Sentinels lift your voices! Sing out together! How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of a messenger who proclaims peace, brings good news, and proclaims salvation. This messenger has come. A son is given, a savior born. The sign is a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger in Bethlehem of Judea.
Those around at the time could only ponder who and what he might be. We know from hindsight that the child Jesus grew up, became strong, was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was upon him. Jesus lived fully, graciously, and redemptively.
Believers beheld his glory, glory like the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth. Jesus as the Word existed with God from the beginning. And this Word had now taken up residence as a human being, closing the distance between God and creation.
The transformation of life that began with the babe of Bethlehem continues to this moment. We who believe in him and follow his way can become children of God, born not just of flesh but of God, and we too can heal, forgive, reconcile, and bring good news. The very name of Jesus, his story, and his presence still release divine power to make life new. John refers to this power as “grace upon grace.”
We on this journey of grace continue another season of waiting. We await the blessed hope and ultimate glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. Between now and then, let us live as though God has already done the saving. Let us live in grace and truth and be the presence of Jesus for everyone else so that grace upon grace will unfold.
“Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be. Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee.” Amen.
Ecstasy over the Christmas miracle is the theme that binds this week’s passages together—unrestrained joy over what God has done and over who God is. These texts celebrate a God who reigns in strength. Yet this God is near and immediate, a participant in the human struggle for light and salvation. As worshipers, we join in rejoicing over the coming of the messenger “who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’”(Isa. 52:7). We also celebrate “the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth . . . with righteousness, and . . . equity” (Ps. 98:9). Then the note of immediacy is struck by the focus on what God has done just now, in these “last days,” in which “he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb. 1:2). The One who was present at creation, the eter- nal Word, “became esh and lived among us” (John 1:14).
• Read Isaiah 9:2-7. What or who in your life helps you to continue to walk in the world’s darkness?
• Read Psalm 98. How do you discover hope even in the midst of dif cult times for the earth? How does this hope allow you to shout for joy and sing the Lord’s song?
• Hebrews 1:1-12. Advent reminds us of Jesus bridging the gap between God and humanity. How does this reality change the way you experience the world?
• John 1:1-14. Re ect on the incarnation of God in the form of a baby. In what ways does this in uence the way you see and understand God’s nature?
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