Advent Devotional: Week Three - Sunday
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7 (HCSB)
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.
Both Isaiah and Zechariah remembered God’s mighty acts in the past. They spoke of God’s great promises for the future. They both spoke of God’s greatest deliverance in terms that both echoed and surpassed his mighty acts of the past: The final deliverance of his people through the total destruction of their enemies.
Yet when God acted in fulfillment of his great promises, it was all so ordinary. The king arrived, but he came as a child. God came to earth as a child. Childbirth isn’t exactly a grand entrance. A feeding trough for animals isn’t exactly a king’s bed. If Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth is anything, it’s ordinary. It’s obscure. It’s seemingly inconsequential.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1.27).
God accomplished his plan through a child, born into poverty, in an obscure town, to a couple of young, first-time parents.
What does God’s ability to accomplish redemption through a child tell you about his power and control? What does it tell you about the way he exercises that power and control? How does Jesus’ coming as a child demonstrate his humility? How does it help you understand the way he loves you? How does reading about Christ’s birth encourage humility in the way you live?
Prayer: Jesus, eternal Son of God, you left the glories of heaven for the mess of earth. You made yourself nothing. You came to earth as a child. You faced the miseries of this life. You took upon yourself the wrath of God. You died on a cross. You stayed in the grave for three days. You did this to save your people from their sins. Thank you.
Advent Hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.