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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 on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14

Dear heavenly Father, as I meditate on the angels’ bold, bodacious and beautiful declaration on the night of Jesus’ birth, simultaneously, I want to dance and fall down in awe.

It’s all right there in this doxological decree—this pregnant-with-hope announcement, this gospel-saturated affirmation—everything my heart longs for and more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. We can know with certainty that you are at peace with us—that we are a people upon whom your favor fully and permanently rests—all because of what you’ve done for us in Jesus. Hallelujah, many times over!

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 by the truth of the gospel—this gospel?

We invest so much of our lives looking for favor—wanting to be wanted, longing to be celebrated, and seeking to be accepted. Personally, I’ve looked to people and work, to education and exercise, to money and things—even to spiritual disciplines and sacrificial ministry, to give me what you alone give us so freely and fully in the gospel—meaning, connection, favor…

And what a freeing paradox—the more we come alive to the riches of your gospel, the less we obsess about our anything. We don’t end up thinking more of ourselves or lessof ourselves; we just think of ourselves less often. How liberating—how soul-freeing and heart-invigorating.

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 for us, that we now boast of having the fullness of God’s favor resting on us. We praise and honor, worship 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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