Advent Devotion for December 26
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “I will make him my firstborn son.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 89:26-29
26 And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
27 I will make him my firstborn son,
the mightiest king on earth.
28 I will love him and be kind to him forever;
my covenant with him will never end.
29 I will preserve an heir for him;
his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.
SCRIPTURE: Colossians 1:15-20
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
SOME THOUGHTS: I once had a conversation with a Jehovah Witness and the phrase, “firstborn son,” came up. To my surprise, I was told that Jesus was actually the angel, Michael, until he was humanly born as Jesus, a son of God. He was not God and not to be worshiped. He became the Messiah at his baptism. We then had a discussion as to context and the meaning of the translated word “firstborn” which does not refer, in this context to birth order at all, as is clear from the Colossians passage. King David was Israel’s greatest king, the “man after God’s own heart.” David secured the borders, accumulated great wealth and a powerful army. His latter years were in relative peace as were the years of his son, Solomon’s rule. David was the world’s greatest poet, warrior, musician. He was the preeminent one, the firstborn, the world’s mightiest king. Firstborn does not mean created, it is a title. The psalmist is writing about David and prophetically, about the eternal covenant God made with David that one of his heirs would occupy the throne as endless as the days of heaven. Jesus is that heir. The apostle Paul writes with great specificity in this hymnic passage in Colossians. Many scholars believe these words could be the text of an early Christian hymn. This creedal statement leaves no doubt as to the deity of Christ, his eternal existence, his role in the godhead, and on and on. This is a passage to read, re-read, and re-read again. The birth of Jesus is about the Incarnation. The eternal God, who has never not existed and will never not exist, almost incomprehensibly came to our planet, was miraculously conceived, took on human flesh, was born in the normal manner, lived his early years as a carpenter, and after a few short years in public ministry, was killed, defeated death, ascended into heaven, and will return again to earth to set up his heavenly kingdom and rule forever. There were humans who touched, talked, interacted, asked questions, ate with, and argued with God! The Incarnation, the Great Exchange, makes our God very real and very alive today. He is the pre-eminent One, the firstborn of all creation.
- “A Spotless Rose” by Herbert Howells, Washington Chamber Choir (YouTube)
- “A Spotless Rose” by Paul Mealor (YouTube)
The radiance of the Father’s splendor, the Father’s visible image, Jesus Christ our God, peerless among counselors, Prince of Peace, Father of the world to come, the model after which Adam was formed, for our sakes became like a slave: in the womb of Mary the virgin, without assistance from any man, he took flesh.…
Enable us, Lord, to reach the end of this luminous feast in peace, forsaking all idle words, acting virtuously, shunning our passions, and raising ourselves above the things of this world.
Bless your church, which you brought into being long ago and attached to yourself through your own life-giving blood. Help all orthodox pastors, heads of churches, and doctors [theologians].
Bless your servants who’s trust is all in you; bless all Christian souls, the sick, those tormented by evil spirits, and those who have asked us to pray for them.
Show yourself as merciful as you are rich in grace; save and preserve us; enable us to obtain those good things to come, which will never know an end.
May we celebrate your glorious birth, and the Father, who sent you to redeem us, and your Spirit, the Giver of life, now and forever, age after age. Amen.
- a Syriac Christmas liturgy, late third or early fourth century (more)