Friday, December 23, 2016

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 23

"A gift from our community of faith to you. We at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary are devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways that we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift — the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a complete schedule of this season's devotionals.
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Advent Devotional for Friday, December 23

Luke 1:57-66

As a small child, I remember spending time with my paternal grandmother. This time was always time well spent. Occasionally I would get into altercations with my cousins over the sharing of toys, crayons, and the TV, and these tiffs would eventually end up in name calling. Being one of the youngest and, often, the only boy present, I would be called a fair share of names. I would always run to Grandmother and inform her of the great injustices I suffered. One day she stopped me and, in a wise and patient manner, explained to me that "it's not the name that one is called, it's the name that one answers to that matters!" There is a certain wisdom to this, and to a point Grandmother was correct. While names we are called may hurt, the names that we answer to are greater.

In today's text, the naming of John the Baptist is of great importance. This name would become the child's identity. It would be how he was known to everyone. It was only at the right name was there a reactive answer. There is power in names. In this Advent season, we celebrate the coming of Christ—this redemptive hope. It is through this act of redemption that we have acquired new names. We are no longer solely the names given to us at birth. We are now able to be called "Sisters" and "Brothers," "Hiers to the Most High God"!

So as we anticipate the coming of Christ, let us be mindful that the name we answer to will have the ability to hold us ransom, robbing us of the joy, love, hope, and peace that we desperately seek. Or it can have the power to open our mouths and set our tongues free, allowing us to speak and praise God.

Come and set us free,
   Lord God of power and might.
Let your face shine upon us
   and we shall be saved,
Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
   and to the Holy Spirit.

Matt Edison
MDIV Student from Houston Texas

For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.

This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 

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