Advent devotion: The simple silence of the season

News | December 7, 2016

By Kristin Burns

Growing up on a farm in Northwest Illinois, I always found myself embracing the simplistic beauty and abundance around me. Every season on the farm was beautiful in its own special way – the rolling fields of green in the summer to the golden colors that returned each fall promising a plentiful harvest. But the season that gave me the most humbling fulfillment was the winter holiday season. kristin-burns-advent-blog-picture

One of my most treasured traditions from my elementary school days through my college years was embracing the silence of the season on the farm. Many times, I’d grab my coat and hat and take a walk around the farm, just to absorb the peacefulness. Along my walk, I’d listen to the cattle slowly and calmly graze on their hay in the brisk, cold air.  A rabbit would often scurry across the fresh snow and I would hear an owl’s echoing hoot across the desolate land. The wind would blow across the fields and fresh snow would twirl around me in the most beautiful dance.

The small beauties that are often missed during this season filled me with God’s warmth and grace.

As dusk would begin to fall, I’d trudge through the snow back to the farmhouse, where I would be greeted by a simple shining star in the window. Coming from a strong Swedish heritage, the traditional Swedish star in the window signifies welcome and warmth during the cold winter days. I’d often find myself stopping in awe in the beauty of something so simple and glorious. Is this the feeling the wise men were overcome with as they came across the shining star that Christmas Day?

The simple star that signifies so much joy and hope in our lives. Once again, I would be reminded of all God has given and the simple joys that Gods surrounded us with each and every day. They are the joys just waiting to be discovered, if only we choose to stop and enjoy the simple silence of the season.

Kristin Burns is the quality manager at Whitey’s Ice Cream.  She resides in Davenport with her husband, John and one year old daughter, Britta.

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2 Comments on “Advent devotion: The simple silence of the season”

  • Jenette Raymond

    December 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I grew up near your farm and went to school with your dad – your appreciation of the more simple things in life are a real tribute to your parents. I hope you are able to pass this love of faith and peacefulness on to your daughter. Beautiful writing.

  • Phyllis Hoch

    December 8, 2016 at 7:52 am

    This is a beautiful portrait of our Christmas holidays on the farm. Your words are timeless as it lovingly describes Christmas on the farm in my generation as well as yours. One thing I would add is the joy in attending Julatta services in early morn, rising early on Christmas Day to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

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Isaiah 53:4-12

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16

9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

10No evil will befall you,

Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,

To guard you in all your ways.

12They will bear you up in their hands,

That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

15“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

16“With a long life I will satisfy him

And let him see My salvation.”

Hebrews 5:1-10

The Perfect High Priest

1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;2he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;3and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.4And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,



6just as He says also in another passage,



7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”37They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.40“But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.42Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.43“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.45“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight