This short essay is taken from the book, 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!
Incarnation – For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Exaltation – “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Jesus came into the world to bring eternal life to all who would believe. He walked the sinless path of salvation and gave his life for fallen humanity so that all who would call on his name would be born from above. He lived in perfect submission to the Father’s will, obedient even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). He told his disciples, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6). He followed the narrow road from the manger to the cross so that we could be set free.
Salvation is our joyful journey along that same narrow road where we walk the path of righteousness with our Lord. What does that truly mean? Advent is a time when we are reminded that Jesus entered into this world as a helpless baby so he could grow to be a man, walk the rugged roads among his people, touch their lives, and speak the word of truth to them. Then, when the hour had come, Jesus laid down his life in perfect obedience to the Father’s will, opening the gates of heaven and leading the way for all of us to follow.
All our works cannot purchase our way into heaven. And yet, our Christian walk is a journey of faith living itself out in love. All our actions on behalf of the Gospel are part of God’s perfect plan for our lives. In Christ, our good works are grace-inspired and grace-enabled manifestations of love, allowing us to produce the fruit of our faith. The incarnation shows us the salvation that is ours and the calling we have been given to reach the world for Christ. It is a life-long love relationship with the One who left his throne in heaven to make his dwelling among men.
Prayer: Father God, you have blessed me with your Son who walks this journey of faith with me. May I live out my salvation in faith, hope, and love, so that all I say and do will be for the sake of Christ, my Savior and King…Amen!
Men rejoice for your salvation,
As our God breaks into time,
Fall before the child in worship,
Pure transcendent truth sublime