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Advent: Devotionals & Liturgies

Advent: Devotionals & Liturgies — The Sons of Christmas

December 7, 2019
|
preached by
Pastor Jon Needham

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

Scripture

Matthew 1:18-25

¹⁸ Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. ¹⁹ And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. ²⁰ But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. ²¹ She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” ²² All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

²³ “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). ²⁴ When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, ²⁵ but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Devotional

What does a righteous young man do when his fiancée simultaneously claims to be pregnant and a virgin? What would you do? Joseph, exhibiting incredible self-control and compassion, decides to leave Mary quietly. His response is commendable, to say the least. Only after a mysterious angelic appearance does Joseph change his mind and decide to stay with Mary. But why? It’s not out of compassion or sympathy that Joseph changes his mind. It’s because Joseph comes to realize just exactly what is happening and who this virgin’s child is.

Joseph is a son of David. David was given the promise of a future, forever king who would rule on his throne for all eternity (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Isaiah, adding mystery to the promise, prophesied that this coming forever king would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). This was the hope of all of Israel: the light of the world (John 1:4). And this is what the angel reminds Joseph of. The son his sweetheart is carrying is unlike any other son. His son is conceived of the Holy Spirit, breaking the broken and rebellious line of Adam’s wayward sons. His son won’t be another sinner who needs a Savior. His son is to be named Jesus because he will be the Savior sinners need. 

Joseph was a son of David. He adopted Jesus, the Son of God, as his own son. Jesus, the Son of God, was born, suffered, died, and rose again on the third day so that sinners like you and me might become the adopted sons of God. We are the sons that have been ransomed, rescued, and redeemed through the Son of God, the virgin-born boy. The Son has come to make us sons and daughters of God Most High. Because of Christmas, we can come to God as our Heavenly Father.

Liturgy

Blessed be our true comfort and forever King who adopted us as his children through Jesus Christ. Who has saved and forgiven us due to no redeeming qualities or efforts of our own.

Like Joseph, we often fail to respond to your call with faith. We are shackled by our narrow sense of your capabilities.

Forgive us for our inability to see your hand at work in our past, 
to feel your abundant mercy today, and to surrender our future to your hands. 
Instill within us gratitude for and faith in all of your work that we cannot see.

During the Advent season, many of us are acutely aware of the ways our earthly families fail us. They cause us pain, they are absent, they die.

The holiday season isn’t always candy canes and greenery:
The pain and sorrow of open wounds. 
Crushing expectations. 
Trauma and grief. 
Relationships that have caved in under the weight of sin.

Celebrating can feel hollow after the year’s losses: that empty chair seems so glaring and unavoidably obvious. The tears that fill our eyes blur the glow of the twinkle lights in our periphery. 

Through our blood-bought salvation, you have freed us from being defined by our suffering! Lord, take away the desire to seek comfort in numbing ourselves to simply go through the motions of the season. Instead, teach us to run to you for solace. Take away the dread of holiday obligations and replace it with a true yearning to rejoice!

Let us wake up and hear the good news: Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected to make sinners into sons. May it ring out louder than our pain, suffering, and disbelief. 

Being adopted by the perfect Father who unfailingly loves is better news than anything we could hope for. Better than snow on Christmas morning, better than finding the perfect tree, better than fancy frosting, better than all of the twinkle lights in the world. 

Lord, we beg that you reorder our hearts to cling to these truths, in this Advent season and in every other.

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!

Jon Needham is the lead pastor and founding pastor of Coram Deo Church. He and his wife live in Bremerton with their three kids. He loves spending time with his family and riding motorcycles.

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