Advent 2022 — December 9


15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 16:15-17

37 Turn away my eyes from looking at what is worthless;
revive me in your ways.
38 Fulfill your word to your servant,
which is to bring about a reverence for you….

Psalm 119:37-38

This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

“Get Your Eyes Ready for Christmas”[1]
by John Piper

The absolutely indispensable work of God in revealing the Son—both then to Peter and now to you and me—is not the adding to what we see and hear in Jesus himself but the opening of the eyes of our hearts to taste and see the true divine glory of what is really there in Jesus.

When people have doubts about the truth of Jesus, don’t send them away to seek special messages from God. Point them to Christ. Tell them what you have seen and heard in his life and teachings. Why? Because this is where God breaks in with his revealing power. He loves to glorify his Son! He loves to open the eyes of the blind when they are looking at his Son!

God does not reveal his Son to me by coming to me and saying, “Now, John, I know that you don’t see anything magnificent in my Son. You don’t see him as all-glorious and divine and attractive above all worldly goods. You don’t see him as your all-satisfying treasure, and you don’t see his holiness and wisdom and power and love as beautiful beyond measure. But take my word for it, he is all that. Just believe it.” No!

Such faith would be no honor to the Son of God. It cannot glorify the Son. Saving faith is based on a spiritual sight of Jesus as he is in himself, the all-glorious Son of God. And this spiritual sight is given to us through his inspired Word, the Scriptures. And the eyes of our hearts are opened to recognize him and receive him not by the wisdom of flesh and blood but by the revealing work of his heavenly Father.

The apostle Paul said, “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

How shall you prepare your heart this Christmas to receive Christ? Fix your gaze on him in the Bible. Look to Christ! Consider Jesus. And pray. Look beyond your own flesh and blood, and ask that God would give you eyes to see and ears to hear that you might cry out with Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Application & Challenge

How can you fix your eyes on Jesus? Maybe, outside of these Advent readings and devotions, you have not been spending time in God’s Word, or maybe there is something you need to stop looking at – an ungodly TV show, inappropriate websites, etc. If you are a smartphone user, look at your screen time. On an iPhone, it will tell you how many hours – that’s right hours – you have spent that day and week on various apps and/or websites.

Challenge yourself to:

  • Repent of fixing your eyes on worthless things and pray to God to turn your eyes from worthless things from worthless things and that He revive you.
  • Delete apps that you have allowed to eat up too much of your time, and find an accountability partner to help you monitor your phone use and help find healthy balance.

[1] John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014).

Advent 2022 — December 8

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited to help and has redeemed his people,
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 just as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from earliest times—
71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us,
72 to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to Abraham our father,
to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
could serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
76 And so you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the merciful compassion of our God
by which the dawn will visit to help us from on high,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to direct our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child kept growing and becoming strong in spirit, and was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Luke 1:67-80

This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

“Zechariah’s Song: Why Do You Need God? (Part 2)”[1]
by Alistair Begg

Somebody’s Going to Pay for This

A few years ago I was driving my brother-in-law’s car round the streets of Glasgow in Scotland with my nieces in the back seat. Suddenly one of them said, “Uncle Alistair, you’ve gone wrong!” And while I was trying to rectify the situation, I crashed into a van. I’ll never forget—this fellow jumped out immediately, and he looked at his van and he looked at me, and he said, “Somebody’s going to pay for this.”

That was the first (though not the only) phrase out of his mouth, and he was right. A wrong had been done. A hurt had been caused. The mark had been missed. And somebody was going to have to pay in order for things to be put right. Someone would have to bear a cost.

And someone will have to bear the cost for our sin. The mighty God who is really there does not just wink at sin. He cares about how our sin spoils the world he made, and spoils the lives of those he made. He cares about how we reject his authority and seek to sit in his place. It makes him justifiably angry. He does not just let people off. He is a God who loves justice and brings justice, and so there is a punishment to be faced—there is a price to be paid.

The problem that confronts us is that we are unable to rectify the situation. We must pay the price—unless someone comes from the outside who does not share our predicament and who can pay the price to free us from the consequences of our actions; as if my brother-in-law had turned up as that fellow in the van said, “Somebody’s going to pay for this,” and had dug into his wallet and paid what it would cost to restore that man’s van and satisfy his justified anger. When it comes to our sin, that someone can only be God himself. We need God to come and we need God to help.

And this brings us back to Zechariah, because he is singing about the truth that God has done just that. He has turned up. And he has turned up to redeem us—to pay the price, bear the cost, of freeing us and restoring us so that we can know him and live with him again, forever.

A Question of Definition

At the heart of understanding the first Christmas, and why it is such good news, is an understanding of the nature of your predicament. And that involves accepting the nature of sinfulness—your sinfulness; and the seriousness of sin—your sin.

In other words, it involves letting God, not contemporary society, define sin. I read in a survey recently that only 17% of the American population refer to God in any way when asked to define “sin.” 83% see sin as merely something negative that’s had an impact on their life that they need to get cleaned up. And so they’ll never understand what God was doing at the first Christmas. He did not come merely to help us put the bits and pieces of our lives together in a way that gives us wholeness and stability. He did not come to provide a little religious Energizer battery that would make us nicer people. He did not even come just to make your life happy.

He came because you were drowning, pulled down by the weight of your sin and miles from the shore. If you’re drowning, it doesn’t help you for someone to come along in a boat and say, Come on now, thrash a little more. Try a little harder. Swim a bit better. You’ll be able to get yourself out of that mess. No, you need someone to reach down their hand, grasp yours, and pull you up to safety and take you to the shore. And if you know you are drowning, you don’t refuse the person whose hand is offered to you. You grab it, and you splutter your gratitude.

And that is what Zechariah is doing. He knows that his son, John, will “go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation”—of rescue—“through the forgiveness of their sins.” He knows that John will spend his life saying, Hold on. God is coming. And God will rescue you. And so Zechariah sings, just as everyone who grasps what God was doing at the first Christmas sings:

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” God was moving into the neighborhood to free people from their sins and to fill up the space between himself and sinful people—sinful you and me.


[1] Alistair Begg, Christmas Playlist: Four Songs That Bring You to the Heart of Christmas (The Good Book Company, 2016), 35–38.

Advent 2022 — December 7

67 And his[1] father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited to help and has redeemed his people,
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 just as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from earliest times—
71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us,
72 to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to Abraham our father,
to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
could serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
76 And so you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the merciful compassion of our God
by which the dawn will visit to help us from on high,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to direct our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child kept growing and becoming strong in spirit, and was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Luke 1:67-80


“Zechariah’s Song: Why Do You Need God? (Part 1)”[2]
by Alistair Begg

Song lyrics seem to have a way of embedding themselves in our memory, so that as soon as we hear the first line, we know the song. Growing up in the sixties, my memorable first lines include:

“When I get older, losing my hair …

“Hello darkness, my old friend …

“Hey mister, that’s me up on the jukebox …

“There is a house in New Orleans …

How did you score on knowing the songs? (If you’re young enough to be struggling with these classics, google the first line to give you the song.)

When it comes to first lines, the opening words of the song of Zechariah deserve to be in anyone’s list of memorable ones. While Mary’s is the first song recorded in Luke’s Gospel, hers was not the first miraculous pregnancy to be described in Luke’s Gospel. That belonged to her relative Elizabeth. She and her husband, Zechariah, had been “childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old” (Luke 1:7). But before the angel Gabriel visited Mary, he had visited Zechariah to announce that his wife would fall pregnant, and that their son, John, would grow up “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (v 17). John would be the warm-up act for the main event.

And that’s what Zechariah sang about as his son lay in his arms. It’s a song whose first line contains two words that lie at the heart of the Christmas message…. Here are the two words: “come” and “redeemed.”

A Visit with a Purpose

God has come to visit. He is moving into the neighborhood. But why? To redeem. If you want to understand the first Christmas—if you want to grasp the purpose of God’s visit—you need to understand redemption. So what is that about?

“Redemption” is the act of providing a payment to free someone. And Zechariah is explaining God’s work in his present situation by referencing God’s work in the past—in the time of the exodus, a millennium and a half before. It was the time when (to give an extremely cut-down summary!) God’s people Israel were stuck in Egypt, enslaved by Pharaoh. Despite Pharaoh’s resistance, God freed them through a series of plagues sent against the inhabitants of Egypt. The last plague was the worst—death. The oldest son in each family would die, God warned. But God also provided a way out—through the death of a lamb. The lamb died, the people who trusted God lived, and Pharaoh, devastated by what his decision to resist God had done to his nation, let them go. God had “redeemed” his people.

Well, that is great, and it is an exciting historical story—but what does it have to do with Zechariah, and what does it have to do with you and me?! Everything, actually—because, Zechariah says, God is redeeming people all over again. Not from enslavement to an Egyptian king, but from enslavement to their own sin—to our own sin. We need, he says, “forgiveness of [our] sins.”

What Zechariah is referring to here is not being freed from a material plight, but a moral plight. “Sin” is an unpopular word, but it is a word the Bible unashamedly uses, and it is a word which explains both what we see within us and what we see around us. Sin is essentially me putting myself where God deserves to be—in the place of authority and majesty, running my own life, charting my own course. It is saying to God, whether very politely or extremely angrily, I don’t want you, I won’t obey your commands, I will not listen to your word. I will call the shots.

Literally, to “sin” means to miss the mark. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the World Darts Championships. One of the main competitions is held in England each Christmas. Two competitors stand nearly eight feet from a board 18 inches wide and throw darts at it. Thousands turn up to watch them. And the worst thing the players can do is to miss the board—to throw short or to throw wide. These contestants are wonderful at it, and it sounds very easy—but if you’ve never tried it, have a go. It’s not as simple as it looks!

And the Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Everyone throws and misses when it comes to glorifying—to recognizing, pleasing, loving and following—the God who made us, who sustains us, and who gives us everything we have. You can miss the target by an inch, or by a mile, but no one fails to miss. Often, we don’t much care whether we miss or not—we are not even aiming at living in a way that pleases God, but rather one that pleases ourselves. But even when we do care and do try to obey God, we still miss. Even on my best day, I miss the mark, the target. I sin. Sin is something we choose, and yet sin is also something that traps us. We can’t stop, even if we want to. Like a bad habit that proves impossible to break, we’re enslaved to what we’ve chosen.

Spoiled and Separated

And sin is not merely a bad habit. In fact, sin is our greatest problem. People suggest that our greatest problem is a lack of education. Or a lack of social welfare. Or a lack of self-esteem. But if that’s the case, then why are family gatherings at Christmas so often occasions of discord and conflict, even for the most academically gifted, well-off, personally confident people? Why is this not all fixed by now? Why is it not all sorted out? It is not fundamentally a lack of education or welfare or self-esteem that spoils things. It is sin. Sin causes alienation from others. It causes brokenness at the hands of others—and perhaps you are a victim of something that has been done to you. It causes conflict with others—not only wars on a world stage, but closer to home, conflict within our hearts, our houses, our marriages. The lies we tell. The envy we feel. The anger we show. Each time we miss the mark, we spoil our own lives and the lives of those around us.

But this “spoiled-ness” is not the most serious aspect of sin—because my sin has crippled my ability to know God and to live with God. I can’t know God. I can’t make my way back to God because I am trapped in my sin, enslaved by my sin. I’m stuck with being separated from God—both in my present and in my eternal future. We’re cosmically stuck, hopelessly separated.

The singer, Sting, once sang:

Everyone I know is lonely And God’s so far away
And my heart belongs to no one,
So now sometimes I pray
Please take the space between us
And fill it up some way.

I often hear people say that death is the great equalizer. The idea is that in eternity, all bets are off and, no matter what we believed or how we lived, the scale is reset. The Bible has a very different view. One early Christian, Paul, put it this way: “[God] has set a day when he will judge the world” (Acts 17:31). It will be absolutely fair and it will be completely final. There will be no redos. We have separated ourselves from God’s love because we have sinned. And so we will be separated from God for all eternity, suffering the punishment of eternity in the place Jesus called “hell”—a place separated from God and everything that is good.

Actually, this view of eternity—one that includes judgment—is the one that best fits our sense of justice. Whenever we hear on the news about some terrible human act and think, Why doesn’t God do something about that? we are asking him to judge. The Bible says that he will. All sin will be judged, and all sin will be punished by separation. That is very good news when we suffer at the hands of sinful people, and deeply troubling news because we ourselves are sinful people. Sin is our greatest problem, because it separates us from the God whom we were made to know and designed to enjoy. But in another sense, the truth about sin is also our greatest insight, because it explains life as we experience it. There is a mighty, loving God who made us—and so we are capable of acts of greatness and kindness. But we reject that God’s authority—and so we are capable of selfishness and evil. We were made to enjoy life with God eternally, but we all choose to live in defiance of him. Hence the flatness, the “blues” that come after Christmas as once again we get beyond the busyness and distraction of the festivities and think deep down, I don’t have the answer. There’s not a gift I could buy or a gift I can receive that seems to satisfy. There’s not a vacation I could enjoy, there’s not a book I could read, or a piece of music I could listen to that will actually fill the hole. When we feel this, we are really saying, God, please take the space between us, and fill it up some way. We are asking God to redeem us from the sin we have chosen—from the slavery we cannot escape and the debt we cannot repay.


[1] Zechariah was John the Baptist’s father.

[2] Alistair Begg, Christmas Playlist: Four Songs That Bring You to the Heart of Christmas (The Good Book Company, 2016), 27–35.

Advent 2022 — December 6

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 And all these things are from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as if God were imploring you through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we could become the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

“December 6”[1] by Paul David Tripp

That baby in the manger came as our ultimate substitute.
Everything he would do, he would do on our behalf, for our salvation.

For once I was excited to go to Spanish class. Word had gotten out that our regular Spanish teacher was sick, and we would have a substitute. I had also heard something about the substitute: she wasn’t a Spanish teacher. I thought I had hit the jackpot. We would probably do nothing in class and would surely be assigned no homework. For the first time in my life, I rushed to Spanish class.

My apologies to any substitutes who may read this, but I grew up expecting very little from the substitute teachers who filled in for our regular instructors. They tended to be unprepared (probably because they were called at the last minute) and not very knowledgeable (probably because they were filling outside of their area of expertise), and because of these things, they were often nervous and ill at ease.

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus came as our substitute, but in hearing that, you can throw out all experiences you have had with substitute teachers. Jesus came as the ultimate substitute to stand in our place, but he came to live infinitely better than any of us could ever live on our own. One of the ways the Bible talks about this is to call Jesus the “second Adam.” It is a provocative title, worth examining.

The first Adam was created by God and placed in a perfect world, in perfect relationship with God. Adam literally had it all: no earthly needs unmet and no separation between him and God. But in an act of outrageous rebellion against God, he took his life into his own hands, stepped outside God’s boundaries, and did exactly what God had warned him not to do. He had it all, but he miserably failed, and when he did, sin, sickness, and suffering entered the world. Like fine china thrown on the pavement, the perfection of the world shattered. Adam now lived under God’s judgment, and the world groaned in brokenness.

What the world cried out for was a substitute, but not any substitute would do. This substitute needed to be special in every way, so that he would not fail the test as the first Adam had. He had to be perfect in righteousness and mighty in power, or he too would fail. No one on earth could meet the requirements, so God sent the only One who was up to the task, the only One who would not succumb to the pressure and fail the test. God sent the one person whom he knew was qualified to be the second Adam: his Son.

Everything Jesus did, from the first moment of his birth until his ascension to the right hand of his Father, he did as our substitute. What he did in every situation, location, and relationship, he did in our place. Every decision he made, every temptation he faced, every trial or moment of suffering he endured, was on our behalf. But this is vital to understand: he never failed one single test. He faced all the ravages of life in this fallen world without sinning in any way. He was the perfect substitute. And because Jesus was the perfect substitute, on the cross he made the perfectly acceptable sacrifice, and because he did, he satisfied God’s requirement, and the penalty for our sin was lifted. Jesus, the second Adam, is our first and only hope in life and death. Because of his substitution we are redeemed. God sent One in our place who would do infinitely better than we could ever do, because our salvation depended upon it. The Christmas story is the most glorious stand-in story ever!


[1] Paul David Tripp, Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).

Advent 2022 — December 5

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9:2-7

This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

“Sermon on Christmas”[1] by Augustine of Hippo

He, through whom time was made, was made in time; and He, older by eternity than the world itself, was younger in age than many of His servants in the world.

He, who made man, was made man; He was given existence by a mother whom He brought into existence; He was carried in hands which He formed; He nursed at breasts which He filled; He cried like a babe in the manger in speechless infancy – this Word without which human eloquence is speechless!

Application & Challenge

For some people, the Christmas season is full – full of family, friends, joy, activity, and so on. But, for others, it feels empty. If we have the hope that comes from faith in Jesus, we know what it is to have “walked in darkness” and the hope that comes from having “seen a great light” – we know what it is to receive “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10).

Pick at least one of the following ways to reach out to those who need the Light shined in their lives:

  • Send a Christmas card with a hand-written note to someone who needs some encouragement or who may be feeling alone. Include a Bible verse to point them to Jesus.
  • Call or text someone who has lost a loved one over the past year. Let them know you love them and that Jesus loves them, too. If they feel like sharing, listen more than you talk.

[1] St. Augustine, Thomas Comerford Lawler (translator, editor), Sermons for Christmas and Epiphany (The Newman Press: Mahwah, NJ, 1952).

Advent 2022 — December 4

16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel

to the Lord their God.

17 And he will go on before him

in the spirit and power of Elijah,

to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,

and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous,

to prepare for the Lord a people made ready.”

Luke 1:16-17


“Prepare the Way” [1] by John Piper

What John the Baptist did for Israel, Advent can do for us. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared. I mean spiritually unprepared. Its joy and impact will be so much greater if you are ready!

That you might be prepared…

First, meditate on the fact that we need a Savior. Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior. Let these short Advent meditations help awaken in you a bittersweet sense of need for the Savior.

Second, engage in sober self-examination. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23–24) Let every heart prepare him room… by cleaning house.

Third, build God-centered anticipation and expectancy and excitement into your home—especially for the children. If you are excited about Christ, they will be too. If you can only make Christmas exciting with material things, how will the children get a thirst for God? Bend the efforts of your imagination to make the wonder of the King’s arrival visible for the children. Fourth, be much in the Scriptures, and memorize the great passages! “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord!” (Jeremiah 23:29) Gather ‘round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights.


[1] John Piper, Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent 2013 (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2013).

Advent 2022 — December 3

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

“What Advent is All About”[1] by John Piper

Christmas is about the coming of Christ into the world. It’s about the Son of God, who existed eternally with the Father as “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,” taking on human nature and becoming man (Hebrews 1:3).

It’s about the virgin birth of a child conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit so that he is the Son of God, not the way you and I are sons of God, but in an utterly unique way (Luke 1:35).

It’s about the coming of a man named Jesus in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

It’s about the coming of the “fullness of time” that had been prophesied by the prophets of old that a ruler would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); and a child would be born called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); and a Messiah, an anointed one, a shoot from the stem of Jesse, a Son of David, a King, would come (Isaiah 11:1–4; Zechariah 9:9).

And, according to Mark 10:45, Christmas is about the coming of the Son of Man who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” These words in Mark 10:45, as a brief expression of Christmas, are what I hope God will fix in your mind and heart this Advent. Open your heart to receive the best present imaginable: Jesus giving himself to die for you and to serve you all the rest of eternity. Receive this. Turn away from self-help and sin. Become like little children. Trust him. Trust him. Trust him with your life.


[1] John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014).

Advent 2022 — December 2

14 Then Yahweh God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
you will be cursed
more than any domesticated animal
and more than any wild animal.
On your belly you shall go
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put hostility
between you and between the woman,
and between your offspring and between her offspring;
he will strike you on the head,
and you will strike him on the heel.”

Genesis 3:14-15

12 Because of this, just as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death spread to all people because all sinned. 13 For until the law, sin was in the world, but sin is not charged to one’s account when there is no law. 14 But death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who is to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass, for if by the trespass of the one, the many died, by much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, multiply to the many. 16 And the gift is not as through the one who sinned, for on the one hand, judgment from the one sin led to condemnation, but the gift, from many trespasses, led to justification. 17 For if by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through the one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. 18 Consequently therefore, as through one trespass came condemnation to all people, so also through one righteous deed came justification of life to all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in as a side issue, in order that the trespass could increase, but where sin increased, grace was present in greater abundance, 21 so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:12-21

This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

“A Very Old Promise”[1] by David Platt

Back in Genesis 3, before sin had stained God’s good creation, Adam and Eve enjoyed fellowship with God in the garden. The first couple was free to enjoy God, and they were given dominion over His creation. However, Satan (through the serpent) deceived Eve into eating from the only tree that God had declared off limits. Adam went along with his wife and disobeyed God, and this led to God’s curse on creation. In today’s reading God declared that there would be war between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman. Yet, in the midst of this devastation, God gave a hope-filled promise: Eve’s offspring would “bruise” the serpent’s head and ultimately prevail.

Sin and death continued to reign long after Eve and her children died, and it looked as if God’s promise in Genesis 3 was in jeopardy. Even Israel’s greatest heroes of the faith could not overcome sin completely. But things were about to change with the birth of Christ. As a great, great, great grandchild of Eve, He would fulfill God’s long-standing promise. The head of the serpent would soon be crushed through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Application & Challenge

If you are in Christ, you are familiar with promises made in Scripture that give hope. But there are many who do not know Him. Some say that it is judging to discern whether or not a person is saved or lost, but it could mean the difference between eternal life or death – if someone shares the gospel with them.

Think of one person who you think does not know Jesus or might not know Him that you will see in within the next few days.

  • First, pray for them and ask God to show Himself to them through His Word and save them.
  • Then, pray for God to provide someone to share His gospel with the person.
  • Finally, thank God that He has sent you to share the gospel with them and ask Him to provide an opportunity and courage to share Him with them!

[1] David Platt, To Us a Son is Given: A Daily Reading Guide for Advent (Birmingham, AL: Radical, Inc., 2017), 21-22.

Advent 2022 — December 1

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace
among people with whom He is pleased!”

Luke 2:13-14

And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one of whom had a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they were singing a new song, saying,

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slaughtered,
and bought people for God by Your blood
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:8-10

This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

“December 1”[1] by Paul David Tripp

The angels sang because the everlasting Father had come
to extend arms of redeeming grace to all who would give their hearts to him.

It is a wonderful, mysterious, hard-to-grasp, and beyond-the-scope-of-our-normal-reasoning story. But when you get it, when you come to fully understand the purpose and implications of this story, you will sing too. This story’s amazing plot wasn’t written when Mary got pregnant or when prophets began foretelling it or when God announced it after the disastrous rebellion of Adam and Eve. This story is so miraculous in every way that it could have only come out of the mind of God in eternity before the foundations of the earth were laid down by his mighty hand. It points to the divine imagination and screams the power of the divine hand. No man could write this plot and if he did, no man could expedite what he had written. This story is itself an argument for the existence of God and is a portrait of his holy character.

The beautiful world that God had created was now broken and groaning—the direct result of the rebellion of the ones God had made in his own image and had placed his guiding and providing love upon. The evidence of its brokenness was everywhere, from the inner recesses of the hearts of people, to violence and corruption of government, to the existence of plagues and diseases. Sure, there was beauty still to be seen, but the whole world groaned under the weight of its brokenness. It would have been just for God to stay his distance, to let the world quake and groan. It would have been a just response to the arrogant rebellion that brought this brokenness on the world. But in one of the gorgeous mysteries of God’s sovereign grace, he looked on his broken, rebellious world with eyes of mercy.

Yes, God would act decisively, and his actions would be what he had planned in the beginning, but they would be a stunning surprise to every mere mortal. His response would not be condemnation and judgment. His response would not be a meting out of justice. Rather, his response would be intervention and rescue. He would do in grace what the law could never do. He would do in grace what we could never do for ourselves. He would do what philosophers could never conceive, what leaders could never strategize, and what poets could never imagine. He would offer the only thing that would ever address the need and solve the problem. He, himself, would become the greatest, most costly, most transformational gift ever.

God would take on human flesh and invade his sin-broken world with his wisdom, power, glory, and grace. But he wouldn’t descend to a palace. Instead, the Lord Almighty, the Creator, the sovereign King over all things would humble himself and take on the form of servant; he would live on our behalf the life we could have never lived, he would willingly die the death that you and I deserve to die, and he would rise from his tomb as the conqueror of sin and death. He would suffer every single day of his life so that he could, with his life, give grace to rebels, extend love to those who would deny his existence, impart wisdom to those who think they know better, and extend forgiveness to everyone who seeks him. His coming stands as an affirmation that he will not relent, he will not be satisfied until sin and suffering are no more and we are like him, dwelling with him in unity, peace, and harmony forever and ever. It is true that you just can’t write this stuff! The majesty of the patient and forgiving love of this story defies words. The implications of this birth are not only transformational to the cosmos, but also eternal in their extent. This is the story of Jesus, born in a barn in Bethlehem. The Messiah the earth cried for now cries to be held by Mary and will soon cry in torment of the cross of salvation. He came to suffer because he came to save. The angels sang because finally hope had come. Don’t you want to join them?


[1] Paul David Tripp, Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).

Advent 2022 — Reading Guide

The word advent refers to the arrival of someone or something important.

The season of Advent (basically the month prior to the celebration of Christmas) brings Titus 2:11-14 to mind:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.

That phrase “waiting for our blessed hope” reminds me of those who had long-awaited Jesus’ first coming. It also reminds me of how we should be as we await His return!

We want to give you the opportunity to use this time – when people are trying to focus on and remember hope, peace, joy, and love – to focus on “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. Starting on December 1 and going up to Christmas day, we have a Bible passage to read and have curated devotions to help focus our hearts and minds on Jesus.

You can download the reading guide here free of charge.

Or you can use the links or podcast player below to listen to the Bible reading and devotion.


This is the December 9 reading in the Advent: Waiting for Our Blessed Hope reading guide sponsored by JustKeithHarris.com and Christ Community Church.
  1. Advent 2022 — December 9
  2. Advent 2022 — December 7 & 8
  3. Advent 2022 — December 6
  4. Advent 2022 — December 5
  5. Advent 2022 — December 4

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Daily Readings & Devotion: