Pause

If you have ever spent time around an infant, you know that they are completely helpless. Besides breathing and crying, they need assistance to do practically anything else.

And yet the Creator of all, God Almighty, enters the world in this way — vulnerable, dependent, and helpless. It’s in this kind of vulnerability that we understand the love and nature of God.

Take a moment to consider how this little baby changes your life, how baby Jesus changes everything.

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Listen

O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.

Say among the nations, “The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.” Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.

Psalm 96

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Think

The psalms are basically song lyrics. These particular lyrics sing the majesty and splendor of God. We’re urged to rejoice because our God is most powerful, creator of the universe, revered before all, and the righteous judge of the world.

And yet, when we look at our calendar, we know that in just a few days we’ll celebrate the birth of Jesus, who came in a scene that looks nothing like the majestic, triumphant picture that the psalm describes. Jesus, the Almighty, will arrive by a teenage mom and a… let’s say… “step dad” in a smelly barn and in relative secrecy. What does this mean?

Perhaps it means that even while we celebrate God’s power and, well, AWESOMENESS, we also have to recognize that sometimes, maybe lots of times, God chooses to act in subtle, unusual, and unexpected ways. And if that’s true, maybe God will continue to use more unexpected and unqualified people — even us — to do powerful and amazing things in the world today.

Bill Buchanan

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Pray

God, I open myself to your purposes. Use me in subtle and obvious ways, in mundane and in unusual ways, so that your will would be done. Amen.

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Go

Now go out into the world knowing that God goes before you, walks beside you, stands behind you, and is at work within you, empowering you to make a difference in the world.

Bill Buchanan

Bill Buchanan is an ordained pastor, Christian educator, and the Executive Director of Asheville Youth Mission and Raleigh Youth Mission. He lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina and loves being a dad to his two teenage kids.

Advent: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Mark Hayes

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