Tag Archives: advent

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6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

- Isaiah 9:6

As the lyrics of the Hallelujah Chorus, we hear these words almost every Christmas. The music of Handel’s song easily gets stuck in our heads, but I wonder if the words do the same. These words are too incredible to pass by.

Hours could be spent on each of these ideas. But for today, think about the fact that “the government shall be upon His shoulders.” Jesus’ birth signified that God had a better plan. As much as the Israelites desired a king, every kingdom failed. But God promised to send a Savior who would rule with power and grace. Even the responsibility of government would rest upon Him.

So in a world where so many things are going wrong, we all need to be reminded of who is in control. Whether we are Republican or Democrat, our hope should not rest in a politician to solve our problems. In fact, as followers of Jesus Christ, we should be gracious to public officials because they will never get it completely right. As hard as they try, Christ is the only one who can effectively lead our world towards peace and reconciliation.

This Christmas, try to reach out to someone with the good news of the gospel. If you know a public official, tell them how much you appreciate them. And rather than complaining about our government, remember that we are looking for a better, more peaceful kingdom that is yet to come.

Prayer: Jesus, we believe that you are the hope that we need. Whatever our need, help us to trust in You for our peace. You alone are our Savior.

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2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

– Isaiah 53:2-3

As most of us can admit, it is easy to miss the true meaning of Christmas! If we are honest, all of us can think back to years that didn’t have as much significance as we hoped. Whether we didn’t receive that present on top of our list, whether we have mourned the loss of a love one, or whether the time just passed too quickly… we have all missed the point from time to time.

Of course, we are not the only ones to miss the Christ in Christmas. From the very beginning of Jesus’ life, people did not see anything attractive or popular about Him. Scripture tells us that in addition to being born in a filthy manger, Jesus did not draw a lot of attention in terms of his physical appearance.

Unlike the movies that we see on TV, Jesus wouldn’t have been cast for any movies. In fact, the Bible tells us in John 1:10-11 that Jesus was despised and rejected by those around Him. Rather than seeking out His face, they hid from Christ and did not see any value in Him. In today’s terms, He was far from being a movie star.

This can be convicting because all of us are guilty about forgetting about Jesus. Many of us pay more attention to the movie stars and the latest Hollywood gossip than we do to Jesus Christ. But it is never late to change.

Christ calls us to notice Him, to recognize who He truly is, and to bring others with us to the manger. If we all do that, this Christmas will not be another empty holiday.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us for neglecting You. Like our friends and neighbors, we have lost sight of who you truly are. All of us have gone astray and looked to the idols of our greed, pride, and lust. Have mercy on us for not esteeming You as we should, and help us to to draw others to You, so that today, we will all recognize Your majesty as we should. Though born in a manger, You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

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20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).

- Matthew 1:20-23

These are some of the most amazing verses in the Bible. In a few short sentences, we learn some amazing things about God’s love for the world:

* Through the power of Almighty God, a virgin will give birth to a son.
* This miraculous child will save his people from their sins.
* God will dwell with humanity through the birth of a child.

This is shocking because no other God has the power to cause a virgin birth. No other God has made the “first move” to save people from their sin. And no other God has loved humanity like our God.

In response to Jesus’ birth, we should be inspired to worship. We haven’t created our own salvation or found a way to stop sinning, so Christmas should remind us about how small we really are. All we can do is receive the amazing grace that God offers to us through Jesus Christ. God alone deserves the glory! None of our efforts can contribute anything more to what God has already done through Christ.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for making us Your people and for saving us from our sins. We are amazed that You came to rescue us. Even your name reminds us of your forgiveness. We can never fully express our gratitude for what You have done for us, and we ask that You will continue to save us from the evil that surrounds us.

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2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
one whose origins are from the distant past.
3 The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
until the woman in labor gives birth.
Then at last his fellow countrymen
will return from exile to their own land.
4 And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.
5 And he will be the source of peace.

- Micah 5:2-5

Like many of us today, the Israelites felt overwhelmed and disappointed. Other nations had stolen their land and their possessions. They felt like God had let them down.

But the Bible tells us that God never abandons His people. He is always there, and He always comes through.

Jesus’ birth was the prime example of God’s protection. When the Israelites were bummed out, God sent His Son to save the world. Acting a shepherd, Jesus now guides His followers into truth and protects them from the enemy’s attacks.

So when life seems turbulent, never forget that God has provided us with a Good Shepherd. Jesus brings peace, not only to us, but to people around the entire world. With Christ guiding us, we are safe and secure.

Prayer: God, thank you for sending your Son to be our leader and protector. Whenever we face violence and disturbance in life, we know that You are strong enough to protect us. Forgive us for worrying about our troubles, and today, may Jesus Christ be our source of security and peace.

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14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

(Gen. 3:15)

Thousands of years beforehand, God planned Jesus’ birth.

God’s plan was not to make everyone wealthy or to give us political victory, but to save the world from sin. Adam and Eve fell short of God’s glory by sinning against Almighty God, just as we have all sinned. Yet in the midst of our sin, God promised that He would provide a Savior to save us from our sins.

As early as Genesis 3, God explained what his plan would be: He would provide an offspring of Eve to overcome the devil. This incredible promise, following Adam and Eve’s sin, was revealed to us in Jesus Christ. All of humanity longed for this long-awaited Savior to defeat the deceiver, and with Christ’s birth, God fulfilled His promise to save His people from their sins.

Prayer: Lord, help us to remember the true meaning of Christmas this year. With all of the hustle and bustle that surrounds us, please help us to remember your incredible promise to save the world. This Christmas, help us to look beyond ourselves and to recognize the victory that only comes through Jesus Christ. Amen.