November 28, 2022 Christmas Devotional - Week 1
We've put together a Christmas devotional resource to guide you through the holiday season.
It’s so easy to fly (or sled if we’re lucky!) right through the Christmas season, missing the opportunity to reflect on the miracle of Jesus. So much of our time from Thanksgiving to New Years is spent rushing around – parties, family gatherings, community events, family gatherings, shopping, decorating the house … more family gatherings! Oh, and Jesus’ birth!
Do you ever get to January 1 and think, “I wish I would have taken time to slow down and be during the holiday season?” To be. To be present – with God, with others, with yourself. To be aware – of the miracle of Jesus, of the life you've been given, of the moment you’re in.
We feel this tension too, so we developed a resource to help you slow down, be present to God and others and be aware of your own soul in the midst of the craziness of the holiday season. We hope you can use this resource for personal reflection time, in a group setting or with your family!
Join us for the first week of a 4-week journey where we slow down, be with God and allow yourself to be in awe of Jesus who is Emmanual, God with us.
Follow along with the daily devotional below—or if you'd like to download the resource, you can do so at the bottom of the page!
Week 1 – O Holy Night
Day 1 – Identity
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection made available a new identity for all of humanity. We have been born into sin, but through Jesus, we now are invited into the family of God. We are children of God! This is your identity if you follow Jesus, and it changes everything! You have direct access to a loving, sacrificial and present Father who sees you, knows you and has the best for you!
- What gives you worth in life? What makes you feel valued?
- What do you think God thinks of you?
Day 2 – Hope
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
Life can be so hard! Weariness is like a subtle, dull undertone in everyday life – the betrayal of a friend, the health problems, the promotion that never comes, the bad grade on a test, the miscommunication with your spouse. It’s the compounding pain of the challenges of everyday life. But, Jesus' life speaks a better word – there is a new and glorious morn for those who are in Christ!
His Spirit is accessible to bring peace in the middle of the hard stuff. His power is available to sustain us through it. His victory over it all is certain! We can walk through life’s hardest things with hope knowing that He will carry us through, and that ultimately, He will restore all things!
- What makes you most weary in your life today? Ask God to sustain you through it and give you His perspective.
Day 3 – Justice
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Today, there are more than 40 million people held against their will in slavery - more than at any point in human history (enditmovement.com)! This is just one of the countless injustices oppressing people in the world today – poverty, racism, orphaned children, gender inequality, food insecurity, wars, oppressive governments – the list feels like it’s a mile long.
So where is the hope in it all? Isaiah 42 shows the heart of God and the end of the story. He is and He will ultimately bring justice. His Kingdom is built on justice.
Also, we must pursue justice. Micah 6 shows us what we are to do as followers of Jesus - act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
- What injustice in the world breaks your heart the most? Begin to pray about this regularly.
- Is there a small part you could play to bring justice in the world?
Day 4 – Christ, the LordLyric
Christ is the Lord
O praise His name forever
Therefore God exalted [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There are countless things in life that are fighting for our time and attention - things that may be good (family, work, ministry, hobbies) and things that may be … well, you decide - Netflix, social media, status, etc.
The first step in discipleship (fancy word for “following Jesus”) has to do with lordship. This first step requires determining who or what is in charge of your life, determining what your priorities and subsequent decisions are. To follow Jesus first begins with fully surrendering to Christ as Lord.
- What is the primary motivator of your life? What drives you to do what you do?
- Does this reflect a life that is directed by Jesus?
- What in your life needs to be surrendered to Jesus?
Day 5 – WorshipLyric
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Worship – the way we honor God with our words and actions … and of course singing, is the natural outflow of our lives the more we know God.
If you’ve never read all of Psalm 103, start there! It’s a beautiful accounting of all the amazing things God has done for us. It’s also a great description of who God is! He is the Savior, the Healer, He is righteous, just, compassionate, gracious, patient, loving, and so much more!
- Take a few moments to either write down or verbally speak to others the ways God has shown up for you in your life. Begin making a list of these things and watch as worship begins to be a natural part of your life!
Written by Justin Langebartels