Week 2 Theme:  WONDER 

Title: The Wonder of His Love

Text: Exodus 15:11 – “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”

Scripture Reading:  Galatians 4:4–5 à But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Titus 3:4–7 à But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Reflection:  “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. This popular song talks about enjoying carols, snow, parties, toasting marshmallows in the crisp winter air, being with the ones you love, mistletoe, and even “tales” of Christmas long ago. “Wonderful” in this song is all about what we can enjoy during this special time of year – nostalgia and romance, much like the Hallmark Christmas specials.  However, take a moment and think about what it means to be full of wonder. Wonder is the involuntary reaction of awe and amazement when one witnesses an unexpected, unexplainable, even miraculous phenomenon that may either be verbally expressed or leave one speechless.

As we remember the first Advent and events surrounding the birth of Jesus, they were consistently marked with wonder! Luke 1 records two women, Elizabeth and Mary who would each bear a child. Where’s the wonder in this, you might say? Well, Elizabeth was way past her childbearing years while Mary was a virgin. The pregnancies were nothing short of miraculous. Moreover, the Holy Spirit revealed to Elizabeth that  the child Mary was carrying was the Lord! Consider the shepherds who were watching their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared with the shining glory of the Lord over them. Why is this event a wonder? They received the message that a savior, the Promised Messiah, the Lord, was born for them and for all people, without exception. Jews, up to this point, believed the Messiah was only for them. Now, shepherds, not the Pharisees and priests, learned that the Messiah that Israel was waiting for would bring deliverance for everyone – both Jews and Gentiles! This was great and exceptional news – news of hope, peace, and joy! They received it in faith, immediately went to see the baby Jesus, and became witnesses sharing the good news.

God’s speaking to Joseph in a dream was significant. A pregnant, single Jewish woman would certainly have been stoned to death! Yet, God made a way to protect and preserve her and Jesus through Joseph. Two years after Jesus’ birth, Matthew records magi from the East, that is, non-Jews who came seeking for the King of Jews to worship Him! A star continually guided them to where Jesus was. This was unexplainable yet real! Further, God supernaturally preserved Jesus from death warning the magi and Joseph through dreams. Every step of the way, divine intervention, divine revelation, unlikely recipients of God’s message of a Savior and deliverer for all people, constant preservation of Jesus and Mary with celestial beings marked the account of the coming of Jesus into this world! Awesome wonders accompanied the birth of Jesus. Wondrous events were witnessed and shared.

Born an ordinary baby through extraordinary means to fulfil God’s plan. More so, this baby asked to be born. YES — Philippians 2:7-8 tells us Jesus, though God Himself, emptied himself of His rights, took on the form of a servant, to be born a human for the sole purpose of saving us from eternal death. He came like one of us to seek us out that we might be saved (Luke 19:10). He is Immanuel – God with us – like us, for us, that we might have abundant life; that we may be transformed with a new identity to be His children. The wonder of Advent is immense love for you and me. It was His love that brought Him to earth – to lay down His life so that you and I might live. The wonder of Advent is the amazing, unconditional, limitless love of God!

Response:  This year as you celebrate His birth, remember why He came. He came for you because He loves you. He came for all people that they may know Him and live. Have you received His wonderful love for you so that you can have eternal life? Put your trust wholly in Him. God preserved Jesus’ life when He was born so that He could preserve your life  in eternity if you will rest in Him alone. He is able to keep you in His care till the very end. Remember also to pray for all people who do not yet know about the wonder of God’s love that is infinite and sufficient. There are people who are suffering not knowing God is their only hope in Jesus. This season, pray that the Holy Spirit will wonderfully reveal Himself as He did  when Jesus was born so that they may know  His love and preservation. Will you remember them as you celebrate and intercede on their behalf?

Prayer:  Lord, you demonstrated Your love to us when we were most undeserving. Yet, you gave up your kingly throne and divine authority to become like one of us to save us. Thank you, Father for sending Jesus. As you revealed the wonder of your love and your power when Jesus was born, we ask you to reveal you love, grace, and power to people who do not know you as the one who loves them just as they are. Father, may your wondrous love  compel us to be witnesses. May we never cease being in awe of who You are and why You came. In the wondrous name of Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, AMEN!

Written by Irene Prabhu Das, MPH, PhD