[Today’s Advent devotional is written by one of our student ministry volunteers Sam Drew.]
Silence: Take a moment to get still and ask God to center your heart on him.
Scripture: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”
Devotional: Imagine what the shepherds experienced on the night of Jesus’ birth. There they are, minding their own business out in the pastures surrounding Bethlehem. It’s an ordinary night, a night just like every other night in their professional lives. Apart from some sheep occasionally bleating and the voices of the other shepherds chatting to kill time, it was a quiet, boring night.
And then there’s an explosion of sound and color. The night lights up and they hear the words that would change the world forever: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” And as dramatic as that moment was, what followed it was even more shocking. Luke 2 tells us that the sky was filled with angels singing praises to God. If one angel was enough to fill the shepherds with “great fear”, can you imagine what the sight of a “multitude of the heavenly host” singing at the top of their lungs did to them?
Surely, it was a moment that was seared into their minds forever. The sight of thousands of angels bursting forth to spontaneously shout praises to God doesn’t sound like something that is easily forgettable. And why were they treated to such a powerful display of praise? Because the Lord of the universe, the same God that shaped entire worlds with a word and crafted humans from dust, had decided to come to the very earth he made in the form of a tiny baby boy.
We hear the Christmas story so often, especially this time of year, that it is easy to forget the magnitude of just what the birth of Jesus means. It means that an infinite God chose to be contained in a finite, weak body. It means that a perfect deity was physically entering a broken world. And it means that we, people whose sin and rebellion had shattered our relationship with God, have hope for salvation.
Jesus came. Those two words are at the core of why we celebrate Christmas, and why we worship God. We don’t serve a God who is far off, or who left us to try to clean up our own messes. We have a God that enters our broken, nasty world to save people who could never save themselves. That is why the angels couldn’t contain their joy that night, and instead burst into praise. As the old song says, “Hark, the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn king’”. Let us echo that refrain this Christmas, and as we move into the new year. Glory to our newborn king and savior, Jesus Christ.
Question: Does the birth of Jesus get you excited? Does it stir your heart to praise God?
Action: Spend some time meditating on what it means that Jesus is the God who came. Thank him for being a God that is willing to engage in our broken lives.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you willingly left your throne in heaven to come and save us. Thank you that you aren’t a God that leaves us along, but rather a God who recognizes the depths of our brokenness and chooses to love us and dwell with us anyways. You deserve the praise of all the angels, and you deserve the praise of my heart. Help me to praise you throughout all the highs and lows of this coming year.