“Emmanuel” Christmas Devotional

Alexis WaidBlog

Christmas, Christian, Devotion
Alexis Waid
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Alexis Waid

Alexis has a Master's degree from Denver Seminary and a Bachelor's degree from Colorado Christian University. She has been in professional ministry for over 15 years. She has served in ministry positions such as co-pastor, youth minister, and spiritual director.
She is a mom, wife, and passionate believer that Jesus changes everything.
Alexis Waid
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December 12

Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) Chris Tomlin

What hope we hold this starlit night

A King is born in Bethlehem

Our journey long, we seek the light

That leads to the hallowed manger ground

What fear we felt in the silent age

Four-hundred years can He be found

But broken by a baby’s cry

Rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel

God incarnate, here to dwell

Emmanuel, Emmanuel

Praise His name Emmanuel

The son of God, here born to bleed

A crown of thorns would pierce His brow

And we beheld this offering

Exalted now the King of kings

Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel

God incarnate, here to dwell

Emmanuel, Emmanuel

Praise His name Emmanuel

Oh, praise His name Emmanuel

Oh, praise His name Emmanuel

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 Today’s Devotion

We’re going to start off today with a little Bible trivia! And here’s your question.

“Do you know how many years elapsed between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament?” 

It’s kind of a tough question, really, and the Bible itself doesn’t explicitly answer the question. Thankfully, we have tons of great scholarship surrounding the Scriptures to help us fill in historical information and questions like this.

The answer is: “Over 400 years.”

That’s right, between the final prophecies of Malachi, and the period of history that Matthew begins describing is over 400 years.

Think about it, 400 years ago from today was the year 1617! Just think about how much has our world changed in 400 years, and that’s the same amount of time between the Testaments.

For 400 years, there are no biblical prophecies, or proclamations. Although many significant events happened to Jewish people during that period, it was widely believed among the Jews that a period of silence in God’s proclamation to his people had ensued.

At the end of the Old Testament, the people of God are left with this prophecy:

Malachi 4:5-6 (NIV)

5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

God was silent until the birth narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. In Malachi, the people are left with this prophecy that the prophet Elijah will prepare the way for the Lord. And that is exactly what happens. John the Baptist was the new Elijah and God again was speaking to his people.

Oh, how the people of God longed for the Messiah. They had been waiting for hundreds and hundreds of years for God to come and save them from the continuous onslaught of conquerors that sacked their nation repeatedly.

The people wanted a warrior, a liberating fighter who could ward off the nations who would enslave them.

So while they looked for a savior, did anyone expect that the Messiah would be an innocent baby who would grow up a normal life, before leading a ministry of preaching, healing and sacrifice?

As we journey closer and closer to Christmas, we await the moment in history where God entered into it as a human. This is a season of waiting, just as it was for the ancient Jewish people. However, most of God’s people were not expecting what was given to them.

What are you expecting this Christmas? Even more so, what are you expecting from God this year? Because we often expect Jesus to be something that he is not.

Jesus is overwhelmingly complex, because he is both fully God and fully human; a human without sin. Yet, he is our perfect example of what it looks like to be tethered to God.

It is our prayer that this Christmas season, you experience Jesus in a new way, a healing way, a rejuvenating way. May he surprise you with who he is in a deeper way!

Prayer

Jesus, 

You defy all expectations. We constantly think we understand you, but you never cease to amaze us all. You are so amazingly, overwhelmingly good and completely unlike the brokenness of this world that we are always exposed to. 

Lord, help me to abandon my expectations of you and simply accept who you are and how you interact and lead me. There is much freedom in this, freedom I desperately need. I thank you so much for coming to this world and showing me what true, pure love looks like. May this Christmas shock me into a new reality, a reality that is deeply filled with you. Amen

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 Christmas, Christian, Devotion