Day 25: Jesus is Born!

christborn01“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

(Luke 2:6-7 ESV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:14-18 ESV)

The Offspring is born! The saviour is here.

Jesus the Son of God has been made flesh, he will crush the serpent’s head, he will redeem us, he will fight for us, he will suffer for us, his blood will save, he will betroth us and sing over us.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 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!”

(Luke 2:11-14 ESV)

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

(Luke 2:19-21 ESV)

The one we have been waiting for has been born. The offspring is here.

Now we rest in Him, because he is our hope and salvation, he is our Joy and our King.

Merry Christmas.

If you would like to catch up on the 25 Days Till Christmas advent series on this blog then just click here.

Day 24: Just before the Dawn

pontine“because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79 ESV)

The time just before dawn is one of the coldest and darkest. In this story we are at its darkest point but there is also hope too. As the prophecy above is said by Zachariah we see that a sunrise will happen and this sunrise comes from the tender mercy of our God.

At the point where the sun begins to pierce through the darkness, it begins to warm the earth up. If you listen closely you will be able to hear the birds begin to sing.

This sunrise will bring light to those who are in darkness, it will bring life to all those who sit in the valley of the shadow of death.

Jesus is the light of the world and he is the sunrise that warms our hearts. It may feel like the coldest part of the story – no place at the inn and death on their doorstep. It’s the part where we groan and sit in darkness but we also know that hope and light is coming.

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus who will be the light in the darkness.

*Painting by KOPISCH, August

Day 23: His Tender Mercy

2christt&magi3Zachariah Says:

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79 ESV)

We know that John will preach the Good News of Jesus and we know that Jesus will bring salvation. The cause of all of this is down to the character of our triune God. He is a God of love and he has tender mercy. This is a beautiful verse.

Not only does the Lord have mercy, but it is tender and his mercy is tender to those who are in darkness. His tender mercy is for the weak and the suffering, for all those who call on the name of the Lord for salvation.

This is a God who brings forgiveness and mercy. A God who sends his Son to earth to take on flesh and walk in our footsteps and die a death for us. He is a Son who calls out to the weak and helpless to come to him because his mercy is tender and will bind up their broken hearts and offer them comfort.

Spurgeon says:

“Like as a mother comforts her children, even so does the Lord comfort His people, and like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him. My Lord is as gracious in the manner of His mercy as in the matter of it. Glory be to His name! O sinner, come to the gentle Jesus and live”

Christmas is about the tender mercy of the Lord.

*Painting by ALTICHIERO da Zevio

Day 22: The Horn of Salvation

crowningOnce John the Baptist is born, Zachariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and begins to speak a prophecy, which is partly about his son John, but mostly its about the Son of God who will soon be born.

The hero here is Jesus:

 

 

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, (Luke 1:68-69 ESV)

The Son God will be a horn of salvation – salvation and redemption is coming to the people. Jesus will be from the house of David but Jesus will be the true king but crowned with thorns, the true saviour of the people of Israel. Just as David led his people, Jesus will lead his people out of slavery and into salvation.

He will fight for his people and he will redeem his people. Jesus is the true David and he is the horn of salvation for us.

As Spurgeon says:

“God made heaven and earth with His fingers, but He gave His Son with His heart in order that He might save sinners. The eternal God has thrown His whole soul into the business of redeeming men.”

Christmas is about Jesus bringing salvation and forgiveness

*Painting by Sir Anthony van Dyck (Crowning with Thorns)

Day 21: The Promised Seed

1resurr4The Angel Gabriel visits Mary and gives her good news:

“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33 ESV

Mary will conceive a son. The promise will be conceived and not through Joseph:

“And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. Luke 1:35 ESV

This promise will not come from Adam. He will not be like Cain or Seth or Isaac. The promise comes from the Holy spirit and he will be the Son of the Most High. The Son of God becomes flesh:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14 ESV

Here it starts. The promised seed begins to grow, forming and becoming flesh so that this seed may dwell among us. Only 9 months to wait. I wonder what Mary felt as this seed grew and formed inside of her?

She carried the chosen offspring, the one promised in Genesis 3, the lamb to take away the sin of the world and crush the serpent’s head. That must of been scary and exciting.

Christmas is about the promised seed growing, forming and then dwelling among us.

*Painting by Vecellio Tiziano

Day 20: The Way Prepared

04stjohnIn Luke chapter 1 we are preparing the way for the offspring to be born. The writer Luke has been gathering evidence about what he has seen and heard. He knows his scriptures and he begins to share the story of the one we have been waiting for, the one who breaks that silence.

But before we get to the offspring, we are told another baby is to be born. A baby who will prepare the way. This baby when he is grown up will herald good news and will point to the one who is Good News for all of us.

An Angel appears to Zechariah and declares:

 “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news”. Luke 1:19 ESV

This promised child, one who was promised in Malachi will:

” turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:14-17 ESV

John the Baptist prepares the way for the Lord, he prepares the people of Israel and speaks the good news to them, he speaks to them about Jesus and turns their hearts away from evil to make them ready for the Lord. John the Baptist is a preacher and evangelist, speaking of Christ and getting people to look at Christ.

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. “John 1:6-8 ESV

Christmas is about preparing the way to the Lord by preaching the good news of Jesus Christ.

*Painting by Hieronymus Bosch

Day 19: Silence

511friedBetween Malachi and the Gospel of Matthew we have silence. Advent is about waiting in the silence and waiting in the groaning. We hold our breath and we count the hours and days until the silence is broken.

We know the promises, we know what the offspring will be like and we long for him, we groan for him to come and crush the serpent’s head.

I wonder if it felt like heaven was silent? I wonder if in the thick darkness they kept their eyes fixed on the one that is to come, waiting to see the light pierce the darkness.

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. “(Amos 8:11)

I wonder if the cries of the people just echoed around and the earth groaned and ached. The silence must have felt deafening, a ringing silence that drips with promise and hope. A silence that can only be broken by the shrill cry or gurgle of a new-born. This new-born will shatter the silence into a million pieces and he will herald good news and the heavens will open up with a chorus and the whole earth shall rejoice. Trees will clap, the sky will thunder, the animals will leap with joy and the humans, the Adam born will breathe a sigh of relief with tears and joy.

He has come. He is here. The silence is over. The waiting is over.

Christmas is about the breaking of the silence by the cry of a baby.

*Painting by Caspar David Friedrich