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Advent 2018 Devotional—December 4

Advent 2018 Devotional—December 4

PRAY

“Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”(1 Samuel 3:10).

READ

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him, and without him not
one thing came into being. What has come into being in him
was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines
in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

I often grab my laptop or a book and head straight to the coffee shop to work. Yes, it’s work I could do in the solitude of my study, but I just enjoy being around people. Although I am an introvert and somewhat shy, I have this inclination for wanting to chat with strangers and watch other people drawn together. Sometimes I will turn from my computer or book just to watch the law of relational gravity pull people together. They talk about their kids, their work, their dreams and their pains. Often they just sit quietly in each other’s presence. People like to get together.

In the deepest part of ourselves we are longing for friendship, fellowship, companionship, romance and togetherness, all because God hardwired us that way. God who is Persons in relationship “Father, Son, Holy Spirit” created us in His image, wanting to be in relationship with others. We are people needing God. We are people needing people. We deny this only to our loss.

Note the eternal relationship spelled out in the opening lines of John’s Gospel: “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The curtain is drawn on the backstage of eternity to reveal that the Word was fully God, and yet the Word was “with” God. When the Gospel reveals, “the Word was with God”, it points to the intimacy of relationship of the Word “with” God the Father. It is important to know that the Greek word pros, translated here as “with”, denotes not just proximity, but interpersonal closeness and intimacy. Even in today’s English we speak of being “with” someone as support and intimacy. “I am ‘with’ you!”

New Testament Greek scholar A. T. Robertson says the Greek preposition pros (“with”), speaks of a “face to face” relationship of the Word with God. (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures of the New Testament) Theologian Marcus Dods says pros “implies not merely existence alongside but personal intercourse” the presence of one person with another.”(Marcus Dods, The Expositor’s Bible: The Gospel of St. John, Vol. 1) The Message translated pros as “the Word was present to God, God present to the Word.” God is not a loner, existing in eternal isolation, but He is love expressed, and ever self-giving! “As the Father is turned toward the Son in total openness, availability, vulnerability unto complete self-emptying, so the Son is turned in the same Love” to the Father.”(George Maloney, Entering into the Heart of Jesus)

So God is also turned toward us in love! He comes down to us as Emmanuel, “God-with-us”! He who was “with” the Father, “close to the Father’s heart“(John 1:18), takes us with Him to be close to the Father’s heart. He comes to make us nothing less than sons and daughters of God (John 1:12). What the Son of God is by nature we become by grace. Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection we have atonement, ‘at-one-ment’, with the Father. It is no wonder that the angels sang at Jesus’ birth the meaning of Jesus’ coming to be with us: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

God created us and hardwired us for intimate relationship with Him. Yes, our hearts are restless until we rest, rest close to His heart. Hear within the prompting of the Holy Spirit for you to turn to God the Father crying, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). Through God the Son and the Holy Spirit the Father brings you close to Himself! You have been brought into the eternal circle of the God who is love! Rejoice!

PONDER

  • From where does my desire for intimacy and relationship with others come?
  • What are my thoughts and feelings about Jesus making me to be “at-one” with God?

PALMS DOWN/PALMS UP

For a moment hold your PALMS DOWN in a symbolic gesture of letting go to God your worries for the day, the busyness of the season, and expectations of the way the holidays ought to be. Release all of these concerns to God.

Next, hold your PALMS UP as a symbolic gesture of receiving God’s gifts, provision, and guidance for today.

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