Today's Devotional Meditations, Music, and Video of This Morning's Service
Third Sunday of Advent: My Soul Magnifies the Lord
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord …” – Luke 1:46
The Magnificat remains one of the most glorious expressions of praise in all of musical literature. Perhaps, someday, in Heaven, God will allow us to hear a replay of the day Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth or the day the angel visited Mary and announced God’s intentions to her. We would hear that conversation that altered history and sweet sound of her acceptance of God’s great gift of His Son to and through her. The music of absolute surrender would call us to worship and we would join her in exclaiming,
“My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior!”
No less significant was the day your heart responded to God’s grace and declared, “be it unto me according to thy word.”
That God would regard the low estate of His handmaiden and plant the seed of redemption within her womb is a magnificent thing indeed. That God would regard our low estates that Christ might be conceived and born in our hearts by faith is astounding!
We cannot help but sing His praise. We cannot resist the call the worship. We cannot feign to exalt His Name and rejoice in the miracle of His coming. As Mary conceived without human agency, so, that which is born in us of God is without human effort.
Welcome Him to your life anew today and join in chorus:
Prophets foretold Him,
Infant of wonder;
Angels behold Him
On the throne;
Worthy our Savior
Of all our praises;
Happy forever are His own.
(Mary Macdonald, 1888)
BEHOLD THE LAMB!
“… Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29
It is not enough to have a theoretical understanding of God’s redemption through Jesus and how He came to fulfill the Old Testament system of sacrifices as the Paschal Lamb – as important as that information may be.
No, it is of greatest importance that we behold Him.
Some translate the word, “Look,” but the meaning is the same. We must linger over the vision of Jesus and stare into His eyes.
We must be captivated by His presence so that to even blink we would disrupt the flow of His radiance into our souls.
We must drink deeply of His beauty that transcends human comeliness. We must experience Him in all His glory and behold Him.
In Jesus Christ, the Living Word, we have beheld the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. God has allowed us to glimpse Himself and touch His own incarnate flesh.
Why wouldn’t we stop everything else we might be doing and bathe in the wonder of a moment of Lamb of God?
Oh, Lamb of God
Upon whose sinless shoulders
All sin has pressed down its awful weight,
We pause amidst the frivolous trivialities of our lives
To behold You
In a manger, on the cross, ascending to Your throne
Coming once again in glory
The Lights on the Tree of Life
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:4-5
By now, your community is lighted with beautiful reminders of the Christmas season. The colors shining in the night can be seen from afar and even from space. They are at the same time happy and holy, gaudy and dignified. They serve as reminders of joy and correctives to the harsh edges that so often dominate the landscape of our cities and our lives.
It is clearly, visibly, and festively Christmas where we live and the light is shining in the darkness.
In fact, it is in the darkness of night that we most often venture forth from our homes to view these lights and celebrate the profound contrasts that they afford.
From simple candle lights in the windows of homes to magnificent displays in the public squares, we behold temporal illustrations of eternal reality: The evergreen trees which live long through Winter when planted in the soil of the earth are types of the tree of life which is planted in the fertile soil of God’s truth. In and from that life, which is Christ, flows the life and light of men.
And that light shines in the darkness beckoning men and women who live in darkness to come.
To those outside on the cold dark streets of our cities, shivering from the frosty darkness that envelopes them, the flickering lights from a Christmas tree in the window of a warm home serve as an invitation to come to something better. They softly hum the call of God to enter into His brightness and the warmth of His presence. They sway to the melody of each sweet carol, “O come, let us adore Him.”
The light is shining and it is, indeed, the light of men.
Father of Lights,
Lord of Glory,
Master of the Universe,
Arbiter of Covenants,
Leader in Battle,
Thou Who stillest the storm and declares peace,
Giver of good gifts,
Creator of all,
God of Heaven Whose footstool is earth,
King of Glory,
God of Peace in Whom is peace,
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to Thee we come ...
I come ...
committed to Thee,
waiting upon Thee,
ready to speak Thy Word and do Thy bidding ...
May I bring Thy Word of peace to troubled waters today that they may be stilled.
May Thy presence be in my presence and may that presence speak peace to a world at war with itself.
In Jesus' name.