God with Us
“Isaiah foretold the conception and birth of Jesus as a miraculous sign to us (Isaiah 7:10-16), the way in which God would restore us to salvation (Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19). God gives us grace through Jesus Christ, his Son (Romans 1:1-7), who was born of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-25).”
– Thomas Oden in Ancient Christian Devotional
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
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Celebrating Mary, the Mother of God
This week many Christians will celebrate the role of Mary as the “God-bearer” or theotokos. Doctrinal beliefs concerning her nature and place within popular piety, vary greatly between Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox. However, all Christian traditions highly esteem her special place within the narrative of salvation history. The Council of Ephesus in 431 AD helped define Mary’s connection to the confession of Christ’s nature set forth in the Nicene Creed.
Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude
After many years, Joseph is given the opportunity to reconcile with his brothers. This profound act of forgiveness prefigures the cross of Christ (Genesis 45:1-15). God has been gracious to us (Psalm 67). In gratitude, we pursue unity with others; especially believers (Psalm 133). God wants us to avoid hypocrisy, cultivate pure hearts, and demonstrate a humble faith (Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28). Even though we fall into disobedience, God bestows His generous mercy upon us through Christ (Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32).
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