Advent Thoughts

Monday, December 13
Matthew 1:22-23

Each of the gospel writers has a specific purpose or emphasis, and these verses–inserted between the angel’s message and Joseph’s response–are among the first to highlight Matthew’s intent: to prove that Jesus Christ is Israel’s long-awaited and promised Messiah.

When the angel appeared to Joseph, the message contained several important points: Joseph need not fear accepting Mary into his home, the conception was not of man but of the Holy Spirit, Mary will have a baby boy, Joseph is to name the child Jesus, and Jesus will be the Savior. But then Matthew confirms to his readers that all this is to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 7:14).

This doesn’t astound us as it should, as it did to first-century Christians. God will break into centuries of separation between people and himself. No longer need God-followers travel to a tent or temple. No longer will they wait outside to hear from God–as they did during Zechariah’s service–but God will somehow mysteriously be WITH them.

God is not a philosophy or concept though we sometimes reduce him to that. He is not an untouchable “being.” Not an idea to be discussed. Not untouched by my joy, sorrow, care, celebration. The words in John 1:14 are a theological foundation for us. The Word (Christ) became flesh and and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father… (Amplified Version). But Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase stops me in my tracks. The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.

It’s time to stop for a few minutes. How can you best see Jesus with you? Place a chair nearby, close your eyes, remove all distractions, ask God’s Spirit to help you see Jesus in that chair. What difference would it make if this practice became a daily habit? Try it for the remaining days of Advent!

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