7th Day of Advent
December 3, 2022
"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1.21).
These were the words from the angel of the Lord when he appeared to Joseph with the message to take Mary as his wife. Joseph knew well that in the Scriptures that sins could be covered only by a blood sacrifice (Leviticus 17.11). The writer of Hebrews pinpoints this truth; “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9.22). Therefore, when the angel of the Lord spoke the above words, Joseph understood instantly that the Son to whom his bride would give birth would be the Messiah spoken of in Isaiah 53.
Mary undoubtedly knew this, too. Though her song of praise (Luke 1.46-55) is with filled Old Testament references that witness the reigning power of the coming Messiah and must reflect her utter joy in being the one chosen by God to bring His only begotten Son into the world, like the angel’s message to Joseph she knew without a doubt that He would be the suffering Servant who would die for the sins of the world.
This truth was brought to her attention again when she went to dedicate Jesus on the 8th day of His birth. On that day she met Simeon who reminded her of this truth; “a sword will pierce even your own soul” (Luke 2.35).
Jesus was the child born to die – born to die that we might live. Born to die that through Him the world might be saved. Born to die that we might be saved, for it is through His death, and His death alone, that we have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
Note the words to this Christmas carol written by Harry Bollback;
Ring the bells, ring the bells, Let the whole world know Christ was born in Bethlehem Many years ago:
Born to die That man might live, Came to earth new life to give, Born of Mary, born so low, Many years ago.
God the Father gave His Son, Gave His own beloved One To this wicked, sinful earth, To bring mankind His love, new birth:
Ring the bells, Ring the bells, Let the whole world know Christ the Savior lives today As He did so long ago!
While Mary was certainly overjoyed at the joy of being the mother who would give life to the Son of God, she, unlike other mothers, brought her Son into the world knowing that He would die for the sins of the world.
Children are born to live and outlive their parents, aren’t they?
We must never forget that Jesus was born to die so that we might live. May we do our best this Christmas season to encourage others around us who live under the shadow of death to remember that Jesus is the One who gives life through death. Pray even more that we would live with the hope of Christ who was born on Christmas day to free us from the chains of death. “He is risen! Hallelujah!”
And speaking of bells, throughout Advent season wear a bell around my neck. It has been a habit/tradition of mine for over 40 years. Everywhere I walk there is this quiet ringing of bells that goes with me. When people ask me about it, I always answer that is a simple way of sharing the joy that Jesus gives at both Christmas and all year long.
Happy 7th Day of Advent!