Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Advent Devotional December 24, 2013

The Rev. Ryan Pixton '10, Pastor for Children and Youth, Fox Valley Presbyterian Church, Geneva, Ill.

Scripture

Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, "which means, "God is with us." 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Devotional

Advent is a time of preparation and reflection for the coming birth of our Savior. Many times, however, it seems like Advent is a stress filled and exceptionally busy time of the year. Everywhere you look, people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Many activities during Advent can become attempts to earn favor from others and God. These words from the Gospel of Matthew are truly good news to us. They remind us that Love comes down at Christmas. Our Savior is Emmanuel - God with us. Today we are reminded that we can sit at Jesus’ feet and don’t need to run around tirelessly trying to earn God’s love. Like hearing that an angel appeared to your virgin wife who is now pregnant, Emmanuel gently reminds us that we can face any amount of craziness because God is with us now and to the end of the age.

Prayer

Dear God, Give me eyes to see where Jesus is working in my life and give me peace this Advent reassuring me that the Holy Spirit will always be with me no matter what. In Christ’s Name, Amen.