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2020 Advent Devotional – Day 20

Sign

Luke 2: 8–16

“This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)

Video: Luke 2: 8–16


Reflection

From the outset of Luke’s Gospel, Luke emphasises the certainty of the good news he wants to record and proclaim. He takes his reader back to the beginning of the life of Jesus so that the presence of God in the world can be emphasized and revealed.

At every turn of events, then, Luke highlights the signs God gives to those who are involved in this miraculous birth, to ensure they clearly see and understand God’s presence. The shepherds in today’s reading are no exception. They are called to be witnesses to the birth of Jesus and, to ensure this takes place, a company of angels are sent to deliver the news.

The message for the shepherds is unambiguous. A Savior has been born and the shepherds are invited to attend and proclaim this event of great joy. In case there was any doubt – of where the baby was, or indeed of their invitation to be present – the angel gives them a sign.

With certainty, then, the shepherds welcomed the birth of Jesus and gave thanks for God’s love in the world. And while it is easy for us to wish for similar clarity – angels heralding the way to go – such a view overlooks the stated purpose of Luke’s account. Because Luke’s gospel was intended to be such a sign, and remains so for us as much as for the first readers of these words.

These words, handed down over the centuries, are a confirmation of the first witnesses of God’s love in the world, and a sign to us of God’s eternal promise to always love and be present in the world. The journey through Advent, then, encourages us to pause and remember the signs along the way, and to proclaim in our lives the good news and great joy of Jesus’ birth.


Ever-present God,
Forgive me when I overlook the eternal sign of your love through your word. Forgive me when I neglect the ongoing signs of your presence in our world. Encourage me to seek out your love in surprising places, and to recognize your love for all your children. Inspire me to be a beacon of your love and let my life be a sign for others of the power of faith in your word. Amen.


Reading

Luke 2: 8–16

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.


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.