The Great Gift

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NOTE: The below reflection marks the end of the Advent series by Casey Culbreth! We’re so grateful for her voice here on the Daily Text. If you’ve enjoyed following along, you can pre-order your copy of the book from our store now! It’s 25% off for a limited time and will ship this summer. 

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December 25, 2019

Revelation 21:1-5 (NLT)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

CONSIDER THIS

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Oh, it’s Christmas morning! Merry Christmas!

I remember not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve when I was little because I was so full of excitement for the coming morning. I couldn’t wait to see what Santa had left me under the tree and to drink hot chocolate while I opened my presents!

The thrill that children have on Christmas morning is actually a beautiful hint of the joy and unrestrained excitement that we all will have when our Great Gift, God himself, comes to make his home with us completely, extravagantly, and ultimately.

God first came to us in the birth of a little baby; in his second coming, the whole world, the whole universe, will be born again! 

N.T. Wright describes the ultimate new birth this way:

“What God did in Jesus, coming to an unknowing world and an unwelcoming people, he is doing on a cosmic scale. He is coming to live, for ever, in our midst, a healing, comforting, celebrating presence.” (p. 188)

God-dwelling-with-humanity is the beginning and the end, the purpose and the goal of the entire testimony of scripture. 

This is what we were made for!
To live eternally in a face-to-face encounter with the living God! 

Jesus reflects the heart of the Father as he prays his final prayer before he is arrested and crucified. He prays for his disciples, saying, “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am” (John 17:24). 

Father, I want them to be with me where I am.

God’s heart beats to be with his people. 
God’s heart beats to be with us. 
God’s heart beats to be with you.

But that’s not all. 

When heaven and earth are reborn, everything that has caused destruction or pain or death will disappear. 

The third verse of the song, “Joy to the World” says it perfectly:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Every place of curse, sorrow, and sin will be flooded with the newness of God. No evil thing will be able to stay standing when the flood of God’s presence resides fully on the earth. 

We’ve got a lot of reasons to be excited today!

Did you know that “Joy to the World” is not actually about the birth of Jesus, but is about his second coming? The last verse makes it obvious:

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

The one who spoke creation into existence will speak to the nations of the world. His word will cause every evil empire to fall, and all the people who have lived under oppression and tyranny will be liberated forever by the wonders of our Lord Jesus’ love!

Oh, this is good news for us, friends!

Our God is coming for us! 

Let’s allow ourselves to feel the excitement of little children today.

A wonderful gift is on its way!

God is preparing for a big move; he’s getting ready to make the earth his home. 

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior today, we can be sure that the fullness of the promise is coming:

For a child is born to us,
   a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
    And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
    will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
    for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will make this happen! 
(Isaiah 9:6-7, NLT)

God is here.

THE PRAYER

Jesus, thank you for the wonderful gift of your presence. 
I rejoice in the wonders of your love, my Savior.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Spirit of God, breathe upon me.

THE QUESTION

  • How do you desire to encounter the God who dwells with you today? 
  • What are you most looking forward to when God fully dwells on earth, when all things are made new?
  • What is one thing God has taught you during this Advent season that you want to keep close to your heart?

Casey Culbreth

Song for Meditation:

Joy to the World by Jeremy Riddle

You Made a Way by Matt Gilman

Spotify Playlist for Advent Daily Text

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Casey Page Culbreth is a worship pastor at Grace Church in Cape Coral, Florida. She loves exploring different countries, gardening, hanging out at bookstores and movie theaters, and enjoying coffee with friends. You can follow Casey on Instagram @caseypageculbreth, visit her blog at ByCloudandFire.com, or learn about her worship ministry at caseypage.com.

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