Gift

2020 Advent Devotional – Day 28

Gift

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Words by Charles Wesley; adapted by George Whitefield and others

“Born to raise us from the earth,
Born to give us second birth.”

Video: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


Reflection

With the anticipation and merry chaos of Christmas Day behind us – or maybe this year, the strange solitude or peaceful empty – let’s find a moment to reflect on the gift we have received. Just as children are perhaps encouraged to appreciate their presents after the wrapping paper has been torn away and discarded, so we are encouraged to take our time savouring the gift of Christmas.

The exuberant power of our final carol is a majestic tribute to all we have received, and all that the Christmas gift of Jesus Christ has to offer. Peace and joy, light and life, healing and comfort – the abundant magnificence of God’s gifts to us pour out through the lyrics, almost too plentiful to keep up with.

The reassuring wonder of God’s sweeping generosity – more than any individual gift – is that through God’s love we have exactly what we each need: the presence of God in our world, “pleased with us in flesh to dwell,” accompanying us on our journey through life. Present with us when our lives soar with delight and success; abiding with us when our lives crave healing and our hearts hunger for peace. Throughout it all, always providing the guiding light to call us onwards to life in Christ.

And most important of all is the gift we need more than any other: the “mercy mild” from the first verse. The phrase is tucked away somewhat, especially compared to the vibrant sounds of the angels. Unassuming and gentle, the mercy of our caring and forgiving God, who sees us striving and failing; who is there when we fall, reaching out to help us rise up, supporting us, even carrying us on.

As we turn from Advent to the New Year, may our Christmas prayer be to appreciate this glorious gift and share it with those around us.


Generous God,
Kindle within me recognition and gratitude for all you bless me with and for the love you share with the world. As you give me what I need, help me understand and acknowledge the needs of others. As you shine your abundant mercy into my life, renew me to greet others with your same mercy and acceptance. Abide with me Lord, through all my days, that I might always reach out for your eternal love. Amen.


Reading

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise;
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Refrain:
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel. [Refrain]

Hail the heav’nborn Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild, he lays his glory by,
Born that we no more may die,
Born to raise us from the earth,
Born to give us second birth. [Refrain]


If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.


 

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