Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Holy Night"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 1:22-23 – All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" — which means, "God with us." (NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (NIV)
I walked on air, it seemed. I felt expanded, extended, moving in sunlight that was more than real. Never before had I experienced such elation. I was alone out on the sidewalk by the hospital after visiting the newborn in her crib and her mother in bed beside her.
The mother was a fine-looking, concerned young mother, of six, now. The baby was very beautiful with a round, pink-and-cream face and coiffured-looking, dark, wavy hair.
Why was I elated? (Parents tell of such elation at the birth of their babies, but I'm not a parent.) This wee one had been developing for months, and God knew her, and now He had allowed me to see what He had wrought — a most marvellous thing, a real person, like with light glowing.
At Christmas, we respond not only to a human being who has come into the world, or to a mere remote idea of God, but to the fullness of God who "made his light shine in our hearts to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." God brought Jesus Christ into the world alive, to give us life — a full life, an abundant life, eternal life.
He brought Jesus to us, too, because in ourselves, we are not holy, but are spoilers of the nature of God in ourselves and in others. So we respond to Jesus Christ because He came, the Perfect One, to do for us what neither we, nor anyone else, can ever do. He came to redeem us from our imperfections, and bring us to the perfection of the nature with which He endows us by faith. God's Word says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)
We "are justified freely by his grace" (Romans 3:24a NIV), and this is not only a Christmas present, but also an every-day-of-the-year present — a present not only for you and me, but also for every person in all the world, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
Prayer We praise You, God, for sending Jesus Christ to us, because from the fullness of Your grace, we have all received one blessing after another. You, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made Your light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of Your glory in the face of Jesus Christ. You who said, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven," please empower us by Your Spirit to do so. Amen.