Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Lo How A Rose"1 (Lyrics)
How few of us have ever tasted the bitterness of war or stared despairingly into the empty cup of poverty — though some might suffer minor bruising as shoppers edge to the front lines of overcrowded megastores, or experience cramped fingers from ordering online due to pandemic closures. In the end, any Black Friday savings appear to justify shopping carts overflowing in unnecessary extravagance!
Every year, I feel this uneasy pang. I bury it quickly, not wanting to dampen the spirits of those I love and cherish. But witnessing consumers racking up credit card debt leaves me feeling ashamed.
For this, a child was born? I ask myself. The Christ of Christmas?
If only we could journey back to Bethlehem and join the shepherds as they hastened to have a glimpse of the promised Messiah. If only we could experience first-hand the awe and great joy that Immanuel had come, as foretold:
Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV)
No tinsel or glitz decorated the lowly stable where livestock were kept. A feeding trough lined with hay held the Prince of Peace.
- The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor — spending and being spent — to enrich their fellowmen, giving time, trouble, care, and concern to do good to others — and not just their own friends — in whatever way there seems need. – J.I. Packer, Knowing God
While most of us have not tasted war or poverty, we are obviously a society starving for peace! Let us ask for the gift of humility this Christmas season and celebrate the forgotten miracle of Christ's birth, born of a virgin.
Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (KJV)
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, may our hearts be filled with joy and peace as we celebrate the birth of Your Son, Immanuel, this Christmas. Forgive us for those times when the world seduces us with material things, leaving the miracle of Jesus' birth forgotten. Instead, may Your gift of love always be first in our hearts and first to be shared. Lord, thank You for the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love that You sent to Bethlehem on that first Christmas. Amen.