A couple of years ago, I wrote out a self-published e-book of Advent Devotions. You can still buy it from Amazon.com here: Advent Reflections. However, I’m going to re-use the whole thing for daily blog posts here on the blog this year. Next year I may have the opportunity to write a new one, I certainly hope to, but hopes and reality sometimes do not meet. The e-book is laid out on a sliding schedule, to use on respective days and weeks of Advent.
It should be noted that I drew inspiration from many works and many ideas. If you feel I have taken an idea without credit, please let me know so I can fix it.
Hymn numbers are from the 2008 Baptist Hymnal/Worship Hymnal from Lifeway.
“All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.” (John 1:3, HCSB)
There is no shortage of people and creatures that claim to be “king of” something. The lion is “king of the jungle.” Godzilla is “king of the monsters.” There’s a Burger King, Kings of Leon, and a King of Rock and Roll. Across the pages of history are thousands of men who claimed to be king of something, from Ozymandias to George III. So, why is it that the claim of Jesus to be King is worth our time?
It’s found in the first truth of His Kingship. His Kingship does not find its root in conquest. He did not complete some momentous quest for a sword or jewel, or inherit a kingdom passed on through generations. His kingdom starts before day one, because it is through Him that all things are created.
His Kingdom is His because He made it. Take whatever look you like at the universe, and if you cannot find it the result of billions of years of randomness, a cosmic accident, then you are left with one basic option: this place was made by someone. I think that logic, theology, and science support a specific view of who that someone is.
That someone is the God of the Bible. The God who reveals Himself as eternally existing in Triune personhood, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This God expresses that “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1) and then, in John 1:3 above tells us that through Jesus it was all done.
He is the King because He made it. It’s not someone else’s creation or territory, He’s not King Jesus because He conquered anyone else’s place. The marvel and majesty of stars that run by fusion, that’s His handiwork. How amazing is that? Consider that mankind can only use fusion to destroy, but stars use fusion to fuel life. Consider that there is a North Star in the Northern Hemisphere---and the Southern Hemisphere features a constellation to help find South—are these things accidents or design?
Look at the marvel of flora and fauna…consider that the Christmas Star orchid needs a moth with an 11-inch proboscis to pollinate and survive. Remarkably, the Darwin’s hawk moth lives on the same island and features just the right length of proboscis to make that happen. Hippos have birds and birds have hippos, and any casual read of a biology book will give you countless examples of symbiotic relationships that are astounding and point to the work of One to make it all start happening.
As we look toward the manger, let us remember this: this world was His in the first place. He came here not unfamiliar with what He would find, but knowing full well what was here. He made it all. The gold that was brought by the Magi?
It was through Jesus that it was made. Seventy-nine protons and electrons, eighteen different isotopes---all this was conceived in the mind of God in the first place. There is little that we can give Him that wasn’t His in the first place. Yet this year, let us give Him back what He has given us: our lives and our futures. Committing our will to obey Him is the one thing we can give: will you give that?
Scripture passage for the day: John 1:10-11 (NIV)
“He was in the world, and
though the world was made through him,
the world did not recognize him.
He came to that which was his own,
but his own did not receive him.”
Hymn for the day: In the Bleak Midwinter, Chorus is #207 “What Can I Give Him?”
Special music to listen and consider: “This is All I Have to Give” from Todd Agnew’s Do You See What I See? Album, Ardent Music, 2006.
Prayer: King Jesus, I have nothing to give You. Even if I had gold, You made it in the first place. There’s nothing within my power to hold that does not belong to You by creation. Yet this I have: my life. In truth, when I have run it my own way, it hasn’t gone that well, but I will submit it to Your kingship. As the song says, what can I give You? I will do my part. I give You my heart. My efforts, my attentions, my affections, all I have. Receive me into Your service. Let the name of Jesus, in which I pray, be the name I serve. Amen.