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 – Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)
Exaltation – May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! (Psalm 72:10)
There are those who reject the message of the incarnation, who celebrate the Christmas holiday without the belief that Jesus is God's promised Messiah. They fail to see the absolute absurdity of such a notion; for to keep Christmas is to witness to the birth of the One who saves us from our sins. We cannot have a "secular Christmas," for Christmas means more than warm feelings and good times with family. It is a celebration of the Son of God taking on flesh and manifesting himself to the world.
The incarnation of Christ led wise human hearts to seek out the One who came into the world as King, Priest, and Prophet. He is the perfect gift, who surrenders himself for the sins of humanity. As the rest of Psalm 72 tells us, Jesus is the Righteous One who rules from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth. He is the Just Deliverer who brings prosperity and gentle healing to his people. His power will call forth the rulers of the world who will come to offer homage and bring tribute. Such is the power of Christmas, the power of God's coming into the world.
One day, every knee will bow to the Messiah, when he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. One day every tongue will proclaim that Jesus is the Lord of all. What a joy and privilege it is for us who believe to follow the heavenly sign to the manger where we offer our hearts to the King. May our lives be a gift that truly honors our Savior as we celebrate the Light that has come down to earth at Christmas!
Prayer: God above, may I make an offering of my prayers, my works, my joys, and my sorrows, in praise to the One who deserves the tribute of my very life. May I lead others who are seeking salvation to your Son today…Amen!
Wisemen seeking, search the heavens,
Follow star to House of Bread,
Bowing low to new King rising,
At his feet their gifts they spread.