The fourth and final week of Advent begins tomorrow. This week’s verses from Angie Mosteller’s “How to Do an Advent Wreath” (available on her Celebrating Holidays website) are centered around “love and the presence of the Savior.”
(4.1) His Presence Among Us: Over 400 years before Jesus, Zechariah foretold how God would one day come and live with men. “‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you’” (Zechariah 2:10-11).
(4.2) His Presence as a Human: Jesus left the splendor of heaven to live on earth as a man. Therefore, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5-7).
(4.3) His Presence Declared by an Angel: When Jesus entered the world, a heavenly angel reported the news to shepherds. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:8-11).
(4.4) His Presence Declared by the Heavens: Even the stars made known the presence of Jesus to Wise Men. “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1-2).
(4.5) His Presence Declared by Simeon: A righteous and devout man in Jerusalem named Simeon recognized the presence of the Savior. “Simeon took him [the infant Jesus] in his arms and praised God saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:28-32).
(4.6) His Presence Declared by Anna: The prophetess Anna recognized the presence of Jesus, the Redeemer. “There was also a prophetess, Anna. . . . She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them (Mary and Jospeh) at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
(4.7) His Presence Motivated by Love: God sent Jesus into the world because of his great love for us! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).