Longing: An Advent Devotional
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene
Monday, December 19th
As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given.
I would be silent now, Lord, and expectant…
That I may receive the gift I need,
so I may become the gifts others need.
GROW: Romans 1:1-7
As electronic communication has increased over the years, it seems the length of our communication has decreased. “The shorter, the better,” has become the standard. As a result, our communication today largely omits any kind of salutation or greeting that connects the writer to the hearer and hints at the purpose of the communication.
Paul, on the other hand, begins his letter to the Romans with a lengthy salutation. His greeting not only makes a connection between himself and the church in Rome, but also becomes the groundwork for the content to follow in the rest of the letter. Paul summarizes God’s plan of salvation as God’s promise through the prophets, the incarnation of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and the spreading of the gospel.
In a way, Jesus is God’s salutation to humanity. God greets humanity by sending Jesus as the reminder of God’s connection to us. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus become the foundation of God’s redemptive work in the world that continues to unfold as he makes all things new.
As our time of longing draws to an end in this final week of Advent, we remember the promises of God we have heard over the last few weeks “through his prophets in the holy scriptures.” But we also begin to look forward to the next part of God’s salutation to us, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, “who was descended from David according to the flesh.”
In our fast-paced world, we often just want to get on with it and dispense with the pleasantries. In this season, however, may we fight that urge, and take time to savor and reflect on God’s personal salutation to us, through the birth of his Son and our savior, Jesus Christ.
As you interact with people today, whether at work, or school, or socially, be intentional with your greetings. Many people can feel lonely during this time of year. So before you get on with business, let the person know how much you appreciate them, ask how their family is doing, or let them know you are praying for them. Greetings are not just pleasantries; they are opportunities for us to connect with people more meaningfully. Let’s take advantage of these opportunities today.
—Pastor Grant Christy