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Dec 10, 2017

Annunciations

Annunciations

Passage: Luke 1:26-38

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Advent 2017

Category: Advent

Keywords: advent, birth

What is God birthing in your world?

Devotional

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 

 

- Luke 2:1-7, NIV

While not identified by name, the innkeeper in the above scripture often comes across to many people as a callous, inconsiderate person. Who could turn away a very noticeably expectant mother? Examined from another angle, the innkeeper is a shrewd businessman who managed to sell all of his available rooms. Why should he be at fault when laggards come knocking? Maybe they should have used their Airbnb app to book online in advance!  

From another perspective, maybe he was just too busy attending to his other guests and the other activities associated with keeping an inn. That's the version of the innkeeper that I tend to accept. Not callous, not inconsiderate, not a die-hard capitalist. Just busy. 

Being busy certainly hasn't changed in the past two thousand years! Pastor Chris often talks about the modern epidemic of being busy. Ask anyone these days how they are doing and they'll quickly reply, "Busy!" Christmas, of course, is often the busiest time of the year. With parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow (at least according to a certain song). While you may not find yourself involved in those specific activities, all of us seem to find ourselves busy with lots of things these days. We've become a nation of innkeepers! So busy preparing for Christmas, that we forget to prepare ourselves for Christ. 

Not to cause panic with anyone, but we're less than two weeks from Christmas. Are you ready for Christmas? From the grocery clerk to the family doctor, "Are you ready for Christmas?" will become a common query over the next couple of weeks. What does "Are you ready for Christmas?" mean to you? When this question is posed to you, I encourage you to hear "Are you ready for Christ?" 

I pray that you are able to move slower this Christmas season. I pray that you are able to find more time for peace and stillness in your life. I pray that you are able to find yourself in a less busy state. And, I pray that you use this new-found time, peace, and stillness to prepare your heart for Christ.  

Prayer:

Holy, gracious, healing Father. We pray that we are ready for Jesus today and every day. We pray that we can turn from our self-centered nature this Christmas season to reflect on those less fortunate than us. We pray that the Holy Spirit will abide in us, creating within us a renewed spirit and a clean and open heart filled with Christ-like love for all mankind. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Written by Rich Krygiel. Rich leads one of our men's ministry groups at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father.