Friday, December 9, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Messiah

Jesus Christ: Our Ultimate Promise
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” –Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

The people of Israel had received the promise of their long-awaited Messiah from the prophet Isaiah well over 700 years before the infant Jesus Christ was ever placed in a feeding trough in Bethlehem. It was an inauspicious beginning for their eagerly anticipated King and was mostly overlooked in the history of God’s people. They had waited such a long time and they missed the child born to two poor, weary travelers in the middle of the night.

Even though many missed Christ’s birth, in today’s world, so many years later, it seems as though most people eagerly wait for December 25 to arrive. It’s a holiday, a day with friends and family, a day to open presents and drink lots of hot cocoa. But it’s so much more than that.

Right now, we enter the season we call Advent, the four weeks before Christmas when we consider not only the birth of Jesus Christ, but also His return. For some of us, it’s a time of quiet contemplation of the wonderful gift of our Savior, Jesus. Others experience a yearning in our heart to see our Savior return to Earth. And for others, it’s a deeply rooted longing to join our Jesus in Heaven, to live with Him for all eternity. For many others it’s all three, but they all involve one thing—waiting on God’s timing.

A few days ago, a dear family member and I were talking about Advent and what it means. We spoke of looking forward and looking back. We talked about waiting and the joys of seeing God’s promises fulfilled and those waiting to be fulfilled. Then she said, “It all depends on what we do while we’re waiting.” That struck a chord—do I practice active waiting?

Her comment sent me on a path of personal discovery. In the beauty and stillness of worship, do I remember to praise the Maker of Heaven and Earth as I thank Him for the promises He has brought to completion? While I long for His return, am I telling others about His first coming and the reason He came—to save us from sin? As I live every moment of the day, do I humbly obey my Lord and Savior when He says, “Follow Me?” (Matthew 16:24)

Do I? Or am I all tied up in my own agenda and miss all that God is showing me? So many times, the answer is yes. But, thankfully, our Father in Heaven is rich in forgiveness, and He wants so much more for me than my self-serving desires.

So, join me, followers of Jesus, as we walk through this Advent season together. Let’s make a deliberate choice to look back with reverent hearts to God’s miracle of a baby in a manger. Let’s look forward as we pray for the moment when our friends and loved ones accept Jesus as their Savior. Let’s spend our time ministering to the needs of the people around us. And when our Lord says, “Follow Me” into a place we’ve never even considered, let’s embrace His perfect plan and obey His loving invitation.

With joy we will watch. With hope we will wait. And we will live in humble obedience to our Lord and Savior. God’s promise of Messiah took many years to be fulfilled, and His prophecy about the return of Christ is what we still await. But in the meantime, we devote ourselves to praise, to thanksgiving, to petition, and to service whenever and wherever He directs, not just for one month out of the year, but for always.

The psalmist urges us to “be strong” and “wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14 ESV). The Apostle Paul encourages us to make the “best use of the time” that we have because “the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 ESV). So, in the whirlwind of parties, concerts, get-togethers, and holiday traditions, let’s praise the Lord for our Savior, King Jesus, and then let’s wait expectantly for God’s promise of His return to take us home with Him.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, You are our Promise, our only hope of Heaven. Thank You for coming to Earth to save us, and we rejoice that You’re coming again! Help us to follow You whole-heartedly wherever You lead us. We wait for You, Jesus! In Your precious, Holy Name we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Messiah” by Francesca Battistelli. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Karen Marstaller is a retired high school teacher who spent most of her career challenging creative students to write. Her heart is for her readers. 

She writes to encourage them, to make them laugh, to show them that life is a beautiful journey, and regardless of their past, to show them that there is joy ahead if they will just keep looking.

Karen and her husband live in central Texas in a sweet little home that they completely remodeled. They enjoy spending time with their family, which includes seven precious grandchildren.

Most of all, Karen writes in obedience to the command to love your neighbor, to offer a cup of water to those who are dying of thirst, and to comfort others with the comfort she has received.

You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address:

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