Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 12:12 – Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. (NKJV)
Having for many years taken part in a number of Christian activities at the local Long Term Care Centre, I have gotten to know a considerable number of people on a quite personal basis. Some of them tell me about their hopes and aspirations; some worry about the state of their health; some are content with their situation, others not so much; but most of them realize that they cannot look after themselves any more. In my discussions, I have learned to just sit quietly and listen. Some time ago, one of the residents lost a daughter, and I went to see her. She talked for well over an hour about her daughter and her own husband, also deceased, and about the good times that they'd had when her family was young. She talked about the hopes they'd had so long ago, and how she felt so alone and lonely. I told her to be patient, and I prayed with her.
Like my friend, the people of Israel needed to be patient — they longed to see the arrival of the Messiah; it was their hope and prayer. They knew the old Scriptures, with the promise of the coming of the Messiah:
Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (NKJV)
Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NKJV)
Micah 5:2 – But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. (NKJV)
Advent is a time for God's people to renew their longings. We long for every hurt to be healed; we long for every tear to be dried; we long for every injustice to be made right; we long for the fulfilment of God's promises that are yet to unfold. We wait in hope for the Lord.
As we prepare for the upcoming Christmas season, let us obey His teachings and get comfort from His Word. Let each one of us, in our own way, encourage people to come to hear the good news of the birth of Christ.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we approach the Christmas season again, we pray that many people will come to worship, that they will hear the true gospel of Jesus preached in an easy-to-understand and meaningful way, and that they will believe in Your Son Jesus as Saviour and Lord. We offer this prayer in His name. Amen.