Advent Devotion for January 1
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant.”
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 17:9-13
9 Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. 10 This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. 11 You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. 13 All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:21-24
21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the Law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
SOME THOUGHTS: Mary and Joseph were given great responsibility in the raising of God’s Son. Talk about pressure! You have to wonder if he ever did anything wrong! Moreover, we see at every significant point, they were up to the task. It was Jewish law, as you just read, that on the eighth day after the birth of a boy child, he was to be circumcised and given his formal name. It is interesting that Mary was told she would become pregnant and bare the Son of God. But it was in Joseph’s dream that the angel told him the child’s name would be Jesus, meaning “God saves his people.” In Jewish culture, the naming carries great weight, as the meaning of the name is a reminder of the character and mission of the child. Naming a Jewish baby is not only a statement of what it is hoped he or she will be, but also where the child comes from. You can begin to see the significance of Jesus’ name. Could there be a better name for our Savior?
In addition, the circumcision of the male was an outward sign of the covenant made with Abraham. Mary and Joseph followed Jewish law at every point. Their son, Jesus, fulfilled every aspect of the law and the prophets. What does your name mean?
MUSIC: “At the Name of Jesus”
First Congregational Church Choir, Los Angeles (YouTube)
PRAYER: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' Amen.