Coming in April – Lord, Teach Us To Pray, daily reflections on The Lord’s Prayer

Advent Devotional 2021 – Third Sunday of Advent


Take a moment to become still, aware of God’s presence, and then pray:

O Emmanuel, God-with-us, You know intimately the trouble and heartache of our world and of our lives. Breathe the quiet calm of Your Spirit over us, and ready our hearts to listen. Silence every voice but Your voice so that we might hear words of life and love. Amen


If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:17-19

What do you think is the best Christmas gift you have ever received? What was there about that gift that made it so special? My sense is that a best gift communicates something like, “I really care about you and know what you need.” Or, a best gift catches us by surprise saying, “I know what you need, even if you don’t.” My wife is especially good at these kinds of gifts. And, a best gift makes us feel special, “I know you and I know what you love.” A best gift usually comes to us at personal cost and sacrifice saying simply, “I love you!”

I think about the best gift ever as I read today’s scripture about God’s gift wrapped up in the Man, Christ Jesus. God’s gift is about human need, about surprise, about love, and great personal cost and sacrifice. God’s gift is “the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness…through the one man, Christ Jesus.” It is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the ages of the ages into eternity, a gift more wonderful than we can comprehend or express.

God’s wondrous gift of the abundance of grace and righteousness is ours as we are now joined to Jesus as we were once joined to Adam. Note Paul’s emphasis on the power and influence of the “one man”, Adam or Christ – “one man’s trespass led to condemnation….one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life…” Adam’s sin became part of his nature, which he passed on to all who have come after him. But as the sin and death of that “one man” came upon us, so life and blessing come upon us through the “one man” Christ Jesus. That is the astonishingly good news of the Gospel!

In a sense, the Bible is a story summed up in the lives of two men, Adam and Christ. Put another way, it is the story of the first Adam and the Last Adam, the story of the old creation and the story of the new creation in Christ. In Adam, it is “disobedience” leading to sin and death, and in Christ, it is “obedience” leading to life and glory. If we understand Adam and Christ, we understand the trajectory of human history.

“Adam’s disobedience in the garden was our downfall. In contrast to Adam, Jesus was obedient in the garden – ‘Not my will but thine be done’ – and by this obedience reversed Adam’s direction of history. Adam brought death to humanity by his self-assertion, so Jesus brings humanity to life by his obedience.”

(Patrick Reardon, “Anthropology and the Incarnation”, Touchstone Magazine)

God so loved the world that He gave His Son so that where Adam disobeyed, Christ obeyed, bringing eternal life. That is the best Christmas gift you will ever receive!


Think back over the past 24 hours and note when you experienced a “high” and a “low”. Share with God how the humanity of Jesus might speak to you in what you experienced.

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