Familiarity is the formidable foe of faithfulness. Too often we can know the stories of scripture so well that we miss their uniqueness. So it is with the Christmas story. If the birth of Jesus doesn't disturb and disrupt your heart and mind, it's likely you've heard it so often you've become numb to it, or you never really heard it all. This week as we revisit the arrival of our Messiah, ask God to help you discover a new insight. As you read and contemplate, it's helpful to pray asking God, "Lord, show me what I've missed." We offer these devos to stir your heart and mind to rediscover the Christ of Christmas. As always feel free to repost or pass them on.
“Behold, . . . “ Matthew 1:23
There is no getting around it this time of year. Some try to divert their attention away from the truth, be it with wishing others Happy Kwanza or Merry Festivus or giving warm winter wishes. Regardless of what people focus on or say, Christmas is the Son of God’s birthday.
This creates a crisis of faith in people’s hearts. So they try to dodge, to evade reality, just about anything to postpone making a decision about Jesus. The callous will eat, drink and party, the uncaring will follow cultural customs, the crushed will continue to be haunted by their past.
The believing few who are not intimidated by the diversion and shallowness of the season, will worship Him and praise Him that He is near, in time, in place; they will live the presence of Jesus through their motives, speech and action. Because of His nearness, Advent is a time to worship more, worry less.
When we are in right relationship with Jesus, we experience the peace of Christ. There are times in our lives when attitudes, dispositions and choices must be repented of. The peace of Christ is there, even in the days we don’t feel it, frustration, fatigue, fear may unsettle us for the moment, but they cannot rob the peace of Christ from us.
Most of the Christian life is lived on plateaus and in valleys. There’s no reason to think it’s because you’re not living a life of faith, or being punished, it’s simply the place where we understand God the most. Often, our greatest insights occur in the midst of deep trials.
For Joseph, Christmas wasn’t a time of peace and tranquility. There were long days of bewilderment, days of not knowing what to do next. It was in the darkness that God spoke to him. During his most chaotic moments, he heard God speak the loudest. And so will you, if you keep on walking with Him.
Advent celebrates His nearness, if things aren’t perfect for you in this season, cry out in prayer “My soul thirsts for You, my heart longs for You in this dry and weary place.”
What one truth have you learned from a dark period in your life? State it to yourself, now pray it back to the Lord, thank Him that you found Him, heard Him and love Him.