2019 Advent Devotional – Day 16


Matthew 2:3-4 – King Herod feared the Wise Men’s news

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

Salvation - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Herod’s wider reputation as a jealous and insecure ruler is reinforced by his response to the arrival of the wise men—he is immediately afraid. Herod’s identity was based entirely on his power and reputation and he permitted nothing that might diminish his status or authority. So the arrival of foreign dignitaries, with their news of a new king, shook him to his core. A rival could not be tolerated, even if it was only a child. 

Herod’s reaction makes it clear what he valued most and what he was most afraid of losing. God does not feature in this calculation; Herod thinks only of himself. But do our actions show us to be any different? Is our behaviour motivated by fear or love? 

Fear sees the world as finite and operates from a belief in the scarcity of means. Love, on the other hand, sees the world as abundant. By putting God first in our lives, we are assured of ongoing hope, enduring love and eternal grace.

Plentiful God,
In this season of accumulation and ‘more,’ remind me that only your love and mercy is truly abundant. Thank you for always reaching out in love, no matter how many times I turn my back on you. Thank you for always forgiving me, no matter how many times I fall short of your way. Help me welcome you into my heart that I might reflect your love into the world, magnifying your grace and glory. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2020.

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