December 7

December 7th
GENESIS 22:1–2, 13–14
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love— Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” . . . Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” 
Christmas celebrations surrounding the birth of Jesus are often fueled by pleasant reminiscences and nostalgia. We may hear the sounds of carols we heard from our youth ringing in malls and shops. We may smell the fragrance of a grandma’s candles, scented with the season. We may feel soft evergreen needles on our palms as we purchase this year’s Christmas tree. All of these moments can trigger memories that go back as far as we can remember.
But a deeper remembering, a holy anamnesis, could take us back to sights, sounds, and smells less appealing to our holiday sensibilities. We might return to Mount Moriah, to the sound of a father wailing as he prepared to sacrifice his only son, the smell of altar wood on a mountain smoking to life, the feeling of a blade sitting heavy in the hand, and the cool touch of a ram’s horn as it is drawn from a thicket. .
The Lord Will Provide.
From the ancestral family of Jesus is a plot line that always moves forward through stories of great risk, great courage, and great acts of faith—acts that have changed the course of your life and mine. Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain is just one stop on that plot line—but it’s an important one. Whispers of a promised provision make little sense when your son is bound to an altar and you have been asked to take the greatest leap of faith/fear you’ve ever known. Pausing on Mount Moriah, we meet Jesus as the provision of God.
The Lord Will Provide.
When Christ picked up his cross to walk the long road to Golgotha, the overtones ringing across the millennia would have been unmissable by those who had begun to understand his teaching. Jesus did not resist the Father’s request any more than Abraham did. He opened himself to the possibility that there would be no redemption that followed his great act of sacrifice, of faith, but knew that he must take the step no matter what. His obedience would lead somewhere, we know—but how could Jesus truly be assured that all things would work together for the good in that moment of decision?
Jesus is the descendant of the obedient-soul, the hearing-and obeying saint, the Lord-I-am-your-servant bloodline of Abraham, David, Mary, and others.
The family line of Jesus obeys the voice of the Lord and trusts in him to be the provision we need. You and I are now a part of that line. It’s here we discover that Jesus would not only sacrifice himself for the sake of the world as our incarnate Messiah, he would also call us to pour out our lives on behalf of others in the same, complete, fully expended way.
The Lord Will Provide.
Jesus is the Provision of God for the sacrifice, the redemption, the healing of the human heart; you and I are the living sacrifices that carry the news of that provision to the ends of the earth.
Lord Who Provides, your acts of care and provision startle us. We may never be fully confident you will act when you say you will, but make us always willing to take the leap of faith that leads to your life and ways being highlighted in this world. Use us to glorify you in celebration or sacrifice; and let us be a living sacrifice to you—carrying the message of your provision of love into the world you have put in front of us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
• How has living a sacrificial life helped you to understand the act of Jesus giving himself for the world?
• With what do you most identify about his suffering and self-offering to the world?

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