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    • After Me Comes the One

      As the season of Advent prepares us to celebrate Christmas, may these Scriptures and words of reflection prepare us to be transformed by Jesus as only he can.

      Monday – Micah 5.2,4-5. In the middle of a foreboding situation that would lead to Israel’s collapse before the Assyrians, Micah speaks a prophecy about a Messiah to be born in lowly Bethlehem. This shepherd-king would bring security and peace to the ends of the earth. Countless people over the last two millennia have put their hope in Jesus as this Anointed One. We now trust and await His return to rule!

      Tuesday – Psalm 123; Luke 1.38. Times of deep distress can often be blessings in disguise, can’t they? Are we receptive and open to allowing God to bring good from what seems like disaster? He promises to do so (see Romans 8.28). Reflect on a time where life brought you to a point of being totally dependent on God’s mercy. In such times, as we surrender ourselves to God, trusting in His merciful care, ready to do whatever He asks, we mirror the very posture of that teenage girl from long ago, the virgin Mary.

      Wednesday – Luke 1.34-38. To Mary’s honest confusion, the angel Gabriel offers an explanation of sorts, and someone to go to. Elizabeth, her older relative, now pregnant in old age, provides her with months of refuge and counsel. “Together they ponder the mysterious grace of God. How caring of God to give each to the other” (Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year). Whom has He woven into your life as a source of encouragement and care? Are you grateful for that person? Today, thank God and, if possible, that person.

      Thursday – Micah 6.8. We don’t know much about Joseph. Scripture tells us that Joseph was a righteous man, one who obeyed the angels’ instructions on multiple occasions. He respected and cared for Mary, his wife, who had shocked him with stunning development of divine proportion. Joseph went to extreme lengths to protect the baby from Herod’s death squads, and then later to teach young Jesus in the faith. A man who trusted God, Joseph risked life and reputation for the sake of his calling as father to this mysteriously wonderful child. May all fathers today desire to have those same attributes developed in them, under God’s guidance.

      Friday – Luke 1.25-26,29-30. Parents often keep a “memory book” of their child’s early months. Imagine if Mary had kept such a book for Jesus. Do you think she would have written about encountering Simeon? Simeon, looking at the infant in his very own arms, asking, “Could it be, after all these years? Lord, is he the One?” At long last, Simeon gets to bless the infant who would become The Blessing to all! Enjoy reflecting on this scene. Imagine the impact of this memory on Joseph and Mary.

      Saturday – Romans 16.25-27. Written a few decades following Jesus birth, Paul concludes his letter to Romans. His own life has been radically transformed by his own encounter with Jesus. Now, he praises God’s provision in Jesus, rather than persecuting those who follow Jesus. “As we imaginatively place ourselves on the verge of Christ’s birth, Paul’s doxology helps us recall the prophetic writings that preceded Jesus’ birth and to anticipate the profound glory and promise that proceeds from it.” (Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year)

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