Links Daily Devotional

New Birth

…he has given us new birth… (1 Peter 1:3, NIV)

Days like this can burn a hole in your happiness.

For good or for bad, we’ve walked through this string of named days in the past week: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday. And now we’ve come to this. The last day of November. The eve of the maddest month of the year.

Peter lumped mercy and hope and new birth and Jesus all into one power-packed sentence.It makes you want to head for the golf course. But then there’s the weather. And the shortness of days. And the eighteen projects your company needs done before you could ever dream of eighteen holes. For every “Happy Holidays!” out there, you’re finding two chances to be grumpy. Man, is it tempting to suggest that we all just skip December this year.

I hope I’m getting you all wrong. I hope I’m getting me all wrong! This is not the way any month is supposed to be ushered in, and certainly not a month with so much chance for reflection and celebration on the line.

We can even make our whining theological, saying that Christmas is commercialized, that it started in a pagan vein, that Jesus wasn’t really born in December anyway.

Do you know what all this slipping into criticism sounds like? Sadly, it sounds a lot like unbelief. It sounds like we’re not so sure God can redeem a day, a month, a season. It sounds like wonder is slipping from our grasp.

So let me preach to me and you for a minute. And let me do it under the heading of Nativity. But not Jesus’ for now. Yours. Mine.

In the opening verses of his first letter to “God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout…,” Peter lumped mercy and hope and new birth and Jesus all into one power-packed sentence. With words like those, it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.

But Peter’s reference to Jesus was not about the Savior’s birth. The apostle was looking at the other end of Jesus’ earthly walk, at his resurrection, and how this dispensing of death has given us—us!—“new birth into a living hope…and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.”

If ever there was a passage to make us shut up and listen this time of year, that we might hear angels instead of advertisements or hymns rather than the honking of horns in the overcrowded Walmart parking lot, Peter has given it to us. Packed with promise, laced with life—real life!

If we are in Christ, brothers and sisters (see, I really am preaching!), then we have this new birth. We have hope that’s alive. We have a risen Lord. And we have an eternal inheritance. Think you can handle little old December now?

Jeff Hopper
November 30, 2016
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