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Twelve Days of Advent Detox: preparing the way for Jesus

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At Christmas, we celebrate the incarnation. Our massive Almighty God willingly becoming minuscule. A single, supernaturally fertilised egg growing inside Mary, a young, poor, non-celebrity – an unlikely candidate for the mother of God. From the glory of heaven, Jesus, God, came to this sin-soaked world to bring salvation from sin, forgiveness and cleansing to anyone and everyone who trusts him. That’s why dirty, disregarded shepherds, and foreign, pagan star worshippers feature prominently, as celebrated guests in the Christmas story.

Perhaps nowhere do we see God’s gracious intention more clearly than in Matthew’s genealogy that begins his first-century biography of Jesus: the prologue to Christmas (Matthew 1:1-17). He should know: the traitorous, hated tax collector, welcomed and loved by Jesus as one of his Twelve.

Over the next twelve days, we will pause to ponder twelve imperfect people from this list, their sins, and how they are name-dropped* to encourage us that no one and nothing is beyond redemption. It is the joyful good news that all who own their sins and confess them to our faithful and just God, will not only be forgiven but cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Through faith in Christ we can all be written into the Christmas story.

Whilst there is much to celebrate from their lives, and emulate, we will look at what their lives warn us against – the mistakes they teach us not to make. As we look at these sins, we should recognise that they will, to some degree, be part of our lives too, as we bring them out from darkness into God’s glorious light where they disintegrate and are remembered no more. Our guilt and shame burdens will decrease, and joy unspeakable will increase, as we deepen our fellowship with the Author of Joy. And this is how, like John the Baptist ministering repentance, we can prepare the way for God to come, in power, through us, as we ‘ungrieve’ the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit come!

*alongside showing God’s sovereignty over history, fulfilling promises and prophecies.

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