Advent Devotion for December 22
Candle Lighter says: “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.”
Response: “Let all of God’s angels worship him.”
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 1:5-14
5 For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus:
“You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.”
God also said,
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son.”
6 And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said,
“Let all of God’s angels worship him.”
7 Regarding the angels, he says,
“He sends his angels like the winds,
his servants like flames of fire.”
8 But to the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
You rule with a scepter of justice.
9 You love justice and hate evil.
Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you,
pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”
10 He also says to the Son,
“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
11 They will perish, but you remain forever.
They will wear out like old clothing.
12 You will fold them up like a cloak
and discard them like old clothing.
But you are always the same;
you will live forever.”
13 And God never said to any of the angels,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”
14 Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.
SOME THOUGHTS: Once again, the richness of this passage is too much! The author of Hebrews, in writing to Jews who had become believers and were trying to figure how their Jewish faith related to Jesus, is establishing the preeminence and superiority of Jesus over every being, those seen and unseen, so he starts with the angels. In the Jewish mind, angels were the most exalted beings, though not worshiped. In verse five he contrasts Jesus' position with the Father to that of the angels. Jesus is His Son, the angels are not. It is important to note that Jesus did not become the Son at the exaltation for He was involved at the creation. The Son has always existed, though not always in human flesh—until the Incarnate birth. Virtually every verse in this Hebrews passage is a direct quote from some portion of the Old Testament. The author is putting together his argument on helping the Jews understand the position of Jesus in relation to Old Testament Jewish faith, by showing how Jesus is actually present in these passages, that is, they are talking about the Son. The fact that Moses said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him” carried great weight with the Jewish community for Moses was the greatest of the Old Testament characters. He was the one who talked with God directly and received the Law. In addition, the Father asked His Son to sit at his right hand, a position reserved for the Son of God alone. In the rest of the book, the writer goes on to show Jesus as superior to Moses (Prophets), superior to the priesthood, and His ministry superior to the old covenant. In everyway, Jesus is the preeminent Prophet, Priest, and King. As we have said before, do not be shortsighted in thinking Christmas is simply about the birth of a special baby born in Bethlehem. The nativity is not a birthday party for Jesus! Please put it in context and try to grasp the impossible. The Creator of all that is seen and unseen, all that has existed or ever will exist, One who has never not existed and will never die, has condescended (that word is so inadequate), to take on human flesh and be born into a sinful world to bring a costly redemption to that world out of love for people, many of whom reject His love. But because of this incomprehensible love, He makes it possible for the whole created order to be redeemed and live in fellowship with God forever. No, it’s not about a birthday party!
MUSIC: O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen (This is as beautiful as it gets!) (YouTube)
TRANSLATION: O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
our Savior, Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Thou Great I AM, fill my mind with elevation and grandeur at the thought of a Being with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, a mighty God who, amidst the lapse of worlds, and the revolutions of empires, feels no variableness, but is glorious in immortality. May I rejoice that, while men die, the Lord lives; that, while all creatures are broken reeds, empty cisterns, fading flowers, withering grass, He is the rock of ages, the fountain of living waters. Turn my heart from vanity, from dissatisfactions, from uncertainties of the present state, to an eternal interest in Christ. Let me remember that life is short and unforeseen, and is only an opportunity for usefulness; give me a holy avarice to redeem the time, to awake at every call to charity and piety, so that I may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, reclaim the vicious, forgive the offender, diffuse the gospel, show neighborly love to all. Let me live a life of self-distrust, dependence on thyself, mortification, crucifixion, prayer.
—from The Valley of Vision, p.104