December 25, 2012
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Listen while you read: "Away In A Manger"1 (Lyrics)

Luke 2:7 – And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NKJV)

My grade six students always exchanged a chocolate bar (so that the cost of the gift could be well controlled), but they could wrap their "gift" however they chose. Some would come in the traditionally small packaging, simply wrapped; others would add an air of mystery by wrapping their bar in a variety of different-shaped containers, odd-sized packages, or even in large boxes. Anyone looking under the classroom tree would see an assortment of gifts that would take their breath away. What a delicious mystery lay ahead when each recipient, according to number, would receive their gift! Even as these gifts were opened, the guessing would begin on the kind of bar inside. Everyone received a gift and no one felt left out or cheated in any way. Most would carefully rewrap their gift to take home and keep the mystery going there.

That first Christmas morning so long ago also created an air of anticipation and mystery at such a gift, so simply wrapped and presented: God's own Son was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. His presentation was as simple as one could ever imagine, surrounded by the animals in a stable, wrapped in simple cloths and placed in a wooden manger that did not come from Ikea or Sears! No fanfare welcomed Him to the world, and yet, there was anticipation among so many as they concerned themselves with wondering just what this tiny baby would become or how He would affect their world. Little did they really know!

Why was this gift given to mankind?

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

That first Christmas morning, the greatest gift, however simply presented, was a gift of pure love from God's own heart to our hearts. This year, as we both give and receive gifts, no matter how elegantly or how simply they are wrapped and presented, may they be given in love from our hearts. May we also remember that first Christmas morning and the best gift ever given to the world in the form of a tiny baby who has impacted our world for over 2000 years. He continues to make His presence felt and known among those who seek a miracle or need a blessing or know that God loves them so much that He gave His one and only Son — to us! Let's look at the tiny Babe in the manger with fresh eyes and an open heart. May we all receive the real meaning of that first Christmas: unconditional love and forgiveness for all who seek Him and accept Him as our Saviour.

Now that is a gift of anticipation as we walk along with Him! What blessings and miracles of love await!

Prayer: Dear and loving God, thank You for Your gift of love so freely given so many years ago. Thank You that we may still feel the impact of that gift as we accept Your forgiveness and allow You to create in us the anticipation of Christmas every day. May we give ourselves to You as our own gift of love and allow You to use us as You choose — to help others realize the wondrous gift of love You gave, and continue to give, to everyone and anyone who seeks You this day! In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Lauretta Balderston <>
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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1 Comment

  • Devotional Feedback says:

    Many thanks!!!

    Merry Christmas Lauretta.

    Outstanding devotion again. I wish you would put them in a book.

    We wish you all Merry Christmas & happy new year to you & your family. God bless you all.

    Good Christmas morning Loretta. Thank you for blessing us with such a well expressed devotional on this very special day! A blessed gift from you to many! God bless.

    Lauretta, Blessings to you and yours on this Christmas day and in the coming year. Thank you for this example of God’s great gift. Blessings.

    Lauretta, thank you for sharing this wonderful message and May you and your loved ones have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

    Dear Lauretta,
    I really enjoy your story “Anticipation”.
    Thank you.

    Dear Lauretta: How is your Christmas in Charlottetown?
    It has been quiet here at our house. Our family get together tomorrow for a family celebration.
    Blessings on you.

    Beautiful message given in love from your heart to ours, thank you.
    Merry Christmas to you and Ira.
    God Bless.

    Good Morning Lauretta:
    Another beautiful message. How blessed we are Christ did come wrapped in swaddling clothes ready and willing to be our Redeemer and Friend.
    Have a wonderful Christmas Holiday and once again thank you for the message today and all the fine messages your present.

    Dear Lauretta
    I have been retired for years but I still relish the stories teachers have to tell about their pupils and class activities. I really enjoyed you devotional and the way you connected the ideas.
    I wish you well for the rest of the school year…and would give anything to be there with the children just to see their inventiveness for year-end fun.

    Dear Lauretta,
    Thank you so much for the comprehensive December 25th message. This sentence so well sums up what you are saying: May we all receive the real meaning of that first Christmas:
    unconditional love and forgiveness for all who seek Him and accept Him as our Saviour. We pray that many will come to faith in our risen and living Lord and Savior.
    We praise God that the new Web set-up is coming back into place in a shorter time than Robin Ross first feared.
    I have been refreshed and enlightened in reading Lee Strobel’s THE CASE FOR A CREATOR. The book very thoroughly presents the Christian view of Creation by the Creator, and exposed many hoaxes of much of evolutionary theory.
    Keep writing.

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