Daily Prayer Guide: Saturday Dec 19

Scripture Reading

Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.


The Old Testament scriptures show the people of God, over thousands of years, crying out for the Messiah.  In prophecies, in songs, in narratives, we read about their longing for the Promised One.

And then, in the very first chapter of the New Testament, this passage appears. It becomes apparent that the Messiah won’t be coming the way they expected, in triumph and power.  The Messiah will be coming as a little baby – and what’s more, a baby that appears to be illegitimately conceived.  God is going to come to us and change the world forever. And He’s going to do it by entering directly into our weakness and our mess.

The Messiah is referred to with two names here: “Jesus” and “Immanuel.”

“Jesus” is the Greek form of Joshua, which means “Yahweh saves.” The angel tells Joseph that the child will save his people from their sins, which echoes earlier words in Scripture:

O Israel, put your hope in Yahweh,
for with Yahweh is unfailing love, and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
(Psalm 130:7-8)

“Immanuel,” we are told, means “God with us.” God among us. God in the flesh. God who is not distant. God who is done with this separation from us because of our sin. He’s closing the gap and initiating. He’s coming to us.

Reflection and Prayer

Get in a quiet place where you can concentrate. Ask God to help you focus on Him.

Spend some time meditating on the phrase “God with us.” Think about the fact that God is close-by.
Then take some time to meditate on the phrase “Yahweh saves.” (It might help to read and pray through Psalm 130.)

Thank God for who He is. Ask God to make His salvation and His “with-ness” more real to you in this season.

Written by Hannah Busse

Click here to download Week 3 Prayer Guide: Sun Dec 13-Sat 19

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Act Local: Share gifts of time and resources with those in our community. At the Impact Tree in the Atrium, find opportunities available for individuals, families and life groups. All the information you need will be on the cards by the Tree. Take a card – put an ornament on the tree.

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