Christmas – Day Ten
by Tara Davis
“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, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
1. With your Bible in hand, find a comfortable spot to have your quiet time with Jesus. Pray that the Lord will bring peace to your spirit and speak to you today.
2. Read and meditate on Luke 2:1-21. Write the verse that most stands out to you in your journal.
A Savior Worth Celebrating
My sweet friend, I know you have been trying so hard. Sometimes the weight of Christmas pulls at us, unleashing such pressure to perform, to live up to the expectations of others, to create a “magical season” for those around us. We lose our peace; we let go of our focus. We set our sights on “making it through the holidays.” What if it were different? What if Jesus could remain our family’s focal point, our reason for celebrating?
What an amazing gift we were given that night two thousand years ago! Since the birth of sin into the world, humanity had been struggling. We had been consumed by the weight of sin, and had been living in a world wrapped in darkness and self-inflicted sadness. We never could have saved ourselves from ourselves. However, God had a plan! We needed a Savior, a Messiah. We needed Jesus.
Our King came, not with strength and power, but as a weak, vulnerable babe. Because of this, He understands our weakness; He knows what kind of love we need. Hebrews 5:2 reveals that “He is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because He himself is subject to the same weaknesses.” We can celebrate Him because of His tender understanding of each of our hearts!
Out of His great love for us, Jesus took on flesh. Ephesians 1:4 whispers encouragement to our hearts: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love.” Christmas is a love story worth celebrating: a Savior, giving up all strength to come down to the earth as a baby, to save His beloved. We can celebrate Him because of His loving desire for us!
During His life on earth, Jesus went to impossible lengths to rescue us. As we grasp onto Him, He holds us and never lets us go. He is the love that never ends. He is the essence of hope, the restorer of peace, the giver of joy. He is “Immanuel, which means God with us.” (Matthew 1:23). We can find peace in Whom we are now able to belong. We celebrate Him because of who He is and His undeniable adoration for us!
He was born for YOU dear sister! The Lord is “abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 86:15) for YOU! He is the only one who can bring you peace, who can understand your heart, and who can love you as only a Savior is able. This week we will be given the honor of celebrating HIM! He is absolutely worthy of every single ounce of praise we are able to offer!
3. Questions to Ponder
- Are you feeling worn out by Christmas preparations? Take a moment to ask the Lord to renew your focus on Jesus this week. He loves when we come to Him and is always willing to guide us back to Himself!
- Think of one thing you can do to bring glory to Jesus this week. Can you commit to spending time with Him everyday, even though your days are busy? Maybe you can plan a special time with your family to truly praise the Lord for the amazing gift of Jesus?
4. Faith Filled Idea: Making a Celebration for our Savior
Would you like to celebrate Jesus with us? This celebration can take place on Christmas Day or in the days prior. You can choose to do as much or as little as you are able. Do not let the addition of a Jesus Celebration bring any additional weight to your Christmas, and do not feel pressured to make this celebration complicated or elaborate. Just do what works for you!
The following ideas serve as an example of a few ways to make your celebration special!
1. Read His Story: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
It is important to share the story of our Savior on His birthday! There are many great versions of the story of Jesus’ birth for children. I chose to read out of our Jesus Storybook Bible. However, you could also read straight from Luke chapter 2 as well! As you read, make sure to discuss any thoughts or questions your children have.
2. Every Party Needs a Cake!
Having a cake for Jesus is a fun way to celebrate! We made a cake with symbolic meaning, although picking up a cake from the grocery store would be just as delicious. No birthday celebration is complete without singing “Happy Birthday!”
As you assemble and decorate your cake together, it is wonderful to share with your children why Jesus came. We decorated the cake as part of our celebration, just before we cut and ate it!
It is fun to let your children decorate as you talk about the cake’s meaning! (Mommy tip: If you do not have cake decorating supplies, simply fill a ziplock bag with your frosting, cut a small bit off one of the corners, and decorate away!)
** If you would like to make a symbolic cake as well, an example of the symbols we used and their meanings is at the end of this section!
3. Sing Praises to the Newborn King!
Join your children in worshiping our Savior with Christmas hymns. The angels, shepherds, and wisemen worshiped baby Jesus, and we should as well! There are so many amazing Christ-honoring Christmas carols you could sing with your children. We chose to praise the Lord with “Away in the Manger” and “Joy to the World”.
4. Lay Your Gifts at His Feet
We do a Jesus gift box each year in which we place gifts from our heart to our Savior. For a better explanation of how to do a Jesus gift box, be sure to watch Deb’s video from last week!
** Jesus Cake Symbolism:
– Round Cake: The shape of the cake is round with no end, showing that God’s love is never ending. He loves us so much that He sent his only Son to die for our sins. (John 3:16).
Dark Cake: Before knowing Jesus, our hearts are like this dark cake, and we cannot spend eternity with the Lord with hearts so full of sin. (Romans 3:23)
– White frosting: God did a wonderful thing when he sent his Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Now all the darkness is covered up, and Jesus washes our sins white as snow. We are pure white in the sight of God. When we ask Jesus to forgive all the bad things we’ve done, we are white like this frosting. (Romans 6:23)
– Star: The star reminds us of the star in Bethlehem and how the wisemen followed it in order to worship the Lord Jesus. It reminds us that we should worship and follow Him everyday.
– Red candle: The red color reminds us of Jesus’ blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Because He died and rose again, we can have eternal life in heaven with Jesus if we believe in Him. (Romans 5:8)
– Light the Candle: The glow of the candle remind us that Jesus can shine in our hearts if we just ask Him to be our Savior. (Matthew 5:16)
– Evergreens: Evergreens around the cake remind us of something living and always growing. If we have accepted Jesus to be the Savior of our lives, we are going to grow and get to know Him more. How can we grow to know Him better? By praying, talking about Him, reading our Bibles, and sharing Him with others. (John 15:5 or 2 Peter 3:18)
by Jennifer Valdois
“When God reveals truth to you, by whatever means, that is a divine encounter.” – Henry Blackaby.
1. Good morning! Grab your Bible, a pen, and your journal and find a cozy place to sit. It’s time to meet with your Savior!
2. Read Luke 2:8-20. Write verse 19 in your journal. If you haven’t done so this December, I encourage you to take some time to read all of Luke 1 and 2.
Believe and Ponder the Word of God
One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know?” by Mark Lowry. This song asks powerful questions of Mary, the young woman chosen by God to carry His only begotten Son. Did she know that when she kissed her little baby she kissed the face of God? Or that this sleeping child she was holding is the Great I Am?
As I read about Mary in Luke 1 and 2, I want to learn from her and be more like her. There are two things about her that stand out: She was quick to believe God, and she pondered the things of God in her heart.
Mary Believed. In Luke chapter 1, we first read about Zechariah who doubted the Angel and the message he delivered. Then we read about Mary. An Angel appears to Mary and tells her she will conceive by the Holy Spirit and will give birth to the Son of God. Mary is one of the few people in the Bible who believes God right away. She says, “I am the Lord’s Servant, may it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).
I want to be like Mary and take God at His Word. When we open the Bible and read it, God speaks to us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
What is He saying to you today, during this Christmas season? Above all, I hope you hear you are dearly loved. He sent his only Begotten Son so you may live with Him forever.
Mary Pondered. In Luke chapter 2 the Angel of the Lord returns, appearing to shepherds and announcing the birth of the promised Savior. After the shepherds find Mary and Joseph and Jesus, they tell everyone they know about what they have seen and heard. In contrast, the Bible says that, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:1).
Mary was so wise at a young age. Incredible things happen to her and she tucks them away, even the things she doesn’t understand, and ponders them in her heart.
Like Mary, I want to be more introspective, meditating on the things of God that my thoughts will spill over into what I say and do. All too often, I snap at my husband and children and say things I regret. I want to hide God’s Word in my heart so I might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). And be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). I pray that God will “set a guard over my mouth… [and] keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)
God chose this sweet, young woman named Mary to be the mother of the Messiah. Let us look to scripture and pray that we can be more like her, believing God’s Word and treasuring the things of God in our hearts.
3. Questions to Ponder
-What attribute of Jesus will you ponder today?
-What is one promise of God that you will focus on believing today?
4. Faith-Filled Idea
Teach your children the joy of giving by giving gifts to those less fortunate.
Our favorite Christmas activity is packing Shoebox Gifts for Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse delivers the gift-filled shoeboxes to children around the world who would otherwise never receive a gift. These gifts have the power to transform the lives of children and their families through the Good News of Jesus Christ!
How to Pack a Shoebox:
Start with an average size shoebox. Decide if you will pack for a boy or a girl. Choose from three age categories ranging from 2 to 14 years old. Fill it with gifts! Start with something the child will love like a stuffed animal, doll, a toy truck or a ball with a pump. Next, fill it with school supplies, non-liquid hygiene items and accessories like underwear or socks. These items we take for granted may be the most exciting part of the gift!
I shop for items to pack throughout the year. I look for sweet, stuffed animals and other fun toys on sale after the holidays. I shop with coupons for toothpaste and toothbrushes and I buy all the school supplies when they are marked down during the back to school sales. You can also make your dollar stretch by buying large packages of socks, underwear, washcloths, combs, bar soap, etc. and dividing them between the boxes you pack.
I love the impact Operation Christmas Child has on my children. My daughter tells me over and over, “It makes me feel so good to pack OCC shoeboxes. It makes me feel good to help kids who don’t have anything.”
We started with packing one box, the next year we packed one box for each of our children, then one for each age and gender. Our love for this ministry and the children grows each year and is reflected in the number of boxes we pack! This year, our family packed 15 boxes, all for the glory of God!
by Susan Proctor
“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3
1. Oh how our Savior is waiting to meet with you! Go to your comfortable spot and bring along your Bible, journal and favorite pen. Don’t forget your favorite drink. For me it is a coffee with two creams and three sugars. Our Lord has amazing things for us today!
2. Please read Matthew 2:1-12. Write verse 10 in your journal. Sit still and ponder this verse. If any word stands out, circle or underline it in your journal. Don’t rush this process. Time is not your enemy. Allow God to speak by being still and quiet.
The Star of Bethlehem
A few days ago, I heard a new Christmas song from Sidewalk Prophets called, ‘Hey Moon’. It was talking about the Christmas story through the eyes of the Star and how the Star was created for a purpose. The Star had a major role in the Christmas story to point the Magi or Wise Men to Jesus. The Star is a bright thread in the tapestry of Jesus’ life, yet as I began to ponder the purpose of the star, my heart was encouraged and convicted. It had two very profound purposes: leading the Wise Men to Jesus, and bringing hope to a dry and desolate land.
There are trillions of stars, each one just a point of light in the sky until Jesus entered into the picture. We, too, are like the Star of Bethlehem. We were created for a purpose to bring God glory. One way God receives the glory is by leading people to Christ. We can share the joy of our Salvation with those around us. For some of us, it may be in the form of saying a prayer of salvation with others, or it might be sharing a smile or a genuine “hello.” Words of encouragement can make a magnificent difference in the lives of those around us.
We can spotlight Jesus just like the star did by being kind and by loving those around us.
Philippians 2:14-15 tells us, “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like STARS in the world.” (Emphasis mine, Holman)
Sometimes, the hardest people to love are the ones who need it the most. Recently, I was having a tough day at the grocery store and a sweet older lady stopped me and told me I was doing a great job with my three youngest children. Her sweet encouragement gave me the energy to finish shopping with joy!
Hope makes an enormous difference, and our world is looking for hope. Christmas decorations and music make an earlier appearance every year. Most stores start getting Christmas decorations out at the end of summer. It is amazing how fast it comes! People see the brilliant lights, the green trees, pretty packages and hope comes flooding over them.
Christmas is magical because of the birth of Jesus. It makes strangers become friends. It brings peace when chaos surrounds. It brings laughter and joy when stress is an all-time high. It is a season in which the unexpected and most wanted happens.
Scripture goes on to tell us to “shine like stars” in this dark and crooked world. Don’t let grumbling or arguing steal your joy and dim your light. Matthew 5:14-16 says that a city on a hill cannot be hidden because of its lights. Our lights are to shine before all men so that those around us can give glory to our Father in Heaven. Therefore, Jesus cannot be hidden if we truly allow Him to shine through us just like the Star of Bethlehem.
4. Questions to Ponder
– Are you shining like a star? Or are you full of complaining and bitterness? If you are struggling to see the positives, lay down the negatives at Jesus’ feet. Recently, I was struggling to see the good things of God. So, I wrote in my journal all the negative things. Afterwards, I prayed and left them at the feet of God. Soon next to each of those complaints, God provided. Sometimes, it was a rebuke with Scripture. Others, He fixed the problem or made me see things from a different perspective. The bottom line was that I no longer saw all the negatives, just His provision.
– How can you shine Jesus to others around you?
4. Faith-Filled Idea (pick one that will work for you)
– Wherever you go—library, grocery store, karate, dance, mall, church-greet people with a smile and say “Merry Christmas!” I have yet to get a hateful look or a rude remark. Most of the time, people are astonished that I care enough to speak.
– As you are going about life, find someone to encourage. It could be a young mom, an older person, a small child, your husband, or your mother in law. I pray often that God would allow someone to come across my path into whom I can speak life.
– When you go to restaurants, ask your waiter/waitress how you can pray for him/her. It may feel awkward at first, but they will be so appreciative. I have even had one waitress stop and pray with us. Don’t forget to tip well because you are Jesus’ shining star!