December 1: Shocking Joy!
December 1, 2015
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am going to be sharing with you those Bible readings, and giving some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. Luke 1:26-28:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’In Luke’s gospel, the master historian and medical doctor Luke records all the facts with care. Like all good storytellers, he also has a taste for the dramatic. It was “in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy” that once again God is on the move. He sends an angel to give the most shocking news any young virgin could ever, and would ever, receive. She is highly favored. And the Lord is with her. This Christmas, would you reflect upon the the extraordinary truth of Emmanuel, God with us? That in Christ, God himself is with us! That as Mary was “highly favored” to play her extraordinary role in the drama of salvation that first Christmas, so we are now eternally assured of God’s loving presence in the midst of heartache, trouble, unexpected pregnancy, pain, disease. Mary was not famous. She was not powerful. She was by all the world’s standards insignificant. A forgotten person in the middle of a forgotten corner of a far flung empire. A people who had been in exile, recently returned, and were still under the power of a foreign regime. To say that she was “highly favored” was at least counter-intuitive, if not downright shocking! But to receive Christ this Christmas is to be part of this great high favor of having God himself with us. Reflect on the great Christmas carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” at the start of Advent:
O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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