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Advent: Devotionals & Liturgies

Advent: Devotionals & Liturgies — John’s Joy

December 17, 2019
|
preached by
Pastor Brandon Johnston

This post is part of a series of devotionals & liturgies written to help us anticipate the birth of Christ during the Advent season.

Scripture

Luke 1:39–45

³⁹ In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, ⁴⁰ and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. ⁴¹ And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, ⁴² and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! ⁴³ And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? ⁴⁴ For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. ⁴⁵ And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Devotional

Nativity scenes quickly remind us why we celebrate during this time of the year. We celebrate the birth of a baby—not just any baby, the blessed baby Jesus Christ. It’s easy to forget, though, that God moved in mighty ways through another baby: John the Baptist. 

Full of the Holy Spirit, John leaped in the womb at the sound of Mary’s voice—for Jesus had come and he was in her womb! 

For generations, God’s people eagerly awaited the coming of Christ, the promised Seed of Eve, the Son of David. 

From the womb, John leaps for joy. How does Elizabeth know the difference between kicking in the womb and leaping for joy?

It is the Spirit of God that is at work in her. 

John in the womb, full of the Spirit, was preparing the way for Jesus even as he leaps in utero. Elizabeth, being filled with the Spirit, declares a blessing over Jesus. 

She says to Mary: blessed are those that believe what the Lord has spoken. 

John’s joy is because Christ has come. 

The coming of God to be with man is the occasion for joy, and those who believe what God has spoken are blessed.

We are taught in very practical ways from an unborn baby the truths of Psalm 16:11: “in your presence there is fullness of joy.” The coming of Christ brings everlasting joy.

This Advent season, let your heart be full of joy because God has fulfilled what he has spoken through Jesus.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Liturgy

Oh God of hope, how wonderful that you are such an infinite and absolute ruler, and yet remain approachable to even the lowly. How truly incredible that when we come to worship at your feet, you don’t regard us as sinners but as sons and daughters! In fact, to praise you, we are not even required to be born.

You are so great and so endlessly magnificent that even babies in the womb can praise you and declare your greatness. Even an unborn heart can be drawn toward you. A tiny human with lungs not fully developed can proclaim your majesty and rejoice in your coming!

We confess that our depraved culture has forgotten this. Forgive us for our disordered views. 

Like John, let Christ’s arrival be our joy! If even an unborn child can leap for joy, how much more should we?

Fix our eyes on heaven, O Lord. For the joy we have here is only a hint of the glory to come.

Christmas Eve at Coram Deo

You are invited to join us on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 4, 5, or 6 pm for one of our candlelight services. Together, we will sing Christmas carols, hear the Christmas story proclaimed from God's Word, and, of course, light candles to remind each other of God's light shining into the darkness through the arrival of His son, Jesus Christ. Children are invited to join their parents for these family-friendly services and no child care will be provided. We hope to see you there!

Pastor Brandon leads Coram Deo's operations, community, and kids ministries. He and his wife live in Bremerton. He loves woodworking and spending time with friends and family.

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