Bless this vigil of advent, God Most High, and look upon us with love. While we wake, let our hearts rejoice in the greatness of your gift, the joy of Christmas, the incarnation of God the Son. While we rest, let us rest in you, the giver of true and eternal rest. Bless our night with the peace of the gospel of Jesus Christ; be blessed in our amazed thoughts and grateful praises—Amen.
Teach us of goodness, good and merciful God. Disdaining all the things that we think so much of—wealth, power, fame—you sent your Son among the lowly and ordinary. We see the noblest humility in the manger, the most gracious goodness in your willingness to reach down to the weak. Teach us to scorn the glories of this world, and look instead to the true glory of your infinite majesty. Teach us to love the good, God of all goodness.
Lord God, here in the incarnation of your Son we see your power, veiled and yet displayed with breathtaking magnificence to those who have the eyes of faith. To the world it is a myth; but to your own it is a wonder beyond reckoning. The Son of God became man; the Creator added to Himself a creaturely nature, to redeem lost creation. In this new creation let us glory, and worship with reverent awe.
What marvel compares to your amazing love, everlasting God? What could ever equal the gift of Christ, the joy of Christmas? You have sent light into our darkness, hope into our despair; you have borne our sins and offered the promise of life to those who believe. Lift us up today in gratitude and expectation—looking back to the first advent of your glorious grace, and forward to the second advent of your magnificent reign.
Glorious Son, you are the center of the divine promises and the hope of the world. You came in the line of Abraham to fulfill the covenant with Abraham, and bless the nations, drawing us into a people of loyalty and peace. Pour out your peace upon me this night; fill my heart with hope renewed, and strengthen my faith by your mighty power. Let me rest on your promises. Let me rest in you—Amen.
When Gabriel told Mary about the miracle child she would bear, here is the angel’s description:
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Lk. 1:31-33, NIV).
This is the child born at Christmas. Great–with no qualification. The Son of God Most High. The king of the line of David, with an everlasting dominion over God’s people Israel.
Glory be to God, who has sent a King for His people. And what a King! A King great beyond all measure, God’s own and only Son. How blessed we are, to be drawn out of darkness into the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Glory be to the Son of the Most High.
Great Redeemer, thank you for the wonder of Christmas. The Son of God has come into our world, One who stands at the head of a new mankind. As Adam brought us low, Jesus Christ can raise us up; thank you, Father, for this blessedness newness in your Son by the Spirit. As I step into a new day, let me walk forward as one made new in the One who makes men new. Let me walk in the light of Christmas.
Another day ends, and your eternity remains, Everlasting King. Thank you for your sovereignty over all the changing turns of this world. Thank you for your light amid the darkness and your kingly care. You have been my shelter and my strength; shelter me still. Renew my strength in the night, and lift me up to serve you in the coming day, for your glory and your kingdom—Amen.
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary with the blessed news that she would bring the Son of God into the world, “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you'” (Lk. 1:28, NIV). After we’re told that Mary was concerned, Gabriel continued, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God” (v.30). Then proceeds the wonderful news of the child she will bear.
This double emphasis on favor underlines the sheer wonder and glory of Christmas. God’s Son came into the world, as a man, to redeem mankind. Mary had been chosen to bear the Son of God; indeed, she was greatly favored by the Most High.
It might have been easy for her not to see things that way. This news probably meant that she would bear significant stigma; it might have meant the end of her engagement to Joseph; it could just possibly have meant that she would be killed, though such a penalty was seldom enforced. But Mary believed God, and so she had a perspective of wonder and gratitude. We do not read of any complaints from her, only a sense of remarkable joy, as expressed in her song (vv.46-55): “My soul glorifies the Lord…”
She was highly favored. And the gift of God was not for her alone; not at all. We too should read these words and think about how highly favored we are to receive God’s wonderful gift.
The Son of God has come for our salvation. God has reached down to us, in our darkness and misery and sin, and brought us the light of life. Christmas is the message of God’s favor, to all who will receive this good news and know forgiveness and life in the Son.
Yours is all dominion and glory, Everlasting King. Our world is in turmoil, but your reign endures. As promised through prophets long ago, you sent your Son to receive the throne of David and rule over God’s people; even now His kingdom advances; and one day you will fulfill all the promises, and your kingdom will know no end. Strengthen me today, to live as a citizen of the heavenly kingdom amid this world of chaos.