A manger, as someone succinctly put it, is a wooden structure large enough to hold the Bread of Life. See how this common stable fixture is lifted up to a place of sacred significance. A manger is not enough, though, not even one that holds the Bread of Life. It is only a beginning. The fulfillment lies in another wooden fixture. Looming in the midnight shadows of the manger, there is the figure of the Cross. Like the manger, it is a wooden structure large enough to hold the Bread of Life. The manger is a symbol of joy, but a very peculiar joy, for even as we celebrate Christmas, we know that the day of Crucifixion is also at hand.
In these meditations for Advent and Christmas, come and consider the King who was born in a stable, crowned with thorns and now reigns forever. Trace the path of prophets who foresaw Him, angels who announced Him, shepherds who witnessed Him and wise men who pursued Him. Ponder with Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna what it means to watch, wait, listen and believe. Learn why Jesus came and how His birth, life, death and resurrection are the reason for every season.
Advent is a time of waiting and preparation. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” In ancient Rome, the adventus was a ceremony in honor of the emperor, welcoming him into the city. The Christian season of Advent is a time of watching and welcoming that focuses on the coming of Jesus, God’s Anointed King, into the world.
At Christmas, we celebrate the first coming of King Jesus, when He established the kingdom of God. But we also keep an eye toward the second coming, when He will return once again and the kingdom of God will fill all the earth. In the meantime, we live between the comings as the kingdom of God increases and multiplies.
In Let Earth Receive Her King, we will explore some of the ancient promises God made to Abraham, David and the Old Testament prophets. We will also consider how the hope of Israel and the salvation of the world began to be realized two thousand years ago as we look at the Christmas story in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and taste of the rich meaning of the Incarnation in the Gospel of John and the letters of Paul.
Let us together prepare our hearts and increase our expectation about what God has done at Christmas, is doing now in this present time and will do next in the world through His kingdom — and His King, Jesus the Messiah.
O the Happiness! ~ from Psalm 1
O the happiness!
I do not walk in the counsel of those who are ungodly;
I do not seek out or follow their advice.
I do not stand in the path with those who purpose to do what is wrong.
I do not sit with those who mock what is good.
But my delight is in the instruction of Yahweh,
I think about it all the time.
So I am like a tree planted by rivers of water,
Established, well-rooted, well-fed,
That bears its fruit abundantly in its season;
And its leaf does not wither.
Whatever I do prospers.
The judgment of Yahweh is for me, not against me.
I stand with the people who stand in awe of Him,
And Yahweh watches over my path.
O the happiness!
My King ~ from Psalm 5
Yahweh is my King and my God.
To Him I will pray.
In the morning, He hears my voice.
In the morning, I lay my requests before Him
I wait and I watch
And I look to Him in expectation.
By His great mercy, I come before Him.
I bow down and worship Him,
As His holy temple, in whom He dwells.*
He leads me in all that is right
And He straightens out my path before me.
My heart is light because I trust in Him.
I shout wildly because He defends me.
I jump for joy because I love His name.
For Yahweh blesses those who are right with Him,
He surrounds them with His favor.
He surrounds me with His favor,
All around me, as with a shield.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: Confessing the Psalms
Psalm 1 ~ The Happiness
Psalms 3-4 ~ A Shield All Around Me
Psalm 5 ~ My King
Psalm 16 ~ The Portion of My Inheritance
Psalm 18 ~ My Strength in Time of Struggle
Psalm 19 ~ The Instruction of Yahweh
Psalm 20 ~ My Help From Heaven
Psalm 21 ~ Victorious Joy
Psalm 23 ~ My Shepherd
Psalm 25 ~ My Whole Life
Psalm 26 ~ Yahweh Clears My Name
Psalm 27 ~ The Goodness of Yahweh in My Life
Psalm 28 ~ Yahweh’s Treasured Ones
Psalm 32 ~ The Happiness of Being Forgiven
Psalm 34 ~ A Brag About Yahweh
Psalm 35 ~ Yahweh Contends for Me
Psalm 36 ~ The Covenant Love of Yahweh
Psalm 37 ~ Possess the Land in Patience
Psalm 40 ~ Yahweh, My Rescue
Psalm 41 ~ The Happiness of Being Helped
Psalm 46 ~ Abundantly Available Help
Psalm 52 ~ Like a Green Olive Tree
Psalm 56 ~ Yahweh is For Me
Psalm 57 ~ Yahweh in the Storm
Psalm 61 ~ When My Heart is Overwhelmed
Psalm 62 ~ God My Calm
Psalm 63 ~ Yahweh is Life and Joy
Psalm 66 ~ What Yahweh Has Done for Me
Psalm 71 ~ Yahweh All My Days
Psalm 73 ~ A Sudden Realization
Psalm 77 ~ The Tenacity of Faith
Psalm 81 ~ Fully Satisfied in Yahweh
Psalm 84 ~ Yahweh’s Dwelling Place
Psalm 85 ~ The Glory of Yahweh in Our Land
Psalm 91 ~ My Sheltering Place
Psalm 92 ~ The Hand of Yahweh in My Life
Psalm 94 ~ Yahweh Sets Things Right
Psalm 101 ~ Honoring Yahweh
Psalm 103 ~ Yahweh’s Benefits
Psalm 112 ~ A Life Well-Lived
Psalm 115 ~ All My Glory is in Yahweh
Psalm 116 ~ Why I Love Yahweh
Psalm 118 ~ Giving Thanks to Yahweh
Psalm 121 ~ I Turn to Yahweh
Psalm 126 ~ Yahweh Frees the Captives
Psalm 127 ~ A Legacy in Yahweh
Psalm 128 ~ The Extravagant Blessing
Psalm 130 ~ Forgiveness and Help
Psalm 131 ~ Quieting Myself in Yahweh
Psalm 133 ~ Where the Anointing Flows
Psalm 136 ~ Yahweh’s Faithful Love for Me
Psalm 138 ~ Before All the Kings of the Earth
Psalm 139 ~ Yahweh Knows Me
Psalm 140 ~ His Victory Over My Enemies
Psalm 141 ~ Help in a Time of Evil
Psalm 142 ~ When I Feel Abandoned
Psalm 143 ~ When My Soul Feels Weak
Psalm 144 ~ From Battle to Blessing
Psalm 145 ~ My King and My God
Psalm 146 ~ All My Life is All About Him