Welcome to this Advent retreat. As we approach Christmas, we are once again entering a vibrant season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. At Christmas, we reflect on Jesus’ message to earth, we celebrate with loved ones, and we take time to rest before the start of a new year. This Christmas we will read through ancient Gospel stories, we will sing our favorite Christmas songs, and we will gather with friends and family to give and receive gifts.
I wonder how you feel as you approach this Christmas season? Maybe you are excited to spend time with your loved ones. It is possible that you are feeling spiritually tired. Or maybe you’re just hoping to get through what could have been an overwhelming season.
Christmas can be a time when we find ourselves simply going through the motions. Traditions can be too well known and stories can become too familiar. But the Christmas story is one that will impact us every year. It will remind us of the great gift of Jesus. It will light a fire in our hearts and breathe life into our bones. The Christmas story is one that can give real hope to our spiritual walk.
In this Advent devotional we will meditate on a passage from the Gospel of Luke. In this passage, an angel announces the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. It is a passage that can give hope to each of us and can help us to embrace this year’s Christmas story again.
“And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news, of great joy for all nations. For today in the City of David has born for you a Savior, the Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
It is estimated that 117 billion people have lived throughout human history. In these two short verses, however, we are introduced to someone who has undeniably impacted the world more than anyone else has ever lived. Because the angel here announced the birth of Jesus, saying that He would be a “Savior” that is, “Christ the Lord”. Luke revealed that this Savior was only a baby, but he declared that His coming to earth was so radical that it would change the entire world in which we live.
I don’t know about you, but I often skim these verses when reading through Christmas stories during the holiday season. They are verses that can become familiar and almost mundane. But the truth is that these verses contain the most dramatic claim anyone could dream of: that God Himself came to earth to reconcile with mankind.
The Bible contains all kinds of accounts of divine appearances. In the Old Testament, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. He appeared to Joshua in a pillar of cloud and He appeared to Israel in fire. However, the angel here announces that this time the Lord has come as a baby. Jesus, as the version of the Message of the Bible interprets John 1:14, “moved into the vicinity,” in the form of the most innocent and vulnerable being. He came to earth as a baby, to prove that His mission on earth was not to bring judgment but to impart grace and mercy.
This passage also reveals that the coming of Jesus is good news “for all”. This is the most shocking part of the angel’s message – that all people are endowed with the gift of grace that Jesus brings. You don’t have to be of a certain age, be from a certain country, have a certain level of education, or achieve a certain level of intelligence. This good news is for everyone! The invitation to reconciliation with God has been extended to everyone: that whoever believes in Christ will have eternal life.
Jesus, our Prince of Peace
The good news that the angel foretold is good news for you today. That is good news that promises you a relationship with God. And it is good news that promises an eternal peace that you can receive and embrace this Christmas season. Because Jesus is our “Prince of Peace”. He is the one who brings calm to our raging seas and restores our broken hearts.
As we read in Isaiah 9:6: “For us, a child is born, a son is given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Because we run away from God, He draws near to us. Because we lacked His glory, He came to sacrifice His own Son. And since we have gone our own way, He has come to bring eternal peace. The core of the Christmas message is that we are at peace with God. This is the best Christmas present we have ever received.
A Devotional Advent Of The Gospel
This Christmas, in the busy atmosphere of the holiday season and the joy of festivals, may we once again reflect on the miracle of Jesus’ coming to earth. May we know Jesus as our true Savior, and may we trust Him more deeply as our Savior. May we all meet Jesus again and receive a new revelation of who He is.
The big message of Christmas is that Jesus came to earth as the Prince of Peace. He is the One who brings peace to our lives. He is the One who promises us eternity free from sin, sickness, and pain. And He is the One who reminds you today of His great, unrelenting, and immeasurable love for you.
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Chad Madden’s photo on Unsplash
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