Thursday, December 5
Matthew 3:1-12
Have you ever received a gift that didn’t look like what was inside? Maybe someone put a really small gift in a big box. Or maybe someone you didn’t expect to give you a gift surprised you with something meaningful. Today’s Gospel reading offers a very precious gift given by someone few people expected to be a gift-giver.

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, lived out in the wilderness on the margins of his society. God’s Spirit called him to point out what other people couldn’t see: that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus is the gift of God’s kingdom showing up on earth. The kingdom of heaven came to us through a man born to a poor, relatively insignificant family. The kingdom of heaven came to us from a town no one thought important. This gift didn’t look like many people expected. Jesus is a gift that doesn’t come in the normal box.

Jesus, help us to receive the gift you are offering to us, even if it doesn’t come in the way we might expect. Help us to notice where your kingdom is breaking into our everyday lives. Amen.

From O Come, O Come Emmanuel, a publication of Luther Seminary. Used with permission. You may download O Come, O Come Emmanuel via this link. If you subscribe to Luther Seminary’s God Pause, you will receive O Come, O Come, Emmanuel in your email inbox each day of Advent. If you’re not a God Pause subscriber, sign up here and select “God Pause Daily Devotions.” You’ll continue to receive daily God Pause devotions, written by Luther Seminary alumni, after Advent ends.

Writers: Michael Binder ’17, Affiliate Faculty in Congregational Mission and Leadership; Amy Marga, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology. Theological Editor: James L. Boyce ’71, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Greek. Cover photo by Elizabeth Explores on Unsplash.