Bible Readings for December 24, 2017

We have arrived at the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the celebration of the birth of Jesus is at hand! What wondrous news! What great joy! Thanks be to God!

This assigned readings for this Sunday are: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, Psalm 89:1-5, 19-29, Romans 16:25-27, and Luke 1:26-38.

The First Reading, 2 Samuel 7:1-11, seems to be an unusual reading for the Advent season; in this reading kind David wants to build a house (temple) for the Lord. At first the prophet Nathan OKs David’s plan, but then Nathan heard from the Lord that David is not to build the house/temple, but that the Lord would build a “house” for David, establishing David’s “house” and kingdom forever. Of course, this is a prophecy of Jesus, to be fulfilled when Jesus takes on human flesh and is born of Mary (see the Gospel).
But there is another interesting insight into this Reading, notice that the Lord has been moving with His people in a tent, the tent made by Moses at Mt. Sinai hundreds of years before. Contemplate God moving and tenting with His people; a comforting thought: that God moves and “tents” or lives with us. In the Gospel of John, chapter 1, vs. 14, we are told that the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us; the Greek word translated as “dwelt” is the Greek word for “tented”, so John 1:14 could properly be translated that the Word became flesh (in Jesus) and tented among us, just as God reminded David that He was doing. Contemplate Jesus “dwelling/tenting” in human flesh and being among us.
Lord God, as we move through life we give You thanks and praise that You move with us, tenting with the people of God in the Old Testament, and tenting with us in Jesus in the New Testament. Keep before us the assurance that You are always with us. Amen.

The Psalm, 89:1-5, 19-29, is a psalm of praise to God because God is keeping His promise to king David to establish David’s throne forever. We join the psalmist in giving praise to God that in Jesus, God has kept His promises. Let us always trust God to keep His promises.
Heavenly Father, who could have imagined how You would fulfill You promises to David through Jesus? And yet, You fulfilled Your promises in ways that are even more glorious than we could imagine. We thank You that You keep Your promises, surprising us with Your blessings in Jesus. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading, Romans 16:25-27, is a doxology, a song of praise to God, because God is keeping His promises. Notice the emphasis on what God is doing to bring about His promises, that God will fulfill His promises, even to bringing us to the obedience of faith. For Paul, our life in Christ depends on God’s grace and mercy.
Lord God, we thank and praise You for Your grace and mercy, for keeping Your promises in and through Jesus. Enable us to grow in faith in Christ, knowing You are faithful. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Gospel, Luke 1:26-38, is one of the favorites as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth, it is the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary, the woman who would become the mother of our Lord. Notice Mary’s initial fear, and the words of comfort from Gabriel. Notice also Mary’s statement of the obvious: how could she become the mother of the Messiah, she was not married? And notice Gabriel’s response – for nothing will be impossible with God, and nothing is impossible with God; the Holy Spirit enabled Mary to conceive. Notice Mary’s closing words: Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Let us have the same attitude toward the Lord, let us remember that He is in charge, that we are servants, and let us follow His will.
Lord, thank You for the example of Mary’s faith and trust in You, that You would fulfill Your promises, not just to Mary, but to all humanity. Let us follow You as Mary did, trusting in Your power to accomplish all that You promise. Amen.


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