We have waited long;
Waited in Hope,

We celebrate Light,
God’s arrival,
the Nativity.

And still we pray:
Come, Jesus, Come!

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In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

Luke 2:1-7

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I love that the story of Jesus’ birth is so “earthy.” Eugene Peterson translates John 1:14 like this: “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” God moved to our world! Jesus was born in one of our villages, in one of our stables, placed in one of our feed troughs, born of a woman right here on earth! It still takes my breath away.

The Son of God who was all-powerful, eternal, and limitless became limited in space and time — still fully divine, but also fully human. When Jesus was born he looked like any other human, unable to feed himself, little hands not quite able to grasp, totally dependent on his parents for every necessity of life.

Why is that important? Because Jesus our Lord and Savior knows everything that you have experienced, has felt what you have felt. Our God is very near to you, right here, right now. The Word (Jesus) became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. Or should I say, your neighborhood?

David Loleng

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Ever-present God, may the wonder and amazement of Jesus’ birth take my breath away again and again. Help me to know that even when I feel alone or misunderstood, you are with me. You know my thoughts and actions and emotions, and still you care deeply for me. Through Christ my Lord, I pray, amen.

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“Could it be true, this Bethlehem story of a Creator descending to be born on one small planet? If so, it is a story like no other. Never again need we wonder whether what happens on this dirty little tennis ball of a planet matters to the rest of the universe. Little wonder a choir of angels broke out in spontaneous song, disturbing not only a few shepherds but the entire universe.”

Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, 2002

Jesus’ coming has changed everything. Because of Jesus we are transformed. As changed people we are called to join with Jesus Christ in the transformation of lives, families, communities, and the world.

Go now into your world; go in Christ Jesus!

David Loleng

Rev. David Loleng is the National Associate for Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Presbyterian Mission Agency. He has more than 20 years of ministry experience in Presbyterian churches in California. He is married and has two young children. His hobbies include book collecting and taking long walks… to the refrigerator.

Advent Waiting: Infant Holy/Away In A Manger

David Burroughs

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