Longing: An Advent Devotional
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene
Friday, December 23rd
As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:
Opening Prayer (share in this prayer as a reflective hymn and pledge)
For you, Desired One, the whole earth yearned,
chosen and alien, prophet and pariah.
O Rock of Infant Tenderness,
You made of all these one!
One, Light of Revelation to the Gentile and the Jew;
one Law, one Love, one Baptism,
One banquet and one list of guests
for the eternal wedding feast!
Be revelation of my Gentile soul
Desired One of all my days!
Be only God: destroy all deities
my questing should enshrined in alien lands.
O MightStone, break down the walls of my divisions,
Great Unity, join me in Zion’s cornerstone.
O Stone Divine that knew rejection,
reject me not, cement me to Yourself.
Make me a pebble in that Living temple
of the whole Christ, God’s Kingdom come on earth.
O World’s Desire and desire of your Mother
form whom you took the mortal dust You made,
For memory of her blessed flesh that bore You,
O precious Stone, have pity on the poverty of clay!
GROW: Romans 1:1-7
The placement of this beautiful introduction to Paul’s letter to the Roman church is not an arbitrary insertion into the readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent. On the contrary, what Paul gives us here is the heart and soul of the Christmas message. Paul has yet to visit Rome, so his speech to them is a way of celebrating the gift of Christ among us.
Paul celebrates and identifies the ways in which his life has been changed by Emmanuel, God with us, in our Savior, Jesus Christ. First, he notes he is a slave, a servant of Jesus Christ. He is compelled by the grace given him to labor for Christ in every way. Second, he is a sent one, an apostle for Jesus Christ. Chosen by God for this work he MUST speak for Christ, wherever he finds himself.
Finally, Paul has us captured by the faithfulness of God. God has always kept God’s promises, and now God intends to keep it again in Jesus Christ. It is an absolutely wonderful time to be alive. Christ is here! Hallelujah! Christ will come again! Thanks be to God!
Today you will encounter all kinds of ways in which people will want to express the “holiday spirit.” We will hear songs on the radio about roasting chestnuts, white Christmases, and children wanting Hippopotamuses for Christmas. None of it has anything to do with Paul’s joyful celebration of the Savior who has come among us. Offer a new song today that celebrates the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. Give heart and soul and voice to the song Hark the Herald Angels Sing as you go about your day.
—Pastor Phil Hamner