“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity.” (Luke 2:36 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible.) It’s Christmas time again and the…
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible) Who, but God, would think of such an incredible…
“Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible).
The next time I feel unimportant or overlooked in some way, I will remember that God gave me an indescribable gift – the gift of Himself! Of all the gifts I will ever receive, none will compare to the gift of living a life that is free from sin and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Many people today think of the birth and death of Jesus Christ as only a story with a tragic ending, but those who have received Your gift are truly living a life of unspeakable joy!
Devotion by Julie Long
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible)
Who, but God, would think of such an incredible way to save the world? He wrapped Himself in human flesh and made His home among us. It’s too amazing for me to comprehend that kind of unfailing love and faithfulness to sinful creation. The only fitting response is to fall on my knees in awestruck wonder and authentic worship.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for exchanging Your heavenly robe for a human robe so my relationship with You could be restored!
Devotion by Julie Long
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11 Holy Bible New King James Version).
No baby announcements proclaiming “It’s a boy!” No special messengers sent to family to say that mother and son are doing well. Lowly shepherds watching flocks were the first to receive news of a Savior in a Bethlehem manager, a very unusual place for a king.
Prayer: Mighty God, You could have trumpeted word of this holy birth from heaven or delivered the announcement elegantly to royalty on earth. Instead You chose common people to be the first to know that the promised Savior, Christ the Lord, had been born. Thank You that after all these years You are still appearing to common people like me. Amen.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manager; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 Holy Bible King James Version).
No glitter or tinsel, no brightly wrapped gifts or holiday cookies greeted Jesus. Absent of a warm baby blanket, Jesus was wrapped in cloth strips and laid in a manger. The original Christmas in a cold stable was simple with no celebration, yet no other day will impact all humanity as did that first Christmas when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, during this time of Christmas celebration I will remember how You were born so long ago in a humble setting. I won’t be concerned about the grandeur of my holiday decorations or the quantity and value of gifts I might receive. I will focus on being thankful that Your humble birth – a gift of love to me – is the greatest gift I will ever receive. Amen.
“And the angel answered and said unto her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that Holy Being who shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35 Holy Bible 21st Century King James Version).
When the angel announced to Mary that she would have a child, she asked “How can this be?” Engaged to Joseph, chosen to be his bride, her life was pure as she prepared for the day they would finalize their marriage. The angel assured her that conception would be from the Holy Spirit. Her child would have no earthly father. He would be the Son of God.
Prayer: Dear God, the ancient prophecy of a child being born to a virgin was confirmed when the angel told Mary she had been chosen. Her purity prepared her to give birth to the Savior of the world. I too want to live a holy lifestyle so Your promises can be fulfilled in me. Amen.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2 Holy Bible, King James Version).
A modern day expectant mother carefully selects the best and most convenient hospital or alternate facility for the birth of her child. Mary, the mother of Jesus was given no choice in her child’s birthplace. Her holy child would be born in Bethlehem far away from Nazareth, Joseph’s home, as prophesied. This single event would shine a spotlight on an obscure village for the whole world to see.
Prayer: Eternal God, tiny Bethlehem was destined to be the birthplace of Jesus. Nothing could change that because Your prophecies and promises are certain. This gives me great faith. You have known my future from the beginning and You are in control of events in my life, too. Amen.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 Holy Bible, King James Version).
Isaiah was inspired to speak these names of the promised redeemer. This son captured the essence of Wonderful, Counsellor and Prince of Peace. Ultimately the world would recognize that this holy child was The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father. What a promise!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for the Old Testament prophet Isaiah who delivered the message You gave him. His words inspired hope for all who believed. Because of this prophecy, I can believe with the ancients that the Holy One has brought meaning to my life because He was God on earth. Thank You that You cared for me before I was born. Amen.