Stranger in the Manger

stained glass manger

The buzz about Elf on the Shelf is back & friends social media pages are ablaze with postings and photos of their elf’s elaborate antics. This year Elf on the Shelf has a new sidekick- Mensch on the Bench for those celebrating Hanukkah. Advent restores Jesus to the center of the Christmas celebration, because on each Advent day the birth of Jesus is celebrated.

The light from the candles intensifies as you light an additional candle each week illuminating the path to the manger, to the birth of Jesus. Restoring Jesus to the center of Christmas means that there won’t be a stranger in the manger.

Today’s Advent reading is about the counsel of peace and God’s promise to deliver us from spiritual enemies. “Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord.  It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.” Zechariah 6:12-13

The counsel of peace — The peace made for God’s people shall rest upon these two, the kingly and priestly office of Christ; by his priestly office he shall make their peace with God, by his kingly office he shall deliver them from their spiritual enemies.

The world was waiting for Jesus birth for at least 700 years before He was born. The prophet Isaiah foretold that Emmanuel (which means “God with us”) would be born of a virgin. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

That same Jesus loves us with an everlasting love. A love that flows out of the depths of eternity. Before we were born He knew us. Ponder the awesome mystery of a Love that encompasses you from before birth to beyond the grave. -Sarah Young

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