The opening words of Hebrews soar with Christological passion: “In the past God spoke through the prophets. . . . In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son” (ceb). And who could not hear these overtones in the Nicene Creed: “We believe in the one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, . . . begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.”
God gave God’s self, in the form of the Son, as a sacrifice to cleanse people of sin. God thereby set about saving and redeeming the world in the same way God created the world—through goodness, blessing, and love.
Jesus, unlike any angel, human, or other entity of God’s creating, is exactly like God from the beginning and is God’s fullness in human form. Jesus gave himself to God’s saving work so completely that he lived and loved fully, and he gave his life as the redeeming power of God’s love and grace. In the Son, God fully closed the gap between God and humanity.
In two days we will try to take into ourselves the reality of what God did through that one birth. A son is given. “In these final days” . . . would that we could place ourselves in the bliss and urgency of “the final days” when in Christ, God perfects the world and we become all that God ever dreamed we could be. Jesus’ birth affirms again that God believes in us and is never finished with us. In Jesus, God gave God’s whole being and took up residence with us. And God will reside with us as long as it takes for God’s sovereignty of love and grace to redeem all of creation.

“Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down; fix in us thy humble dwelling; all thy faithful mercies crown!” Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 1:1-14

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Lectionary Week
December 19–25, 2016
Scripture Overview

Ecstasy over the Christmas miracle is the theme that binds this week’s passages together—unrestrained joy over what God has done and over who God is. These texts celebrate a God who reigns in strength. Yet this God is near and immediate, a participant in the human struggle for light and salvation. As worshipers, we join in rejoicing over the coming of the messenger “who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’”(Isa. 52:7). We also celebrate “the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth . . . with righteousness, and . . . equity” (Ps. 98:9). Then the note of immediacy is struck by the focus on what God has done just now, in these “last days,” in which “he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb. 1:2). The One who was present at creation, the eter- nal Word, “became esh and lived among us” (John 1:14).

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 9:2-7. What or who in your life helps you to continue to walk in the world’s darkness?
• Read Psalm 98. How do you discover hope even in the midst of dif cult times for the earth? How does this hope allow you to shout for joy and sing the Lord’s song?
• Hebrews 1:1-12. Advent reminds us of Jesus bridging the gap between God and humanity. How does this reality change the way you experience the world?
• John 1:1-14. Re ect on the incarnation of God in the form of a baby. In what ways does this in uence the way you see and understand God’s nature?

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