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Advent Devotions

Read Matthew 1:18-25.
She will bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for
He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Today we jump back a few weeks before Mary and Joseph
brought Jesus to the temple for His presentation. We look at
Jesus' eighth day when He was circumcised and named. We
will speak of the significance of His circumcision in tomorrow's
devotion, but today we speak of the importance of His Name.
Does a name mean much to you? To the people of Israel and
to God a name was extremely important. Each name carried
its own meaning and became an integral part of that child's life,
often describing the character of that child. An Israelite boy's
name was very significant, and it was usually given on the
eighth day when he was circumcised.

So on the eighth day when the Christ Child was circumcised,
He was given the name Jesus, just as the angel had instructed
Joseph and Mary.

What a deep and profound Name! Jesus means "The LORD
saves." It describes the purpose for which He descended from
heaven and became human. As the angel told Joseph, Jesus
would save His people from their sins. His Name perfectly fits
who He was and that which He had come to do for us all. As
we close out the year 2014, it is fitting to look back on the last
365 days and take account of our lives. What great things has
God done for you or through you in this year? Give Him praise.

On the other hand, what regrets do you have? What problems
in your life are the still strong echoes of sinful and foolish
choices you have made? At the beginning of this coming New
Year we all want to wipe the slate clean and start 2015 with a
fresh start. But neither regret nor resolution can wipe our slate
clean. Only Jesus can do that.

This is why many churches open their doors this night to hold
New Year's Eve services -- often with Holy Communion. As we
receive the very same body and blood which Jesus took on
Himself at His conception, the same body which was laid in the
manger at His birth, the same blood which was poured out for us
on the cross, our sins are taken away, our slate is washed clean,
and we are at peace with God our Father. That peace is not only
for day one of 2015, but for every day that remains in this life and
for all eternity.


 Lord God, thank You for a clean slate, washed clean by the
blood of Jesus Christ. Renew us this New Year's Eve so that we
may dedicate the coming year to living for Your glory and sharing
the Name of Jesus throughout the world. We pray in His holy
Name. Amen.

(Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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