White stars that stand above the eastern stable.
Look down and offer Him.
The dim adoring light of your belief.
Whose small Heart bleeds with infinite fire.
Shall not this Child
(When we shall hear the bells of His amazing voice)
Conquer the winter of our hateful century? (Thomas Merton)
Many people have already applied themselves to the task of compiling an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used what the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed down to us. Now, after having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, I have also decided to write a carefully ordered account for you, most honorable Theophilus. I want you to have confidence in the soundness of the instruction you have received. (Luke 1:1-4: context)
Because of the way the calendar falls this year, Advent doesn’t start until next Sunday, which is weird because it usually starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That means there are only 15 weekdays during the season, which is not enough to do what I plan to do. So I hope that you’ll forgive me for starting an Advent series a week early. Remember that Advent is the season of the church year during which we prepare for the coming of Christ – both as the infant in the manger and as the one coming once again in great power and glory.
This Advent, we are going to work slowly – very slowly – through Jesus’ birth narrative as found in the Gospel according to Luke. During church, we read the scriptures that will appear in the “Listening In” section over the course of just two or three Sundays. Here during devo180, we are going to cover the same material over 20 days – the entirety of Advent plus this week! We will look at just two to four verses a day, and who knows, perhaps you will find pieces of the story that you’ve never heard before or that strike you in a new way. That is my hope and prayer for myself and for you.
For today I have chosen the very beginning of Luke’s account of the Gospel. While not strictly part of the birth narrative, the opening lines of the Gospel give us a clue as to what Luke is attempting to do. Luke is a scholar. He tells us that he has tried as best he could to present an accurate account of the life and message of Jesus Christ. While first century scholarship differs a great deal from today’s, we can be assured that Luke has put his whole self into his endeavor. Writing this Gospel was his passion. Reading it can be ours.
Notice that he addresses his Gospel to “Theophilus.” While this might have been a real person, it is more likely that Luke is addressing this to all of God’s people, for “Theophilus” means “beloved of God.” And that means Luke’s Gospel is addressed to you.
Dear God, because you love your creation, you sent your son to us in great humility. Help me to live my life with the passion you have instilled in me, following the example of your son. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, keeping awake and alert for the revelation of your love for this world.