by Desiree Bustamante
Pondering God’s Unique Plan for Our Salvation This Advent Season.
You can listen to today’s devotion by clicking on this SoundCloud link.
I recently attended a holiday gingerbread house exhibition. There were many creative and ornate displays made by talented bakers. Represented were a scene from Lord of the Rings, a pioneer wagon on the Oregon Trail, some very cute penguins, and a church decorated for Christmas. One of my favorites was three Pyramids made out of wafer cookies, and cereal dust, with Egyptian laborers included. Then I came across this display. A simple manger scene of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus living in a gingerbread shack. The glittery star is leading the frosted cookie wise men to the baby Jesus. The sheep and donkey are strategically placed on toasted coconut hay. It’s a very simple Nativity scene.
“All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel
which means ‘God is with us.’”
Matthew 1:22-24 New Living Translation
God’s plan of salvation was no cookie-cutter approach. It was a plan no one else had ever designed, or has designed since. It’s simple and straightforward, yet profound in its perfection. God is holy. We are sinners. We cannot live with God in eternity because of the rift that sin caused between God and us. He loved us so much that He created a way to mend that separation. His Son would be the sacrifice for our sin. Jesus became a man, lived with us as a human being while still God, died for our sins, and rose again. If we believe that, then we will spend eternity with Him.
Many people are uncomfortable with this story. It sounds absurd to them. Some believe it’s way too simple a plan. Surely we have to do something to be saved. Others think it’s just a sweet holiday story. A baby was born in a manger on Christmas Day, angels and shepherds sang hymns, there were cuddly sheep, and they read it to their children as a Christmas tradition.
Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent. As believers we celebrate this season as a time of wonder and gratefulness to God for His beautiful, simple, yet unfathomable love for us. May you be blessed as you explore the remarkable events of Jesus’ birth this Advent season.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.”
Luke 1:30-32 New Living Translation
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado