This series of Advent readings was prepared by Rev. Donny Friederichsen and originally appeared as reflections in 2018. They are being republished now with slight editorial modifications.
Dec 18 – The Fourth Sunday in Advent
Read Matthew 1:18-2:6
Can you imagine what Joseph thought? First he discovers that Mary is pregnant. Then an angel visits him and relays this unbelievable message. This child is from the Holy Spirit and he will be named Jesus, which means the LORD saves. This child is the fulfillment of the Immanuel prophecy in Isaiah. Micah’s prophecy would also be fulfilled in this child. “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” This was incredible news! May this incredible news resonate in our ears and reverberate down into our hearts this week.
Dec 19 – Bethlehem
Read Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1-7
From long ago God had planned for a Savior to come and crush the head of the serpent. He would come from on high and stoop down low. And from this lowly place he would lift up the humble. From a simple backwoods’ town, God brought forth the King of the Universe. Bethlehem means “house of bread.” In a common stable in this little village, the Bread of Life was born. God’s good plan to redeem his people unfolds exactly as he has ordained, and that gives us confidence in our own humble circumstances.
Dec 20 – The Birth of Jesus
Read Luke 2:1-7; John 3:16-17
On Christmas day we give gifts to those we love. God so loved you that he gave a gift so precious and so valuable. His generosity is astounding and overwhelming. It floods into our lives and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. At just the right time and in just the right way, God gave us his Son that we might not die but have eternal life. The world often tries to hide the significance of this day, but the lights, the gifts, the celebration, and the joy all remind us to look back to that first Advent with awe and wonder. May God fill our hearts with the love of Christ this Christmas.
Dec 21 – The True Son of God
Read Matthew 2:13-15
Who is this child born to Mary and Joseph? Herod clearly saw him as a threat. While Herod was thinking about political things, however, God was revealing that Jesus is the hope and fulfillment of the prophets’ message of old. Indeed, even in this prophetic fulfillment that might appear to be a stretch, Jesus shows us that he is the true son of God of whom the Law and the Prophets testify. May we listen to him as he leads us with his true voice.
Dec 22 – A Faithful High Priest
Read Hebrews 2:14-18
In this Christmas season, it is far too easy to forget that the baby Jesus we see in all those nativity sets was an actual baby, flesh and blood. Hebrews, however, wants to always remind us that our savior who was born on Christmas day actually partook of flesh and blood. He didn’t seem to be human, but actually took on humanity so that we might be the perfect and faith high priest that we need to be saved from our sins.
Dec 23 – The Exalted King
Read Psalm 110
This psalm is quoted by Jesus and the New Testament authors. In it, the son of David is revealed to be greater than David. Not only is he David’s Lord, but he is also a priestly king after the order of Melchizedek. He is, then, an eternal priestly king, who sits at the right hand of the Father, ruling us and subduing our enemies. Though his glory was harder to see in that manger, he has always been our exalted King. Let us worship him!
Dec 24 – The Next Advent
Read Revelation 22:16-21
It isn’t over yet. The term Advent means “coming.” Jesus came on Christmas, but he has promised another coming as well. Therefore, we live between the Advents. In his first Advent, he lived the holy life we do not live and died the death we deserve so that we could enter into his Kingdom. In his second Advent, he will consummate his Kingdom, in which every tear is wiped away and death will be no more. As we celebrate Christ’s first Advent, we also look forward with longing eyes to the next. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”