This short essay is taken from the devotional, The Incarnation and the Exultation: An Advent Devotional. This devotional reflects on the scriptures of incarnation and exaltation in order to take you on a journey of thoughtful self-reflection. It is meant to draw you more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s coming into the world to help you walk your own inner path toward the season of Christmas. As you celebrate the coming of Christ into your lives during Advent and spend time reflecting on the readings in this devotional, may the light and love that entered our world lead you to the cross in wonder and thanksgiving. May you find joy and discover strength as you walk this wondrous journey to Bethlehem, always holding within your heart the image of the Hill of Calvary and the hope of the Age to come when Christ will return to call his people home!
Thursday, First Week of Advent – Hoping in the Promises of God
Incarnation – On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of choice wines—of fat things full of marrow, of choice wines well refined. And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:6-8)
Exaltation – In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchiz'edek. (Hebrews 5:7-10)
Life is often difficult. Though struggles are inevitable, we still find them hard to accept. We want our way to be easy and safe. And when it is not, we rage against God and cry out, "Why me? Why Now?" But there is a danger in such thinking.
It is not wrong to want our lives to be at peace, but it is wrong to seek the kind of safe, secure, and trouble-free life that avoids pain at all cost. We cannot huddle with our possessions in our self-made fortresses and place all our hope in the here and now. When we tie ourselves to what is fleeting, we miss the hope that is ours in the Savior and turn away from the rugged road that leads to salvation. Jesus did not choose an easy life. Rather, he embraced suffering, not because he enjoyed it, but because he knew that he was being "trained" by it.
Christ did not shy away from the cross; and because of his sacrifice, we will one day enjoy the rich feast of our salvation on the Mountain of the Lord. Jesus had his eyes fixed on the purposes of his Father and he made the journey from the manger to the cross for us all. During Advent, we are called to reflect on this great truth and walk the road of expectation and hope, not trusting in our self-worth, our possessions, or our circumstances, but trusting in the promises of the One who made the journey to Golgotha in obedience and love – for us!
Prayer: Father, in the midst of my everyday circumstances, I offer up my joys and my sufferings as a fragrant gift to you. May the hope of Christmas guide my life, and through me, bring hope to others…Amen!
Suff’ring Servant, Our Messiah,
From the manger to the tree.
Source of reconciliation,
Wedding Feast and Victory!