Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent Family Devotions Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Royal Baby Watch

Opening Prayer:

Lord God, we know that Christmas is coming soon and we thank You for this exiting time of year. Help us to watch, wait and celebrate as Christ comes to us, in His name we pray, Amen.

Bible Reading:  Zechariah 9.9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

     A little over one year ago much of the world watched as Prince William married Kate Middleton. It was announced today that Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is now 86 years old. At her death, or if she desires to step down, her son Prince Charles is in line to become King. Many suspect that Charles will never serve as king due to his divorce and subsequent second marriage. This puts Prince William, the son of Charles and Dianna as the virtual next in line for the throne. After his reign as King ends the first born child of William and Kate will ascend to the throne. Recent changes to English law have removed the preference of male heirs, so when Kate and William have a child, that child will one day be the king or queen of England. So, the royal baby watch is on. The world watched and waited when Princess Dianna gave birth to William, and the world is watching and waiting for William and Kate to have their first child.

     Watching and waiting are important themes in the Advent season. The word advent comes from the Latin and means to come, or to come near, and perhaps more to the point he comes or he is coming. In advent we watch and wait for Jesus to come. Much of our preparation focuses on our celebration of His first coming as a babe in Bethlehem just over 2000 years ago. Children especially are watching and waiting for Christmas to come. Many of the Scripture readings during this season urge us to watch and wait for Christ to come again as judge and king. Pastors, Lutheran school teachers, and these devotions encourage us to watch, wait and celebrate how Christ comes to us now in God’s Word and in with and under the water of Holy Baptism and the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

     In Advent, at Christmas, and at all times Jesus comes to us and He will come again at the last day. Long ago Zechariah prophesied His coming to bring salvation through His own perfect righteousness. And unlike the royals of our day, or even of Jesus’ day, He comes humbly - riding on a donkey. The fulfillment of this prophesy on Palm Sunday reminds us that this king whose birth we prepare to celebrate had only one crown – a crown of thorns.  Jesus came to die for our sins. His gift of forgiveness inspires our giving and His humble service is a model for our living.

For Discussion:
1.  Roman officials and other leaders rode horses or were ushered in by chariots. How does Jesus riding on a donkey reflect on what kind of king He is?

2.  What are some things you can do to serve others, especially in this festive season?

3.  Many families pray “Come Lord Jesus be our guest, “ as their pre-meal prayer. What do we mean when we pray this and what difference does it make when we invite Jesus to dinner?

Come Lord Jesus be with us as we prepare to celebrate your birth and as we look forward to Your coming again as judge and king. Help us to keep You as the center of our Christmas and use us to help others know the reason for the season. In your holy name we pray, Amen.

Hymn: "Come, O Long-Expected Jesus"

Click here for melody.

Come, O long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Your people free;
From our fears and sins release us
By Your death on Calvary.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope to all the earth impart,
Dear desire of ev’ry nation,
Joy of ev’ry longing heart.

Born Your people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a king;
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Your gracious kingdom bring.
By Your own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Your all sufficient merit
Raise us to Your glorious throne.

Submitted by James F. Ritter

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