a Devotion for 24 December 2023 Anno Domini


He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,

Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

(John 1:23, all scripture quoted is from the KJV)


The Collect

O LORD, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.


The previous three Sundays have been days of preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ -the 1st, the duty to prepare; 2nd, preparation by the Word (Holy Bible); and 3rd, preparation by the Church and ministry. We now come to the final Advent Sunday just moments before the actual Incarnation of Christ at Bethlehem – the preparation by Christ Himself. Each step of the Advent Season has taken us more and more deeply into the glorious Truth of His coming – now the crucial dye is cast! It is the realization of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, “…Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) It is our Lord’s abiding Presence that is the fulfillment of every prophecy of His coming from Genesis 3:16 to our leading text of John 1:23.

Christ brings joy into a world that could never have known true joy otherwise amidst its darkness and dread of sin and hurt. In the Epistle for the day taken from Philippians 4:4, Paul counsels us to “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Just the thought of His soon appearing should send billows of joy and glee through our souls.

The coming of Christ compels moderation in all things among His people. Let the world know to whom we belong in Christ. Our outward conduct should reflect that inward grace that His Presence instills. “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5)

The coming of Christ is a time of freedom from the fears and cares of the world. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6) This is not referring to observance of caution, but to not allowing our cares to burden our souls. Those burdens are removed by prayer and thanksgiving. The Lord will be our burden-bearer if we have an assurance of our salvation in Him. How shall we attain such a comfort and inner peace? “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

The Promise of His coming is an inner peace that is not subject to the tides and turmoil of the outside world. Our hearts should be set on the beautiful things of His Creation – His beauty of art, His beauty of truth, and His beauty of the new creature which is the making of His redemption of His chosen.

Just as John the Baptist came preparing the way for Christ by his preaching, we, too, as ministers of God, have a solemn responsibility to preach Christ and Him crucified! This is preparing the hearts of His elect for His second Advent that is every whit as certain as the first. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.” (John 1:6-7)

When we read and absorb the words of the Prayer of Collect, we observe two great truths; 1) The Source of Power which is in Christ Jesus; 2) Our Need of power to persevere until the end in grace and mercy. We need this power to deliver us from the wiles of the devil and the temptations of the flesh. It is by His unseen Presence alone that can instill that power over sin in accepting His first Advent and preparing for His second Advent.

Our plea must reside in His conveyance of power to us. To obtain remission of sin so that we may thereby be made partakers of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the atonement made by Christ for both grace and mercy – a status which we can neither merit, nor achieve, through works of our own hands.


By |2023-12-21T20:32:28+00:00December 21st, 2023|Blog|Comments Off on 4TH SUNDAY IN ADVENT

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