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12/19/2016

FIRST WORDS

(Zechariah said) "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He
has visited and redeemed His people" (Luke 1:68).
Read Luke 1:67-70.
 
As a child I had no problem going to church Christmas Eve,
because I knew the presents wouldn't come before midnight.
My problem came Christmas morning, after opening our
presents and playing with them, then to have to go to church
again. Obviously, at that time presents were the biggest part
of Christmas to me.
 
Did Zechariah have that same problem? After all, he had
been silent nine months, and finally got his speech back. If
it was you, what is the first thing you would talk about?
Wouldn't it be your child -- the one you had waited and
prayed about for so long?
 
But Zechariah said nothing about his child; all he could talk
about was that other Child, who stayed in his household the
last three months -- the Baby still growing in Mary's womb.
Zechariah shared his wife's amazement at how God has
come to visit His people, and this visit is not the way an
angel appears and then leaves. Instead, God remains,
becoming one of us, ready to spend a lifetime living with us.
But there's even more to the story. Not only has the Christ
Child come to live with us, He has come to redeem or
ransom us -- to buy us back from our slavery to sin, death
and hell. Zechariah spoke of the ransom payment that still
lay more than 30 years in the future. It was then when
Jesus would be nailed to a cross, on a hill outside of
Jerusalem. It is there that He will give His life to free us from
God's wrath and the eternal punishment of hell that we
deserve.
 
THE PRAYER:
 
 Heavenly Father, Christmas is about far more than presents,
decorations and parties. It is about Your Son coming into our
world to buy us back with His own life, death and resurrection.
Fill my mouth with praise to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 
Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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