A continuation of How To Find The Magic of Christmas
In a season of hurry, seeking social media worthy scenes, and high anxiety of making everything “perfect”, here are three short devotions for you and your family to recenter on.
May they help you adjust your focus, spark your imagination, and talk about Jesus often. Let us shift our perspective and temper our expectations so that we have room to worship this season.
Read: Luke 1:26-38
Imagine: The night was still. The laboring was over; the crying had ceased. As Mary cradled Jesus in her arms for the very first time, were tears streaming down her face? Did she praise God for choosing her to be a part of this mysterious plan?
As she traced the face of her sleeping child, did she recall the stories her father told her each night—the stories about a promised King who would come to save the world? Did she shake her head in wonder at the fact that the baby lying peacefully against her skin was the King of Kings?
God in human flesh had stepped out of heaven and into her family. He was the Lord of Lords and she was the young wife of a poor carpenter, sitting on a pile of hay in a stable. This was nothing like she imagined, yet Mary believed with humble amazement that this tiny little boy was the one called Emmanuel—God with us.
Read: Luke 2:8-20
Imagine: The shepherds had just settled in for the night. It had been a long, hard day, and everyone was desperate for sleep. Then suddenly, a bright light exploded through the dark sky. The stars that once covered the night were replaced by the faces of angels. The shepherds were terrified as a single voice echoed through the hillside, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy!” Did the shepherds cover their eyes from the brilliance? Did they believe this holy announcement or decide it must be a dream? Perhaps they fell to their knees in worship as the angels’ voices filled the pasture with the most beautiful sound they had ever heard. The Messiah was here! Could it be true?
When the last angel disappeared from their sight, who was the first to shout, “Let’s go!” Was it a young boy full of adventure and curiosity? Or an older man who long ago resolved that the prophecies of old would never come to pass during his lifetime? With joyous anticipation burning in his chest, was he certain the message was true? If the Messiah had finally arrived, they could not hesitate. It was time to journey to Bethlehem and look upon the face of the Lord.
Read: Philippians 2:5-11
Consider: Today, we have the answers to the questions Mary and the shepherds must have asked the day the Son of God was seen lying peacefully in a manger. We know of Jesus’ miracles, His gentleness, and His power. We know that Jesus called the unqualified, loved the unlovable, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and performed countless other miracles.
We know He suffered betrayal, endured unimaginable physical pain, and learned what it was like to be separated from God. We know He never once sinned, but He became our sin. We know He was nailed to a cross and died a brutal death that belonged to us, not Him. We know the veil was torn, His friends all mourned, but He was not defeated!
We know that He is alive today and continues to call the unqualified, love the unlovable, heal the sick, and rescue the lost. We know how this incredible Christmas story ends! We know that this was not an ordinary baby, born on an ordinary night.
We know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born with the sole purpose to save you and me—to unite us once again to our Creator.
This should give us a reason to pause in wonder at the majesty, creativity, and overwhelming love of God.
This should give us reason to celebrate the arrival of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, our Savior!
Why is the connection between Jesus’ birth and His death and resurrection so significant?
What is one thing you can do to personally celebrate Jesus’ birth this year?
May we hold our expectations for the Christmas season loosely. May we remember that even if nothing goes as planned or we feel caught off guard and disappointed, Jesus can still be glorified. May we echo Mary, who worshiped God even though he interrupted the plans she had for her life. “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-47,49)
Callie Clayton writes to encourage others (and remind herself) that it’s possible to experience God right where you are. She enjoys teaching the Bible to teenagers, having good conversation over meals she didn’t cook, and baking all the chocolate desserts. Embracing her role as a boy-mom to three little ones, she and her husband are worn out, but loving the adventure of parenthood.