Driftless Daily Reflections
Week of December 21-27
Monday, December 21, 2020: Incarnation?
Daily reading: Isaiah 7:10-16; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Incarnation is defined as “taking on flesh” or “becoming human.” What a radical idea it is that God is coming
among us in the One envisioned by Isaiah: “the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name
him Immanuel.” The Kingdom of heaven comes to earth in the One named Immanuel; “God with us.” Because
Christ comes to be among us, everything is turned upside down. The low and despised becomes that which is
exalted. In your life, what difference does it make that God came among us in human flesh? Ask God to help you
believe that God has entered our world to initiate a new creation even in the midst of our messy lives.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020: A Sign?
Daily reading: Isaiah 7:10-16 again; Luke 2:12-13
Through Isaiah, God gives Ahaz a sign, or a promise. In the original context, the promise is that a young woman
will bear a child. This child will perpetuate David’s line (verse 14 most likely refers to Ahaz’s wife), continuing
God’s promised line of leadership. The child’s name will be Immanuel, signaling that God will be with his people
in a new way. Unlike so many of the kings before him, this child-king will develop a strong moral sense by the
time he’s ready for solid food, implying that he will rule with righteousness. In Luke, we find the fulfillment of
this sign of God. Can you more fully believe that God has entered into our world to forgive our sins and set us
free from sin and death? If so, how would we live differently?
Wednesday, December 23, 2020: Who?
Daily reading: Matthew 1:18-25; Isaiah 61:1-3
In his narrative about Jesus’ birth, Matthew focuses on this question: “who is this child?” With this text’s
connection to the genealogy before it, this child is placed within the context of David’s line and God’s promise of
a great King to come. That Matthew intentionally uses the phrase “the genesis of Jesus” (verse 1) points to the
reality that Jesus is part of God’s creation history. His birth has cosmic significance. In him a new creation has
begun. Matthew answers this question by telling us the child’s name: Jesus, or “God saves.” The angel tells Joseph
that this name points to the reality that this child will be God’s instrument to save “his people” from their sins.
As the story unfolds, we’ll discover that this child is the promised, anointed One. Who is Jesus to you? Ask God
to increase your understanding and experience of the anointed One, Jesus.
Thursday, December 24, 2020: Nature?
Daily reading: Matthew 1:18-25 again; Luke 1:27
Matthew also asks, “what is Jesus’ nature?” To answer, he points to the “virgin conception.” While belief in the
virgin conception is a test of orthodoxy in many Christian circles today, it doesn’t seem to have been significant
in the New Testament community. Only Matthew and Luke mention it. Apparently it became significant by the
end of the second century, when the Apostle’s Creed was written. It explains how Jesus can be both fully God
and fully man. We confess this idea every time we say the Apostles’ Creed. Incarnation; God in human flesh, in
the One named Jesus. Can you grasp the incredible reality that God would come among us? Ask God to reveal
more clearly to you the enormity of this reality every day.
Friday, December 25, 2020: Waiting?
Daily reading: Luke 2:1-20; Psalm 130:5
Advent is a season of waiting. Today the wait is over, at least partially. We believe that God came to be with us
on this night more than 2,000 years ago! While Christmas announces God’s presence with us and the depth of
God’s love for us, our rescue is not yet complete. We await that day when Jesus returns, when God’s work of
reconciliation, redemption and recreation is completed – not by our efforts alone, but by God’s grace working in
and through us. We live by faith in this tension and mystery, that the King of kings is here with us now, and will
one day return to finish what he started. The King is here, and the King is coming. That’s a mystery. But God’s
relentless love for you is not. What are you celebrating today? Ask God to fill you to overflowing with the good
news of Christmas.
Saturday, December 26, 2020: Worship?
Daily reading: Matthew 2:1-8; Psalm 25:5
We worship the one who came to us at Christmas. Even 2,000 years ago, wise men from the East came to
Jerusalem and asked where this child was born so they could worship him. Centuries later, we are still asking the
same kinds of questions. Who is he? Where is he? How can we worship him? Even Herod asked the same
questions, although his motives were completely wrong. Stop and pause for just five minutes to consider how
incredible God’s plan was, and is. Thank God for Jesus, and how his coming to us can change the way we live.
Sunday, December 27, 2020: Rescue?
Daily reading: Daniel 6:27; 2 Timothy 4:18
Entombed by sin and death in this very dark and broken world, we wonder if there is hope for us. We may
wonder if God really loves us, or if God has washed his cosmic hands of us and leave us to ourselves. That is the
question that Christmas answers. Christmas announces a rescue operation. God loves you and me and all of
this creation so deeply, so desperately, that God chose to come down from heaven to reach us, to bring light
and life to the darkness and deadness of this world. God is relentlessly pursuing us with unconditional,