Advent Devotional: Week One - Monday

The story of Jesus’ birth began centuries before his father and mother (Mary and Joseph) knew him. The Hebrew people had long been expecting a Messiah—the anointed one who would come and rescue them from the sin and misery of the world. Their prophets, the prophets of our own Old Testament, had long foretold of one to come who would break the hardness of God’s peoples’ hearts and bring everlasting peace. During this first week of Advent we will look at a few of these verses as a way to give us context—to help us to see ourselves in the midst of this story—as we ourselves journey with the Magi to the humble manager scene.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-35

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfilled what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

The story of Jesus’ birth is about God showing that he keeps his promises and is trustworthy. How can we honor the story of Jesus’ birth this week by keeping our promises and our word?

Prayer: God, you are truthful. Unlike us, you do not lie. Forgive us for the ways we have been untrue. Help us trust you and your promises. Help us believe they are true. Make us more like you, being truthful in all we say and do.

Advent Hymn: Stanzas 3 and 4 of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, great Lord of might, who to your tribes on Sinai's height in ancient times did give the law in cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O Branch of Jesse's stem, unto your own and rescue them! From depths of hell your people save, and give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel.


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