The text for our devotion on this exciting day in the Church Year comes from Daily Devotions from 75 Years of Portals of Prayer.
1 John 4:7–16
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
From the outside, Jesus’ birth may not seem so grand. In our minds, a king should be born in a palace, not laid in a manger. But this was no ordinary birth. This was the arrival of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, God Himself in the flesh come to rescue us from our sins and deliver to us everlasting life.
O holy night, night of mystery! The mind of man could never have conceived of such a thing. The mind of man has difficulty in receiving it. All the laws of nature are changed to bring about the wonderful event. The angels of heaven burst upon the earth to sing about it. A star of the sky is made to tell its story. But what is it, this event?
Looking at the externals, we see absolutely nothing that impresses us. A young mother who cannot find a place in the inn borrows the only shelter she can find, a stable. There, she brings forth her first Child, a baby boy, wraps Him as gently as she can, and places Him on the only thing that will serve as a bed, a pile of straw in a manger. What is so unusual? Pathetic, perhaps, but what is so unusual? Only when we look behind the externals do we see the mystery, the unusual.
The mother is a virgin. This was actually the sign whereby people could recognize the mystery—that a virgin shall have a Child. For the mystery is this: this little Child is Immanuel, God with us. Within this little Child dwelt “the whole fullness of deity . . . bodily” (Colossians 2:9). He is the only-begotten of the Father, who came in fulfillment of all the promises from the first given to Eve to the last made by Malachi. This is the Savior, the appointed Messiah, the blessed Seed, in whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Oh wonderful mystery! God in the flesh, born of a virgin! Great is the mystery! Great is our joy!
Devotional reading is from Daily Devotions from 75 Years of Portals of Prayer, December 24 devotion © 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.