The Advent season is upon us and, as always, we have a new theme for these daily devotionals in December 2023: “A Legacy of Faith.”
This Fall, I have been teaching a series of Bible studies on what each ancestor of Jesus contributed to the Line of Christ. Those classes prompted me to remember the multitude of people who have influenced my own life. As a result, this year, our Advent season will focus on the faithful people who, from all walks, have touched our lives in important ways.
Some who have impacted me are people I never even met. Over 400 years ago, my ancestor Robert Cushman fled England in 1607 for the Netherlands in order to worship God freely. His wife and two of his children died in the Netherlands, bringing grief but not discouragement to Robert. Ten years later, he arranged passage for a host of colonists escaping persecution in England. Robert fell ill and was unable to join the initial voyage of the Mayflower in 1620, but his efforts on behalf of others demonstrated his active faith. He at last arrived in Plymouth in 1621 and delivered the very first sermon published in America. His faith has been passed down our family tree from generation to generation. My brother, Robert Cushman Parke, is the proud heir of our ancestor’s original prayer book.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
As you prepare your heart for Christmas this year, I suggest you begin by thanking God for those ancestors whom you never knew but who passed on a living faith. If you aren’t aware of godly ancestors in your family tree, take time to read Hebrews 11 and thank God for the faithful people listed there.