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     Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those upon whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14

Dear heavenly Father, what a privilege it is to begin my day (and continue it) sitting in this absolutely astonishing affirmation: “Peace to men upon whom his favor rests.”

It’s all right there in this doxological declaration, this angelic proclamation, this gospel-filled affirmation—everything my heart longs for, more than I could have ever hoped for. Because of what you have done for us in Jesus, we can know with certainty that you have made your peace with us—that your favor permanently rests upon us, fully and continuously.

Father, if unredeemed angels were in awe of such good news, how much more should we be staggered and astonished, humbled and grateful, liberated and transformed? The gospel is so much more and so much better than realize.

We invest so much of our lives looking for favor—wanting to be wanted, longing to be celebrated, and seeking to be acceptable. Personally, I’ve looked to people and work, to education and exercise, to money and things, even to spiritual disciplines and ministry to give me what you alone give us so freely and fully in the gospel. You cannot love us more; you will not love us less, and there’s nothing we can do about it!

And what a glorious paradox, Father: the more we come alive to the riches of the gospel, the less we obsess about our own lives. We don’t end up thinking more of ourselves, or less of ourselves; we just think of ourselves less often. How freeing!

Lord Jesus, may this old host of angels drive us into a new worship of you this Advent season. It’s only because you submitted to the fullness of God’s disfavor on the cross that we can boast of having the fullness of God’s favor resting on us. We praise, honor, and adore you. We will not look at your cradle without gazing at your cross. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.



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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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