December 19: Resurrection
“And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.’” (Luke 24:2-6)
Jesus’s death was not the end of the story. On the third day, He rose from the grave. Jesus appeared to the disciples in His resurrected body and proved to them that He was alive, explaining how He was the fulfillment of everything that had been written in the Old Testament (Luke 24:36-48). Jesus defeated death (1 Corinthians 15:55-57), and He is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:17-18).
December 20: Forgiveness
“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
Because Jesus paid the price on the cross, our sins are pardoned, and we can join Him in having eternal life (1 John 5:13). This is something we could never earn through our own efforts, no matter how good we tried to be; yet God offers it as a completely free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation only comes through believing in Jesus and trusting in His work on the cross (Romans 10:9).
December 21: New Life
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
When we trust in Jesus Christ, we are made new. We are no longer defined by our past mistakes, no matter what we may have done (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). In fact, we can use our story of redemption and reconciliation in order to reach others (Luke 8:38-39).
December 22: Great Commission
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
As followers of Jesus, we are able to play a role in His ministry. We can share the good news of the gospel with those who don’t know Him (Romans 1:16) and teach newer believers what we ourselves have learned from others (2 Timothy 2:2).
December 23: Christ’s Church
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:14-16)
All of Christ’s followers make up the Church: a group of people who love, serve, encourage, teach, and forgive each other. We are all connected as members of one body, with each of us having different roles to play and different gifts to use in serving others (Romans 12:4-8). Church is a gift that helps us grow in our relationships with each other and with God (Ephesians 4:11-16).
December 24: Christ’s Return
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
After His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), where He went to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-3). One day, however, Jesus will come back. He will gather up His followers to live with Him, while those who have chosen to reject Christ will be left outside His presence (Revelation 22:12-15).
December 25: Heaven
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’” (Revelation 21:3-5)
The end of God’s story doesn’t really end. That’s because the end of this world is just the start of eternity. God will make all things new (Revelation 21:6), restoring everything that was broken by sin. And we will get to live forever with Him in paradise.