DECEMBER 25, 2016 - Scripture: Luke 2:6-21

DEVOTION:

Bethlehem. A stable. A manger for a bed. A tired young woman. A fearful new husband. A newborn baby wrapped in scraps of cloth. This is what it looks like when a branch comes shooting out of a dead tree stump.

God, through Isaiah, had promised that He wasn’t finished with Jesse’s tree, the one that had seen the great King David shepherd God’s people with a heart like the Lord’s. The once strong and majestic tree had withered and died after years of selfish, weak, and cowardly sinfulness by the kings of Israel and the people they led. For 400 years God’s people felt like orphans without a king and foreigners without a home.

The seeds of sin had spread like weeds from that first temptation by the serpent in the Garden. But in that same Garden, God had planted a seed of promise that someday One would come from Adam to crush the head of the serpent and make all things in creation new again. While the seeds of sin kept sprouting up and producing fruit, God planted another seed of promise, telling Abraham that all the world would be blessed through him. Another seed of promise came to David of a kingdom and throne that would never end.

With the world covered in the weeds of sin, at just the right time, the baby named Jesus was born, the Holy, Perfect One from God. The seed of promise was no longer just a promise. The promise was kept, and His name was Jesus. The angels couldn’t hold in their joy. They rushed to a group of shepherds outside Bethlehem to tell them that the Savior of the world, the snake-crusher, had been born! Thousands of angels burst into song saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

Today, we join the angels’ song once again, not only because He was born, but also because that baby grew to be a man who died on the cross to save us from our sins. Buried in the ground like a seed, Jesus sprang to life again three days later, giving peace to all those who would believe, all who would trust in His name. And now, 2,000 years later, that seed of hope continues to spread and come to life! Sing today like the angels did all those many years ago! Sing Glory to God in the highest! Merry Christmas!

QUESTIONS:

  • On this Christmas Day, think back over this last year. What specific ways you have seen God keep His promises to you and/ or your family this year (for ideas of some of God’s promises, see Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 121; Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:10; Romans 1:16-17; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Philippians 1:6; 4:19)?
  • From Genesis to Revelation, God’s plan of redemption is revealed to the whole world. We see sin enter and salvation come; this is the greatest love story of all time (John 3:16). What sin(s) has God, through His son Jesus Christ, redeemed you from? What are you most thankful for on this Christmas morning?
  • Read John 14:2-3. This is the promise of a day greater than that first Christmas. How does this promise of eternal life give you reason to sing today? Who can you and/or your family pray for and share the Good News with this next year like the shepherds did, so that they might sing “Glory to God in the highest” by next Christmas Day? If you know a neighbor or friend who is alone today, reach out to them, wish them a Merry Christmas and share with them about the hope you have because of Jesus!
  • The Word of God (John 1:1,14) destroys sin, isolation, and war; it brings peace. Make space in your day this upcoming year to let God’s Word change you. What is your plan for yourself and your family to encounter the living God through His Word? If you don’t have a plan yet, Join the Journey (www.jointhejourney.com) with us as we study Psalms and Proverbs starting January 2, 2017!

FAMILY ACTIVITY:

Merry Christmas! If you have been following along with Seeds of Christmas: A Family Advent Guide, today you will want to draw a star on your final ornament like the one that the wise men may have seen in the sky when Jesus was born. If you have the Seeds of Christmas CD from Seeds Family Worship, listen and sing along to the song “Joy,” the song the angels sang to the shepherds on that first Christmas. Spend time praying together as a family. Parents, pray over the seeds of truth that have been planted in the hearts of your kids this Christmas season. Pray God would water them, nurture them, and bring about a harvest of righteousness in the lives of your kids this year by the power of Jesus our Lord.