Advent Devotion for December 20
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “Therefore God, your God, has anointed you.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 45:1-7
1 Beautiful words stir my heart.
I will recite a lovely poem about the king,
for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.
2 You are the most handsome of all.
Gracious words stream from your lips.
God himself has blessed you forever.
3 Put on your sword, O mighty warrior!
You are so glorious, so majestic!
4 In your majesty, ride out to victory,
defending truth, humility, and justice.
Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds!
5 Your arrows are sharp, piercing your enemies’ hearts.
The nations fall beneath your feet.
6 Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
You rule with a scepter of justice.
7 You love justice and hate evil.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you,
pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:9-14
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
SOME THOUGHTS: In this passage from the psalm, a descendant of Korah (his family were gatekeepers at the Temple and therefore in the midst of all the conversations and transactions) wrote these words. They are high words of praise for the king and words that echo praise to the Lord’s anointed. The phrase “God himself has blessed you forever” is indicative of an eternal kingship. In addition, he is describing the ultimate victory of the King of kings over all nations. When Samuel anointed David, king, it was at God’s directive. God chose the line of David as the genealogy of his Son, Jesus. As we have mentioned previously, the anointing with oil both of priest and king is tremendously significant. What is represented in this act is that of God bestowing his blessing on this specific individual. God chose David to be king. The “Anointed One” in English is Messiah, in Hebrew, it is “mashiakh.” In Greek, it is “Christos.” Every time we say, Jesus Christ, we are making a powerful theological statement, “Jesus”=”God is salvation” Christ=”the Anointed One.” Put together, “the Anointed One, God, is salvation.” As the gospel moved from a more Jewish context to the Gentile Christianity, the word “Christos,” moved more from a title, to a name, hence, Jesus Christ. Notice in the Lukan passage, that at the first announcement of the birth of the Savior, the angels proclaimed that this baby was indeed the anointed Savior, the Messiah. No one had to interpret anything! God sent the heavenly host to sing loud and clear, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” The angels of heaven mirrored the sons of Korah as the gatekeepers of heaven proclaimed the same news concerning the King of kings! Look for an opportunity today to be a “gatekeeper” and pass the Good News along! People have been doing it for centuries.
MUSIC: “Angels We Have Heard on High” Home Free (YouTube) - don’t miss this!!
PRAYER: Gracious God and Father of all, the morning light breaks forth in a new day, a day that has never been. The sky proclaims the glory of God. The firmament forms the palette for the heavenly Artist who paint colors that cannot be reproduced. The birds sing songs from another musical world. The day shimmers and glows for those who notice. Forbid it Lord, that of all Thy creation, humans, made in the image of God, should be silent. So, our Creator, we offer our words of adoration, “Glory to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, peace on earth, and goodwill to men and women and children, young and old.” Amen. — Daniel Sharp