Advent Devotion for Wednesday, December 25

By Pastor Ted Jungkuntz

Read Galatians 4:4-7

Boxes! When brightly wrapped sitting under a tree, they may bring us joy and delight! These gift boxes can reflect the love of family and friends. But not all “boxes” bring such obvious joy. If we feel “boxed in,” we feel caught, trapped, limited, labeled, or cut off.  Who would want such a box?

Listen to the words in the text which indicate the box that Jesus agreed to enter into on our behalf: time, born of a woman, born under the law, slave, son, heir. Each of these expressions has a definition that somehow limits us–“boxes us in.”

Paul declares that Jesus Christ was sent by His Father precisely into our “boxed in” condition (incarnation) in order to redefine this experience (redeem). What we, before this, experienced as a “slave-status” with only limited rights, we now experience as “son/daughter status” with full rights–“beyond expectations.” The Spirit of Jesus has transformed our “box” so that what was given us in our baptism (Gal. 3:26-27) enables us to shed our sin-soiled garments identifying us as prisoners and to be reclothed in the garment of a forgiven child of God.

For over a year I have been ministering to a couple of our members whose “home/box” is a jail cell. Our particular “boxes” may be different on the outside, but on the inside we are all in our own “jail/box” (cancer, financial debt, marriage and family difficulties, school tensions, dementia, chronic pain, house infested with toxic mold, etc.). The Jesus of Christmas has joined us in our box and transformed it by His presence. Wow!

“Come, Lord Jesus! Come with Your Holy Spirit and transform our hearts and minds, so that every ‘box,’ even a smelly manger, becomes a foretaste of ‘paradise.’ Thank You for being in this death-destined box with us until that final day when You call us out of the box of this life and into our heavenly home, where all that suffocates and strangles us is stripped away.”

And now we join in praying a prayer which goes beyond all imaginable expectations:

We pray: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
(Eph. 3:20-21).