Thursday, December 24

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:22–23)

            As we reflect over Matthew 1-2 today, on the day before we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s look over these four weeks.

            Daniel Doriani helpfully describes for us each of the four parts of these chapters. In the genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17 we learned about the identity of Jesus. His résumé, from Abraham to his father Joseph, helps us to see the family line God preserved and maintained that led us to the one and only Son of God, who became a man for us and our salvation.

            In Matthew 1:18-25, the birth of Jesus is described from the perspective of Joseph. Through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, God himself was incarnated or made comprehensible with human, bodily form. God became a man to be Immanuel, God with us. God became like us so that we could become like him, a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

            Matthew 2:1-12 tells us of the adoration of Jesus. People, foreigners who probably had no previous knowledge of a Messiah, traveled hundreds of miles, following a star. They remembered a prophecy, they saw it displayed in the sky, and they followed the light in hopes of seeing a king. They were completely overjoyed when they arrived, so much so that they fell on their knees and adored Jesus in worship and through gifts.

            Finally, we saw in Matthew 2:13-23 the protection of Jesus. God’s plan for a Savior would not be thwarted through the acts of a king who hated God, just as all do who live in darkness. God saved his Son so that his Son could save his people – you and me.

            Charles Wesley, the great hymnwriter, wrote words better than I could write to describe this Love Divine, All Loves Excelling. Let me finish with a quote from that hymn:

Love Divine, all love excelling,
  Joy of heav’n, to earth come down;
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
  All Thy faithful mercies crown…

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
  Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation
  Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory
  Till with Thee we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
  Lost in wonder, love and praise.

Tomorrow, I encourage to you to read Luke 2:1-20 as your Christmas Day devotional. Remember and celebrate tomorrow Christ’s first coming and joyously anticipate his second coming!

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