Advent: God With Us – Jesus, Our Immanuel

Luke 2:1-20
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths andlaid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Hymn: What Child is This?
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Current Events
After the terror in Paris last month, my Facebook feed was filled with opinions on whether or not refugees should be allowed into America. As a conservative Christian I feel that it is extra-complicated, and I know that I have to be careful not to let my childhood among refugees make me decide based on nostalgia.
It is a very complex issue that dives into the roles of the church to love and serve and the role of the state to protect. While I can vote and petition, the state’s response is ultimately out of my hands, but I believe that Christians must do something.
The hospitality commands I referenced in the last post, teaching in the Old Testament about the foreigner, and the value of human life lead me to lean towards welcoming refugees. And knowing so many who are fleeing ISIS are Christians (although very few of those who make it very far are Christian), I believe 1 John 3:13-18 applies as well.
Should we be cautious? Yes (vetting refugees strictly and requiring them to follow our laws are both necessary things). Is resettling refugees the answer? No, it is dealing with a symptom of a greater problem. We should not receive refugees and do nothing about ISIS/making a way for the refugees to return home.
If the government decides to allow refugees into the United States, Christians should step up to welcome them, care for them, and share the gospel with them. And if we perish, we perish (good article here).
If the government decides to close our borders (or even if they don’t!), we can support people who are working with the refugees. Examine yourself to make sure you’re not living in fear. Pray fervently, without ceasing, for God to destroy (or save!) ISIS. Educate yourself and others about what ISIS is doing to Christians, Yazidis, other Muslims, women, children, HUMAN BEINGS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. Feminists, you should care about this because of how they are degrading women to the worst extent. Pro-Lifers, you should care about this because they are souls just like the babies in the womb.
We should not just think about how this affects who we vote for, but how “I” personally can be involved.

Some links:
***7 Thought on the Gospel and Refugees*** (If you only read one, read this one!)
Syrian refugees speak in Istanbul
We Welcome Refugees FAQ
Immigration Policy Must be Based on More Than an Appeal to Compassion (food for thought, though I don’t necessarily agree with everything)
Refugees and the Two-Fold Kingdom
The World is Scary – Love Anyway
You’re not a Bad Christian Because You Want to be Cautious

I have mentioned places to donate here, but some more have come to my attention in this time:
Carry the Future (have a baby carrier sitting around you don’t use? The day before I found this I was thinking about natural disasters/evacuation and how I would want to have my Ergo with me, and how hard it must be for refugees without carriers. I was thrilled when someone on Facebook linked to this group!)
Never Again is Now (connected with Glenn Beck, but they are focusing on resettling Christian Refugees)
21st Century Wilberforce (they have a much wider focus, but they have written some about ISIS, specifically about why they are committing genocide, even if the UN refuses to acknowledge it).

– that the refugees would find safety
– for a soul that does not fear, but trusts in God for ultimate protection
– that both short-term and long-term solutions would be found to help
(Tomorrow is Thursday, so please join me in fasting as you pray!)


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