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12.23  Advent Devotional

Go, Tell it on the Mountain

Refrain:
Go, tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born!

While shepherds kept their watching
o’er silent flocks by night,
behold, throughout the heavens
there shone a holy light. (Refrain)

Scripture - Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”  which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Devotion - God Became Human

Take a moment and really think about this.  I mean, stop decorating, stop watching holiday classics on the Hallmark Channel, stop planning your socially distant Christmas block party, and think about this for a good minute:  God became human.  Wait, what was that?  I couldn’t hear you above Mariah Carey singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” on Spotify.  I said, 

 

GOD…BECAME…HUMAN.  

 

Huh….?  He did what?  He became human!  That’s what this verse, only 18 verses into the New Testament, tells us: God… became a baby!  We know what happens next, but think long and hard about this first event.  This is the foundation of what we as Christians believe.  Think about it.  Joseph finds out his fiancé is pregnant, wants to divorce her, but decides against it after a dream angel tells him it’s ok, because the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Whaaaat???  We believe that?  We believe that Mary was a virgin and yet was also pregnant with a baby, somehow put there by the Holy Spirit, a baby who was somehow (and this is where it gets really bizarre) fully human BUT ALSO fully God?  Yes, yes, yes.  That is what Matthew tells us…and that is what we as Christians believe.  It’s absolutely beautiful.  A baby who was God AND human.  A baby who was conceived by a miracle.  A baby whose only purpose was to grow up, teach us how to live with each other, and be sacrificed for all of humanity.  A baby whose birth changed the world forever.  That is Christmas!  Thanks be to God!

 

Dan Vig

Jesu Bambino, performed by Dorothy Cowan and Martha Chapman, composed by Pietro Yon

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Many of us find that an intentional practice is important as part of our Advent reflections and you may want to consider this one. The Hunger Action Team suggests you set aside one food item or a small amount of money each day to stock the Food Pantry at North Raleigh Ministries. Click here for more information.