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Friday, December 12, 2014

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a king,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit
raise us to thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley’s “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
(tune: Hyfrydol)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Each year I am struck by the contradictory nature of the Advent season.

Beginning in late fall, the holiday decorations come out in the stores and on the lampposts. Carols can be heard on the radio, in elevators, and even when you're on hold on the phone. The retailers launch their catchy and festive holiday campaigns and the pace of the crowds on the street and in traffic speeds up. Hurry!

Conversely, for me, with Advent comes a sense of quiet, reverent anticipation. The birth of our Savior is approaching and the story of that miraculous birth never fails to amaze me.

God brought to us the embodiment of his saving grace in the form of an infant—a baby! A tiny, defenseless baby who would one day give up his life to fulfill his father's promise to all his children.

A special birth unlike any others, so holy that an angel and the brightest shining star heralded the event, and yet so plain that it took place in a stable, with only his parents and the animals to bear witness.

Inconceivable. All I can do is humbly receive it and try to live out my life in gratitude for it.

Two thousand years later and counting, another Advent season begins, and Christ's birth is still witnessed and proclaimed. No acts of terror, no weather disasters, nor the outbreak of disease can diminish God's promise of grace.

A child is born and will save the world. Hallelujah, Amen!

God in heaven, I thank you for your gift of Jesus, who came into the world as a baby and lived and died to fulfill your promise of grace and salvation. In faithful trust and service, I ask that you guide my actions to reflect your love. Amen.

Written by Holly O'Mara, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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