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01 December 2022

The Birth of a Baby: Date

WorldShare’s ministry partner in Albania, Medical Ambassadors Foundation (MAF), is no stranger to long waits. The church in Vlocisht is awaiting the completion of a replacement church building following earthquake damage to its previous building a few years ago. And the church family in Kloce has been waiting for a property to become available to purchase to use as its new facility for some time now. Please pray with us that the MAF team would keep their eyes fixed on God as they continue to wait for progress. May they remember that God will meet all their needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

An Advent devotional on Matthew 1:1-17
As we begin Advent today, we enter into a period of waiting. We excitedly wait for Christmas Day when we celebrate the first coming of Jesus all those years ago. But we also wait for the second coming of Jesus, on a date yet unknown.

The hardest wait I’ve ever had was for the birth of my son - I’d already had to wait 9 long months and then he finally arrived 10 days after his due-date. The not-knowing was the worst part, knowing my life was about to change but not knowing exactly when. And yet my short wait was nothing compared to the wait faced by those looking forward to the birth of the Messiah.

Some find the Bible’s genealogies dry or irrelevant so skip over them, but let me encourage you to read Matthew 1:1-17 carefully. It all starts with Abraham (verse 2). A man given a hint of the promised Messiah way back in Genesis 12: “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” How long would he have to wait? Way past his lifetime (long as it was!), all the way to David (verse 6). A king, but not the King. So another long wait, all the way to the exile to Babylon (verse 12).

By this point can you imagine how God’s people were feeling? Exasperated that the promise of a Messiah was never going to be kept, especially now they were in exile! Yet our God is a promise-keeping God. If we keep reading, we see from this long list of people comes: "Jesus who is called the Messiah" (verse 16). The promise has been kept, the date has been revealed, the promised one has been born! Praise God for the long-awaited King!

And yet, let’s remember now the date that we are waiting for – when the long-awaited King will return. Just like God’s people in Abraham and David’s time, we know Jesus is coming but we don’t know when. It’s hard, it’s frustrating. But just look at this wonderful section from Matthew. We know God keeps His promises… and this promise will be well worth waiting for.

This Advent, let’s look forward with hope to the unknown but certain date of Jesus' return.

Your Advent 2023 Prayer Challenge:

What are you looking forward to or waiting to happen in 2023? Look up: John 14:1-3, Titus 2:11-14 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Use these Biblical promises to remind yourself this Advent and into the new year to keep looking forward with certain hope to Jesus' return.
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