Advent Daily Devotional

THIS WEEK

Advent – Christmas Day

December 25, 2021
 

John 1: 1-14

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Merry Christmas! Today we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord. The incarnation. Emanuel, God with us. The traditional way we celebrate is the giving and receiving of gifts. We do that because of the story of the Magi and the three gifts they gave Jesus on his birthday. We all have many other traditions as well. Some are cultural. Some are traditional. Some are familial. One religious tradition is a bit surprising. If you look at the liturgical calendar, you will notice that Christmas Day is a day when we traditionally are to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Why would that be? We are celebrating Jesus’ birth, why would we commemorate his death, right? I am not sure, but I think it might be that if we celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s birthday, we can then celebrate the entirety of Jesus’ life and purpose all in the same day. We see that in the scripture today.

Jesus was the incarnate God.

He was introduced by John.

He was born into a world that did not recognize him.

He was not accepted.

But those who believe in him are saved.

And those who receive him see God.

When we understand what John is saying, we see that God was the first gift giver, not the Magi. God gave us Godself, lived with us, suffered with us, died for us and grants us citizenship in the Kingdom of God. That is the great gift of God. That is Emanuel. That is worth celebrating! Thanks be to God. Amen and amen.



Advent Day 23

 

 

December 24, 2021

 

Mark 1: 1-11

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
   “Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight” ’,
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

My daughter has a dog named Oakley. Oakley is a rescue. She got him from the Humane Society when he was about 11 months old. She never saw him as a puppy. Oakley came to her full grown, at least in size. It did not matter that she did not know Oakley’s origins. It only mattered that Oakley became her dog, her companion, a source of joy. Oakley rescued her from her then solitary life. 

The Gospel of Mark has no origin story for Jesus. I don’t know why. But what Mark does say is that Jesus was the one who would bring the divinity of God to humanity. Jesus was the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. A cleansing that would not need to be repeated. A purification that would allow us to be reconciled with God. Mark looks at Jesus baptism as the culmination of the incarnation. Proof of who Jesus was and is. Jesus is God’s son, the beloved and God is well pleased. To Mark, Jesus’ origin was not important. Jesus importance was that he was here to rescue us. This is the good news of Christmas. Emanuel. God with us. God with you.



Advent Day 22

December 23, 2021
 

Luke 2: 39-40

39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

When my kids were born, I was told by their grandmother that I should pay attention to every moment or their lives because in a “blink of an eye” they would be grown and gone. This was good advice because my eye blinked and my kids are grown and gone. But I do remember their lives. The years when they went form children to adolescents to adults. These are good memories. The problem with the Gospels is that they do not recount any of Jesus’ early years. Sure, we have the story of Jesus in the Temple when he was left behind by Joseph and Mary. But that’s about it. All we get is today’s text. Jesus grew up in Nazareth and became strong, wise and favored by God. We see him in the Temple at 12 then at his baptism at 30. Not much of a biography. What was Jesus doing on those years? No doubt learning what it’s like to be human. Learning the lessons we all learn as we grow up. The lessons that gave Jesus empathy toward us. The lessons that allowed him to understand our brokenness. The lessons that allowed him to forgive us, die for us and defeat death for us. It sounds like Mary and Joseph blinked, and Jesus because the savior of all creation.




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