WEEK 03

December 15 – December 21

DAILY READINGS

Sunday

Leviticus 16:34

Monday

Luke 1:57-66; Psalm 9:8-20

Tuesday

Luke 1:67-80; Psalm 10:1-8

Wednesday

Luke 2:1-5; Psalm 10:9-18

Thursday

Luke 2:6-7; Psalm 11:1-7

Friday

Luke 2:8-14; Psalm 12:1-8

Saturday

Luke 2:15-18; Psalm 13:1-6

DEVOTIONAL: READ LEVITICUS 16:34

On Christmas Day, we celebrate the coming of Christ through His birth in a stable. In ancient Israel, they had holiday celebrations as well. Just as we might consider Christmas and Easter to be our holiest days, Israel’s holiest day was the tenth day of the seventh month, known as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. On this day the high priest would cleanse himself and the temple before offering sacrifices for sin on behalf of the nation.

In the word atonement, you can see the roots “at one.” Atonement means the reconciliation of two parties who are at odds with one another. The Day of Atonement restored the relationship between Israel and God. The blood that was shed by the atoning sacrifice demonstrated how seriously God takes sin. Without the shedding of blood, there could be no forgiveness of sins. Sin leads to death, and every year Israel would be reminded that they needed a priest, or a mediator, to stand between them and God in order for their relationship with God to be restored.

In the New Testament, we see that this sacrificial system was pointing ahead to the ultimate sacrifice that would be made once and for all by Jesus. Hebrews 9:11-14 tells us that it was not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood that Jesus secured eternal redemption for us. While the Day of Atonement sacrifice had to be performed annually, Christ’s sacrifice was once and for all! During Advent, we celebrate that Jesus came both as our priest who stands between us and God, and as the sacrifice necessary to atone for our sins. Through Jesus, we, a sinful people, can be “at one” with our Holy God. Let us praise God and live as people who have been reconciled to Him!

REFLECTION

How do you feel when you picture the sacrifices of the Old Testament in your mind? What does that picture tell you about your sin?

What does it mean for you personally that Jesus atoned for your sins on the cross? How do you think we should respond to such a sacrifice made on our behalf?

This year, who could you invite to join you for the first time at a Christmas Eve service or to celebrate in another way with you or your family?

DISCUSSION

How will you and your family celebrate Christmas?

PRAYER

O Christ, our High Priest, thank You for Your atonement for my sin. Your sacrifice has made a way for me to know You. Thank You for this gracious gift.

Father, I know that I have sinned against You. Help me to recognize sin for what it really is. My sin is ugly, it comes between us, and only leads to death. Through Jesus who took on my sin and died the death that I should have died, my past and future sins are forgiven! Our relationship is reconciled and I can call You my Father, Savior, Lord, and Friend.

May I rest in Your finished work. There is nothing more that I can do to earn Your love! May I practice being in Your presence. May I pursue You in my daily life just as You pursued me while on the cross. May I worship and never forget that You alone are my joy; You are Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.

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