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DAILY DEVOTIONS
 

  In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos' (matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos' which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground' a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.

In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style than the 'Varying topics' one.

As the month of December coincides with the Christmas season, in this month I intend to dwell exclusively on all the topics revolving around Christmas using the visit of the Wise man described in Matthew 2 as the base.

Let me wish you a happy and an edifying read… oh yes-MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF US!

Suresh Manoharan




December 15th

The shadow of the Cross



On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh- Matt 2:11
 
  Indeed the study of the visit of the Wise men as a part of the wider Christmas story (though, they did not see or worship the Christ-child on the First Christmas) throws-up fascinating insights much like what a prism does when it comes to revealing to an inquisitive eye a striking array of colors - the hidden citizens of the chromatic world - invisible to the normal vision.

With effect from 1-12-08, our ongoing meditations revolving around the visit of the Wise men, had enabled us to see different dimensions of the wider Christmas story.

Adopting a keyhole viewing method we had focused yesterday on the latent meaning behind one of the gifts –gold- offered by them to the Christ-child. Today by a similar approach, let’s look closely at the II gift-frankincense- of the Wise men and appreciatively understand what that was meant to typify in Christ’s life.

Frankincense -an aromatic material, used in Jewish sacrificial religious rituals - by itself would not be of much use, unless burnt ( Leviticus 2:1/ 6:15). Christ life unless it was offered (burnt) on the cross as a pure atoning sacrifice (II Cor 5:21) would be merely at par with that of other great Jewish prophets of yore such as Elijah or Moses who also performed mind-boggling miracles’ and were great teachers’. Frankincense, in effect, bearing the shadow of the impending cross, typified the very purpose of Christ coming into this world, which was to offer his life as redeeming sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Hebrews 10:5-10).

Frankincense was also symbolic of yet another attribute in Christ’s character. Just as sweet odor would emanate from frankincense on being ‘burnt’, the worst of situations brought out the best in Christ. If in his desert ordeal (Matt 4:1-11) surfaced his knowledge of the life-giving Scriptures (He countered each of the Satanic temptations with a quote from the Scriptures) then his Calvary travails brought forth the acme of human traits…the forgiving spirit…at a time, anyone would have harbored a vengeful, bitter spirit (Luke 23:34).

And wonder of wonders, it is into that very Christ-like image (paragon of all virtues), each Christian is being transformed into by the constant working of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29/ II Cor 3:18)!

Prayer:

Father, it stuns us that that you have counted us- weak vessels of clay- worthy of being fashioned into the image of thy righteous Son, the image Adam which bore, before the fall. Difficult as it is, enable us to co-operate with Thee in this arduous process. Amen.
 


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