Tag Archives: christmas devotion

The Light Of Life

John 1 starts out by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (KJV). It’s always been curious to me that John described Jesus as “The Word”. When you go back to the Genesis account of creation, the very first words attributed to God are, “Let there be light.” I believe John called Jesus “The Word” in this context, because Jesus is light, and the light God created that day is still shining.

After God spoke light into existence, He sent His light into our world with the birth of His Son. Jesus is not just The Word Of God, He’s the Light of the World. You and I don’t have to walk in darkness, nor is there any darkness that can overpower the light He has put inside of you. We were meant to live in the light with The Light. Chase away whatever darkness is coming against you with the name of Jesus who is The Word Of God full of light.

Here are some Bible verses about Jesus being the Light.

1. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them… A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:2, 6 GNT

2. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.

John 1:4-5 GNT

3. Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the LORD ]; for your light has come, And the glory and brilliance of the LORD has risen upon you.

ISAIAH 60:1 AMP

4. Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “ I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

JOHN 8:12 AMP

5. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband… And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.

Revelation 21:2, 23 NLT

Photo by Kristine Weilert on Unsplash

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Entertaining Unaware

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I don’t think the innkeeper ever gets enough credit at Christmas. Sure, we mention him in passing when reading Luke 2 for our plays, but no one ever really thinks about him. To me, he played a critical role in the birth of our Savior. He provided the setting for every nativity you’ve ever seen. Yet have you ever looked at a nativity and thought of him? I know the scene isn’t about him, but it wouldn’t look like that if it weren’t for him.

We know that Ceasar Augustus had called for a census. It’s not like the censuses we take today where government workers come to your house and ask you questions. Each family had to travel to the hometown of their ancestors. For Joseph, a descendent of David, that was Bethlehem where David grew up. It was an 80 mile trip that he and Mary had to walk or ride by donkey. Mary was obviously in her third trimester, and I’m sure they had to stop pretty often.

By the time the two of them arrived, the town was full. I’m sure they went to his family to try to stay with them. After having no luck with any of his family, they started going to the inns in the city, but quickly found out it was no better. Joseph must have been getting desperate. Mary could have been having contractions and he needed some place for his son to be born. As the sun set, he knew they were out of options. It could be that this particular innkeeper had compassion on them and offered shelter in the stable.

We really don’t know the details, but what we do know is that they ended up in his stable. This particular innkeeper thought differently than all the others in town. With no room in the inn, he offered them the only other place he had. He wasn’t going to turn a weary, pregnant woman away. I’m sure he had no idea that she was carrying his Messiah. I’m sure he didn’t know that his stable would become a hallowed sanctuary that millions would flock to in the future. We simply know that he offered what he had and it was more than enough to be the setting for the birth of the King of Kings.

It makes me wonder how many times I’ve not had time or room for people in my life. How many times have I been like the other innkeepers in Bethlehem? What if some of them were sent to me by God? I believe that God gives us daily opportunities to open up and let others into the inn of our lives, but too often we are too busy and are so full that we turn them away. I believe if we found even just a small space for them, we could change their world. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood – being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without even knowing it (AMP).” The innkeeper entertained the Son of God unaware because he was open to helping others.

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

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Undercover Savior

Have you seen the TV show “Undercover Boss”? It’s where a CEO of a company creates a fake identity, changes how they look and goes to work at their own company as a regular worker. They hear things they wouldn’t hear if others knew they were the CEO, and they get a frontline perspective of what it’s like to work there. It’s usually very eye opening for the CEO who does it, and they are always glad they did it.

Inevitably, they run into people who either treat them well or treat them or others poorly. In one particular episode, the CEO ran into both. The one worker was kind to everyone, especially the customers. The other thought they were at war with the customers and had to win at all costs. At the end, the boss revealed himself. The one who treated others poorly was terrified when they found out. They no longer work there.

I tell you about this show because you and I are on it, but on a much grander scale. In Matthew 25, jesus told us about what the great reveal will be like. Verses 37-40 say, “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me’” (MSG).

The people you and I come across each day could be the Undercover Savior. It’s up to each one of us to treat others with dignity and respect. It’s up to each one of us to offer a hand to those who are down. The Christmas season is the perfect time to help a needy family, watch a single mom’s kids while she shops, pay for someone’s groceries or to do something that relives the stress in their life. Jesus said that you’re not just doing it for that person. You’re doing it for and to Him.

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The Importance Of Giving

As a kid, the greatest thing about Christmas was getting presents. Now, as an adult, it’s giving them. Instead of being consumed by the anticipation of wondering what’s in the wrapped box, now there’s the anticipation of their reaction. For me, the excitement is in the waiting up until Christmas thinking about how much they’re going to love it. The feeling of getting the right gift for someone else is priceless.

Did you know that giving is good for you? Studies show that giving gifts builds your emotional heal as well as your relationships with others. “The Psychology Behind Gift Giving” by South University says, “Giving a gift is a universal way to show interest, appreciation, and gratitude, as well as strengthen bonds with others.“ It also has greater value to you if you give without expecting anything in return.

You and I were created to give. When Genesis says that we were made in the image of God, I believe that’s one of His attributes that we were given. Think about the most famous scripture in the Bible. John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world so much that He GAVE His only begotten Son” (KJV). We give gifts because God is a giver. He gave us life through creation. He gave us His Son so that we could be with Him one day. He also encourages us to follow His example of giving.

Acts 20:35 says, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive’” (AMP). This Christmas season, focus on giving more than receiving. Find someone who has no ability to return the favor of buying you a gift, a give them a gift that will bless them. You’ll get psychological and spiritual benefits, and it will help you connect with your creator. This year, discover the importance of giving.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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The Black Hole

One of our family traditions on Christmas Eve was to go look at Christmas lights. We would go to church, then my mom would want to drive around in different neighborhoods. She would oooh and ahhhh at how creative people got with their lights. Sometimes whole streets would be involved and have a theme. Those were her favorite. House after house was lit up, and to her, that was Christmas.

After she had seen enough, we would drive to our home that didn’t have lights. She called it “The Black Hole”. It became a family joke. If people were coming over, we’d tell them, “Turn left on our street, then look for the black hole.” On the outside, we may have had the darkest house on the street, but inside, we celebrated the true meaning of Christmas every year. We were taught that Jesus was the light of the world and that it was more important that our lives be light.

Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them” (GNB). This prophesy was looking forward to when Jesus would come into the world. The promise was that people who lived in the Black Hole would one day see a light and have hope. Where there is light, darkness hides. Jesus used His light to show us the way to the Father.

Jesus gave His light to us as His followers. Our lives should be doing the same thing. We need to live in such a way that people in darkness are drawn to us, and we can show them the way to the Father. Living life as “The Black Hole” is not an option for us. We must let our light shine brightly. Without your light shining, how will the people around you, who live in darkness, ever find their way to God? You were planted right where you are because God needed your light to shine right there. This Christmas time, let it shine brighter than ever.

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Peace On Earth

Peaceful. That’s not a word I would use to describe the Christmas season. Hectic is the word I would use. Going store to store to buy presents, looking for parking everywhere you go, going to the kid’s Christmas plays, attending Christmas parties, cleaning house for family that’s coming and so much more. Our schedule is full this time of year, and sometimes we accidentally double book.

When Jesus was born, Bethlehem was just as busy. It was over crowded because of the census. Families that hadn’t seen each other in ages were getting together. There were lines everywhere you went, and the locals were hard at work. Jesus was born into chaos, but the message to the shepherds (and us) is that He came to bring us peace no matter what time of year it is. Just like it did for the shepherds, let God’s peace draw you away from the hustle and bustle, and move you closer to Jesus.

Here are some Bible verses on the peace that God gives.

1. At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

Luke 2:13-14 MSG

2. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

PHILIPPIANS 4:7 AMP

3. May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 GNB

4. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Isaiah 26:3 NLT

5. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27 NLT

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I Heard The Bells

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

On April 8, 1966, the Time magazine cover asked, “Is God Dead?” In a world where we have a telescope in space looking to the far reaches of the universe and using the Hadron Collider to try to find the “God particle”, many people wonder if there is a need for God in order to explain the creation of the universe and our existence. They see God only as an uneducated person’s explanation of the universe instead of a deity involved in our lives.

When we reduce God to just an explanation for creation, we allow Him to be seen as of no use today and dead to society. When bad things happen in our culture, people always ask, “Where is God? Why did He allow that to happen?” But when we fail to put logs on a fire, we don’t ask, “Where is the heat? Why are we being allowed to freeze?” We can’t kick God out of our culture, schools, and government then ask where He is when bad things happen.

He sent His Son into the world to bring life and light into our darkness. John 1:4-5 says, “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (NLT). He was sent to right the wrongs of sin and to chase away the darkness that it brought. The star above the stable was representative of what He was doing. He was sending light into our world that will lead us to salvation.

There is a Christmas Carol called “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”. It’s very powerful and moving. Here’s the verse that stands out to me:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men.”

God is not dead, nor is He simply an explanation for our very being. He is a loving God who is involved in our daily lives. We were created with purpose and our lives have meaning. To think there is no God and that we are simply here by random chance is to say there is no right or wrong and that life has no meaning. God sent His Son to us to show us that we matter. He sent Him to show He cares about our struggles mentally, physically, and spiritually. He came to right the wrongs, to bring peace on earth, and goodwill to men.

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