Monday, December 24, 2012

A Prayer for Christmas Eve - Scotty Smith

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A Prayer for Christmas Eve
     In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So 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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and 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. Luke 2:1–7
     Dear Lord Jesus, on our calendars, it’s Christmas Eve—the date we’ve set aside to remember and reflect upon your nativity. Luke took much care to fix your birthday in the context of real history and a real world, but whether or not you were born anywhere close to December 25 is irrelevant. That you were born—that you actually came from eternity into time and space—that’s what’s important.
     Promises of redemption and restoration, we’re backed up behind the dam of God’s providential timing, awaiting the day of your arrival; that the cascading waters of salvation might be released and overwhelm us with mercy upon mercy, grace upon grace, love upon love…
     Because you have come, Lord Jesus, we have come alive. Because you were born, we have been born from above. Because of your nativity, we will live in eternity. How can we keep from singing! “Born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”
     But for all the care Luke took to detail the circumstances of your birthday, it’s the quietness of your birth which astounds us. Any other king would’ve come with great fanfare and a royal entourage. But you came into our world in utter stillness and profound humility. “No room in the inn” wasn’t an insult to you. It was your choice, your plan, the way of the gospel.
     For you didn’t consider your equality with God something to be selfishly hoarded. Rather, you made yourself “nothing,” taking the very nature of a human servant—the “Servant of the Lord.” From cradle to cross, you showed yourself to be a most wonderful, merciful Savior—living in our place and dying in our place…
    “Mild he lays his glory by; veiled in flesh, the Godhead see; Hail, the incarnate Deity, pleased, as man, with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
     Of all people, we are the most beloved, Lord Jesus, most enriched, most to be envied—the people upon whom God’s favor abides forever, all because of what you have done for us. Hallelujah, many times over, Lord Jesus. So very Amen we pray, in your great and gracious name.

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