Advent Week 4: A Savior Is Born

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Advent devotional readings from Christianity Today.

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Sunday: Lying in a Feeding Trough

Today’s Reading: Luke 2:8–20

The fullness of time had come. For thousands upon thousands of years, God’s people waited for the coming of the greater son of David, the Messiah-King of Israel. The promised Prince of Peace. And now, their prophets’ wildest, God-wrought dreams finally materialized as angel choirs announced, The King is here! Born this very day.

In the Messiah’s arrival, we marvel at—but expect—an angel of the Lord to proclaim it. We gape at—but expect—a whole army of angels to burst into praise. We might even expect this proclamation to ring through royal halls or in the temple—anywhere other than some obscure field near Bethlehem … to shepherds.

Their garments’ animal stench, their ignoble social position, and the dirt lodged beneath their fingernails didn’t disqualify these shepherds from receiving the word of the Lord. After all, this good news of great joy was for “all the people” (Luke 2:10) and, we read later, especially for “the poor” (4:18).

And what did the angel say would be the sign of this exceedingly good news? Look for Messiah’s poverty: He’ll be lying in a manger. A feeding trough. He’ll smell like you, blessed shepherds. In humble circumstances. Pushed to the margins. Indeed, “blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (6:20).

And blessed are we too when, like the shepherds, we receive this good news and hurry to meet Jesus for ourselves. Isn’t that how we began with Christ? We didn’t understand all he is, all he’s done, …

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