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12/20/2016

HIDDEN IN THE WRAPPINGS

(Zechariah said) "that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us" (Luke 1:71).
Read Luke 1:71-75.
 
Scattered among my Christmas memories are some dark
clouds. Several Christmases saw cancer and death stalking
our family. One year it hovered over my wife's father; several
years later it was my mother. That terrible enemy cast a
shadow over everything, attempting to swallow up our joy,
peace and light.
 
Of course, it doesn't take as formidable an enemy as death
to suck the joy out of Christmas. The nagging problems of
poor health, strained relationships, or financial struggles are
more than enough. That's why I love the third stanza of "It
Came upon the Midnight Clear."
 
"All you, beneath your heavy load, by care and guilt bent
low Who toil along a dreary way, with painful steps and slow:
Look up, for golden is the hour, come swiftly on the wing,
The Prince was born to bring you peace, of Him the angels
sing."
 
Zechariah carried that same thought as he praised God for
sending His Son to visit and redeem His people, "that we
should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all
who hate us."
 
The truth is we do have great and powerful enemies who are
out to get us. Satan tempted our first parents to sin. That sin
led to God's condemnation and resulted in death and hell.
But God did not abandon us to their heartless hands. He
sent His own all-powerful Son to rescue us.
 
Come back around for the Lenten devotions this coming
spring. Then you will see Zechariah's prophecy unfold, as
Jesus shows His great strength, against all of these bitter
enemies.
 
THE PRAYER:
 
Gracious Father, we are surrounded by powerful enemies
who would destroy us, but You sent Your Son to win our
salvation by His perfect life, innocent suffering and death
and powerful resurrection. Keep us safe in this faith until
His return. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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