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Advent 2018 Devotional – December 22

Advent 2018 Devotional – December 22

PRAY

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

READ

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have
seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace
and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was
he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead
of me because he was before me.'”) From his fullness we
have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given
through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is
close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

John 1:14-18

Anyone who knows me knows I like to talk about my father. He died many years ago, but I think of him often and enjoy telling people about him. He was a good man and a good father. I wish you could have known my dad. I so loved him, still do.

Read John’s Gospel and you will see that Jesus loves His Father. In fact, He came to the world so that people would come to know His Father and love Him too (John 17:1-5). Jesus wants to wipe away any wrong thoughts about His Father, about what He is like. Jesus is concerned for His Father’s name and reputation in the world. He wants us to experience the Father’s love as He experiences it. Jesus “is the Son of God sent to this world of ours by His Heavenly Father to reveal to us what He experiences from all eternity in His intimate life with the Father.” (George Maloney, Entering into the Heart of Jesus) Jesus knows the joy of life close to His Father’s heart!

In a world wanting to know what God is like, we look at Jesus. We see Jesus welcoming and eating with sinners, and we see the Father. We see a dying Jesus asking God to forgive His tormenters, and we see the Father. Jesus reveals an infinite, unfathomable God who could not otherwise be known.

We behold the Father’s face in the face of Jesus. The ragamuffin shepherds, pagan magi from the East, and hard-bitten sinners so loved by Jesus made known the Father’s love for all. Prolific writer and theologian, George MacDonald, observed: “Jesus seems to say to me: ‘I know your Father, for he is my Father. I know him because I have been with him from eternity. You do not know him. I have come to tell you that as I am, such is he.’” (George MacDonald, Your Life in Christ, ed. Michael Phillips) Jesus “has made him known.

For us to begin to know the Father as Jesus knows Him will take an eternity! The greatest saints have agreed that to plumb the bottomless love of God will take us that long (Ephesians 3:19-20). That’s why church father and theologian Gregory of Nyssa wrote about the “eternal progress” of believers. Throughout eternity God will satisfy us with His goodness and beauty, leaving us longing for yet more. We will eternally “progress” into God’s likeness, from one stage of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). Gregory of Nyssa explains:

“The true sight of God consists in this, that the one who looks up to God never ceases in that desire… Thus, no limit would interrupt growth in the ascent to God… He learns from what is said that the Divine is by its very nature infinite, enclosed by no boundary.” (Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses)

C. S. Lewis praised Thomas Traherne’s book, Centuries of Meditations, as “almost the most beautiful book in English.” Letters of C. S. Lewis, ed. W. H. Lewis) Traherne writes of God’s infinite love revealed in Jesus:

You were created to be His love, and His is yours. He is happy in you, when you are happy… For love greatly delighteth in seeing its object seated in its highest happiness…Love is deeper than at first be thought. It never ceaseth but in endless things. It ever multiplies. Its benefits and its designs are always infinite.” (Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations)

Jesus came because He wanted us to know the Father. Yet, there will always be more and more of our Father’s goodness and love to know. Lord Jesus, reveal the Father’s glory to us!

PONDER

    • How do I see the Father in the face of Jesus?
    • What do I want to say to the Father about loving me as He loves His Son Jesus?

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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