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Review & Apply Week 4

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Watch Week Four, Day Five

As we close our Advent study, it is fitting to end with reflection on the entry of the Christchild, the long-awaited King, the Messiah—the promise fulfilled.

We’ve come to the last candle of the Advent wreath, and will humbly recall this week’s encounters through the lens of love. John tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (3:16). Love compelled the Father to send the Son to our world. As a tiny babe, He was Emmanuel, God with us.

gabriel visits mary

God exemplified His love for all people, rich or poor, man or woman, by choosing an unlikely person to carry and deliver the Son of God. The love of God for His people knows no bounds. He used a regular young woman from Galilee to bring into the world His Son, the true King. Out of His extravagant love, He sent a Savior (and as an added bonus of love for the planners out there, he clued Mary in to the plan!).

mary and joseph at jesus's birth

Mary and Joseph must have looked at baby Jesus for the first time and sensed God’s great love for them, for His people. The road to that manger wasn’t easy, it was not without trial, hardship, or uncertainty, but it was not without love. In love, Mary and Joseph followed the instructions from God, and in love, they undoubtedly gazed at their baby boy in wonder of just how much—so much—God loved the world.

shepherds and wisemen

God’s love, through bringing Christ to the world, draws the hearts of mankind to Himself. The Shepherds were drawn to the manger where Christ lay in a simple cave, because of God’s love. The wisemen were drawn from far away to see Christ, following a star, because of God’s love. When both groups of men encountered Jesus, their love for him immediately turned to adoration, it was a love characterized by genuine worship.

simeon and anna

Love has a longsuffering nature doesn’t it? If you love something, someone, you will wait for it, you will wait for that person. And we saw that in Simeon and Anna and the way they waited and waited. They knew Jesus was promised, and they anticipated His arrival with full, expectant hearts, even as they watched each year go by. The fullness of love was realized, though, when they looked into the face of their newborn King.

His story for you is one marked by love, covered in grace.

As you have read and remembered these nativity-scene characters and their encounters with Jesus, what stands out to you most? How has your encounter with Emmanuel, God with us, caused you to love Him and others more deeply?

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Emmanuel

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