“… And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 18:2-4
“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.”
– Erma Bombeck
COME TO THE DIVINE AS A CHILD
Is there anything more exciting than being a child on Christmas morning?
If you can, think back with me to when you came around the corner and see presents everywhere. In my home, as a boy we never wrapped. Our gifts were laying out for us.
One year I cheated and searched high and low for my gifts. When found them, I was so excited, but as the big day approached, I had lost the benefit of the surprise and joy that is found in the surprise.
That’s what was so cool as a kid – EXPECTATION~Being a child, with the wonder os Christmas swirling through your little heart.
And this is what God asks of us each day, to change and become like little children. Not just on Christmas, but each day approaching God the Father as a child, with excited anticipation of his goodness, humbly trusting him that every need will be met and every care will be under his control.
God never waits for Christmas to give you gives. He gives you peace, joy and love all day, every day.
God loves you so much that He gave you the gift of Jesus, and there is no greater gift.
Ask Your Kids: What does Jesus mean when He says we should all be like a child? (He means to be excited and filled with joy as we celebrate His birthday!)
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John the Baptist said of Jesus: “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
I remember singing the old Christmas tune that I think Mom and Dad used to straighten me out when I was acting badly. It goes like this: “You better watch out You better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, He’s checking it twice, He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice, Santa Claus is coming to town.”
I was captured with the thought that somebody knew if I was good or bad. But God knows everything about us, even when we think bad thoughts or do bad things. Even we act badly and pout.
Aren’t you glad that Jesu came and created Christmas even though He knew all the things we have done?
Read this poem out loud with your family:
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small.
– Eva K. Logue
We are like a candle that keeps burning brightly with the light of Christ and Christmas. We give ourselves away, worshiping Him and serving him, that we might become less and less, that he might become greater and brighter through us.
This Christmas season, allow yourself to burn brightly for Jesus. After all, Christmas is all about Jesus.
Ask your children these two questions:
1. If I act badly and don’t obey all of God’s rules, will He still love me? (YES! He always loves us, but when we do bad things, we hurt His feelings)
2. How can each of us burn, like a candle, give ourselves away this Christmas?
Jesus, please help us to shine brightly for you this Christmas season. We want to live less and less the way we often live and we want to be more and more like you, amen.
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JESUS IS THE GREATEST GIFT
Each year we are reminded that Christmas should not be just about giving and receiving presents. Yet, if we honestly consider the heart of Christmas, it is, indeed, all about gift giving. At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the greatest gift ever given, by the greatest gift-giver of all, our wonderful God, our Heavenly Father.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us.'” (Matthew 1:22-23)
“Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.” (Psalm 21:6)
As you read these verses, stop afterword and ask your family these two questions.
What does Immanuel mean? (God with us)
What kind of gifts does Jesus give us? (Eternal (never-ending life in Heaven)
Jesus is the gift and Jesus is also the giver. Yes, God the Father, who created this world sent Jesus from Heaven to be born in a stable because there was no room for Mary, Joseph and Jesus anywhere.
Ask your family if they ever create room for Jesus in their day?
God the Father gave us Jesus. Jesus gives us Heaven, and Jesus also gives us His Holy Spirit.
Just like one apple has three parts (core, meat and skin), God has three parts (God the Father, who created the world. Jesus the Son, who gave us forgiveness and His life, and God the Holy Spirit that lives inside our life when we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins).
Jesus came from Heaven as a gift, and He gave us more gifts. Every single gift that we get to celebrate is all because of Jesus!
Pray together: Jesus, thank you for coming to earth and being the greatest gift of all time. Thank you that we get to celebrate all of the fun things around Christmastime. But most of all, thank you for loving us so much that you were willing to be born in a little stable and lay in a manger for us. We Love You, Amen.
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I think we would all agree that the Christmas season can be pretty stressful and chaotic. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of why we celebrate. That is why it is important for you to be intentional in pointing our kids to Jesus during this Christmas season.
While it can be a challenge, making the effort to dedicate time to worship Jesus as a family is so worth the effort! When families explore the true meaning of Christmas, they are placing the appropriate attention to the very reason that all of our other celebrations happen.
There are a ton of helpful resources for drawing your family’s attention to Jesus during Christmas, but no resource is as valuable as God’s Word. Consider using this short devotion to lead your family in a time of worship this morning or evening. Consider letting your kiddos take turns reading the Bible story.
READ TODAY’S SCRIPTURE ALOUD WITH YOUR FAMILY: Luke 2:1-20
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Luke’s telling of the story was written from interviews with people that were there and saw all of the things that he records in his gospel story. He probably interview Mary, a few shepherds, maybe a wise man, or possibly even Joseph. Can you imagine how big his eyes must have been when Mary and Joseph talked with him about that rickety stable and how they wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and then lay Him in a feed trough, a manger?
O My! Jesus and His birth changed the entire world. In Old Testament times, a priest or a prophet had to tell the people of the things of God. But now, God came to be with us. That is why Jesus is our Emmanuel, which means, God with us!
Jesus came and fulfilled God’s promises that go all the way back to the story of Creation! We can rest on the promises of God because He loves us so much. And, we can trust His promises because He is perfect, in every way!
Take a few minutes to stop, with your family and experience Luke’s Christmas Story!
– Ask: “Why do we celebrate Christmas?” Explain that we celebrate Christmas to honor the birth of Jesus.
– Ask: “What makes Jesus’ birth different from any other baby’s birth?” Remind family members that the Son of God was in Heaven with God but came to earth as a human baby. Pick up a wrapped Christmas gift. Challenge family members to think of what it would be like to try and put the entire world in a gift box. Explain that Jesus is the all-powerful God who created everything but He came to earth as the most tiny and helpless of all human forms.
– Ask the big picture question: “Why was Jesus born?” Say the answer together as a family, “Jesus was born to rescue us (from sin).” Explain that we need a Savior. Jesus kept all of God’s laws perfectly while He was on earth. Jesus did not deserve to die, but He took God’s punishment we deserved and died on the cross in our place.
– Ask: “What makes Jesus’ birth good news?” Explain that because Jesus came to earth, we can be saved from sin. Jesus rose from the dead, and one day, He is coming back to make everything new and right.
Now, Lead your family in a time of prayer.
God, thank You that because of Jesus we can celebrate Christmas. As we do all the fun things that come with Christmas, help us remember Jesus most of all. Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your very own Son to earth as a baby so that we could be saved from our sin and can spend forever with You. We love You! Amen.
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SCRIPTURE: COLOSSIANS 3:16
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
As we head into the heart of this Christmas season, let’s all take a few moments each day to connect our hearts and our homes to the King that came and created Christmas.
The ornament that you received at O Night Divine, is a reminder that Jesus came to earth, and was born in that small stable so that we might welcome Him into our lives.
The fact that Jesus came from the glory of Heaven and stepped into our time and space is proof that He came to make good on the Prophet Isaiah’s words of promise, that Jesus would be our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace.
Isaiah wrote that promise after God told him to do so. But the time in which Isaiah wrote those words, he was living in a bad place, with a evil king. The four roles of the coming King Jesus was to assure the people that God had not forgotten them. His words were puzzling and yet hope-filled.
You see, to a people living in slavery and darkness, they needed guidance, they needed hope, and they needed to see a way out of their pitiful situation. God’s answer to their heartache was that a Wonderful Counselor would provide an answer to every problem, hope to a hopeless people, and wisdom to weary people. That promise is still being fulfilled today. Jesus came and the promise was kept, but that same promise it being fulfilled in our day as He still provides all of that and more for us today!
Isaiah also promised a Mighty God. Jesus came to this earth as a baby, but he served His people with the heroic power of a Mighty God. Satan could not take Him away. Jesus, the same Jesus that had been born in that little stable healed and taught and gave His life, so that we could have life in abundance and life eternal.
Then Isaiah dropped a wildly truthful word on us when he promised that Jesus would be an Everlasting Father. A father that would raise His children and His people with love and with mercy. He wouldn’t reign over His people as a tyrant, but as a Shepherd, as a loving, gracious, kind and generous father. A Forever-Father!
And then, Isaiah wrote into this promise from God that Jesus would be Royalty and He would do what no king, no prince, no leader could do, or has ever done…He would lead His Kingdom with love and forgiveness, with grace and mercy, and with hope and peace.
That is why we started off with COLOSSIANS 3:16, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
Let His message of a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, an Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace live within you and encourage you this season! Our King Has Come! Merry Christmas!
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