18-26

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18

Patience is not one of my strong suits. I would argue that all of us have impatiently waited for something to happen; a prayer to be fulfilled; or for a turn of events to lend itself to a more positive outcome. During this season of Advent, we should all be reminded that those who wait on the Lord are blessed and will be blessed in our season of waiting (Isaiah 30:18 NRSV).
While waiting on God, we should be reminded that the world will always present its own challenges of “adversity” and “affliction,” ever-present in the ills of social injustices; but, it is God who is faithful to God’s promises to always be with us along our path (Isaiah 30:20-21 NRSV).

Our attention is also wrought with things that turn our attention away from God. These “silver colored-idols and gold-plated images” might present themselves as shiny new objects that we cannot afford without great cost of our physical, emotional, and/or spiritual wellbeing. (Isaiah 30:23-26 NRSV). If we turn away from these distractions, God promises us both abundance and healing for our obedience and patience.

PRAYER: God, help us to wait for you despite our impatience. Help us to stay focused on you, as you prepare a way for us so that we do not miss the abundance of your promises. God in your mercy, hear our prayers. AMEN

Rev. D’ana Downing (She/They/Queen) is the immediate past Richard Allen Young Adult Council Connectional Treasurer (2018-2022); and currently serves as the Assistant University Chaplain at Northwestern University.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

World AIDS Day

Psalm 103:1-4

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.

This familiar psalm opens our eyes, heart, and mind to the totality of God’s love for God’s people. The psalmist opens with, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will bless his holy name” NLT. The psalmist simply is reminding us that praise should always lead the way in our lives. Praising God with our whole heart stresses that there is no middle ground with God. You must be completely dedicated to God or you’re outside God’s will. As believers, we must remain committed to uplifting and praising the name of the Lord in all that we do.

As we prepare for the way of the Lord, distractions will come. We can easily slip into a state of forgetfulness amid our distractions. However, as believers, we must never forget how God forgives, heals, and, most of all, loves us beyond anything our mortal minds can conceive. During this Advent season, we must set our hearts and minds on praising God not just for what God has done, but simply for who God is!

PRAYER: Oh Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth. Lord, thank you for your unfailing love for us. As we go through life’s journey, be with us in all that we do so that we may be pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, AMEN

Rev. Anita M. Frencher is a servant of God, wife, mother, advocate, and educator.

Friday, December 2, 2022

God Promises Compassion and Love

Psalm 103:13-22

…so, the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. Psalm 103:13b

Here, we hear a promise from the Lord of compassion for those who fear God. Also, we hear the promise of God’s steadfast love being from everlasting to everlasting on those that fear God. What does the psalmist mean by fear God?

Fear is something that identifies God’s children. The “fear” of the Lord indicates sincerity. Fear points to whatever you are most impressed with (or glory in), that which stirs your passions the most. For the unrepenting sinner, it cannot be God. He/she fears losing in that trade of fearing God for God’s compassion and love.

However, for the redeemed sinner, it is the Lord and the Lord’s will. The Lord is the one thing necessary. The one who fears the Lord can say, “Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” and be content.

To fear the Lord also means reverence, to become aware of the holy nature of God. This awareness helps us see sin in its true colors and the love of the Father in giving his Son for us. To know God this way is to love God and to desire to bless God with your soul. If you doubt your soul’s status with God; call upon him; the psalm presents him as one with arms wide open, because that is how he is.

To fear the Lord causes humans to recognize how temporary we are. We are here for a short while and then we are gone. On the other hand, God’s love for us is everlasting.
We bless the Lord as a result of our gratitude for who God is and what God does with our lives. We bless the Lord for all God’s works in all places.

PRAYER: O Lord, we take this opportunity to say, “Bless your Holy name!” AMEN

Rev. Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield is General Secretary, Department of Christian Education and Formation of the CME Church; Professor of Christian Education, Spiritual Formation, and Youth Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary; and Pastor of Mother Liberty CME Church, Jackson, TN.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Nothing is Impossible for God

Luke 1: 5-17

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” Luke 1:13b-15a

The faith of our people has been tested, much like the faith of Zechariah’s and his people. Like them, our foreparents prayed diligently for equality and full citizenship in our country. His prayer, “…if not for me, then for my children; and if not for them, then for their children,” forward casting their faith beyond time and space.

Zechariah had led his people in prayer for deliverance a long time. Little did he know that God was going to use him and his desire for a son to help usher in this deliverance. Likewise, when we pray in faith, God will surprise us by the largeness of God’s blessings toward us just as God did for Zechariah in this passage.

Faith means believing God will answer our prayers and trusting God with the details. In praying for his people, Zechariah could not have imagined that part of God’s answer would be the conception and birth of a son in his old age. But the creativity of God knows no bounds! Pray in faith and watch out! Let God surprise you with blessings that you never could have imagined! God’s goodness always prevails!

Finally, we are reminded that God specializes in the impossible. That which is impossible for humans is possible for God.

PRAYER: God of deliverance, guide us in our time of trial as we await resolution, restoration, and fulfillment through your son, Jesus Christ. AMEN

Mr. Monroe Miller serves as Connectional President of the Sons of Allen Men’s Ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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