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Advent Readings: Day 20

For this Advent season we offer you a Bible reading for each day which points to the first coming of the Lord Jesus at Christmas and his return in glory!

Luke 2:1 - 20

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

A few comments

What is our greatest need? Our world is bleeding, starving, lonely and afraid. There are terrorist gunmen in coffee shops in Sydney, patients dying of Ebola in West Africa and sex slaves being trafficked for the Christmas party season in London. But all those human ailments are a symptom of our greatest problem – that we are cut off from God; that we are his enemies.

If our greatest need was leadership,
he would have sent a king or a president to govern us.
If our greatest need was knowledge,
he would have sent a teacher or philosopher to enlighten us.
If our greatest need was health,
he would have sent a doctor to heal us.
If our greatest need was wealth,
he would have sent a banker actually, that wouldn’t help us as once his bonus is
paid there wouldn’t be much left for the rest of us…

But our greatest need is salvation, so he came himself to die for us. That is why the sky burst open with the praise of angels that first Christmas – ‘do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you…’ God had come to deal with the disease and not just the symptoms. One day that same Jesus will come back. He will judge all wickedness and bring an end to everything that causes misery. Even death itself will be destroyed.

Point for Prayer

Confess to God the sins we commit that contribute to the suffering in this world and praise God that he has sent us the saviour we need.