By: Beth Doohan
“The angel told (Mary)… ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus.* He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!’” ~ Luke 1:31-33
“‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus*, for He will save His people from their sins.’” ~ Matthew 1:20-21
*Jesus means “the Lord saves.” What good news!
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The first weekend in December a few years ago was full of Christmas cheer at our house. My husband and I pulled out decorations and hung beloved ornaments from years past on our pre-lit, 6-foot tall Christmas tree. Our one year old son busily played with his toy nativity set and gazed in wonder at the colorful lights and gleaming ornaments. We gave him a jingle bell to play with, which he happily rang around the room. After our decorating fun, we went for a romp in the fresh snow, created “Sammy the Snowman,” went for a drive to see neighborhood Christmas lights, and finished our evening with a delicious dinner and a Christmas movie. What a wonderful time of family togetherness and creating special memories!
Another treat in our jolly weekend was a visit from my Cousin Anna. She was coming from Fargo, North Dakota, for a job interview in Minneapolis and spent the night with us. As always, Anna brought a festive spirit of her own with her personality of cheer and joy in the Lord. The three of us sat in the cozy den, snug from the blistery outdoors, with blankets and warm conversation to share. After catching up, Anna shared about an advent event she recently attended with her mom and some other ladies.
She described the decorative wintry tables and delicious cranberry cake they enjoyed, then shared the depth of the speaker, Stella Jeffrey’s message about the lineage of Christ. Each of the women included—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary—were incredibly strong women, by no means perfect, but they each served the Lord in her own way. And because of this, each one brought Him glory and was included in His bigger story. As Anna briefly shared this message, she hit on a profound and powerful statement, “I am part of the lineage of Christ, because I am a child of God. I am part of putting His Gospel on display in my life.” This immense privilege and calling struck my heart deeply. We, Wholehearted Women, are part of the lineage and heritage of Christ! He has called us into His story of bringing hope, joy and peace to the world, in this Christmas season and all throughout our lives.
Think about the birth of Christ. It is one of the most amazing, miraculous stories in all of history. At just the right time, God fulfilled numerous prophesies about His Son being born. Here are just a few examples:
- “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” (Isaiah 7:14, NLT)
- “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” (Micah 5:2)
- “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
What amazing things has God planned for your life? How has He called you to bring Him glory as His beloved daughter? As part of the lineage of Christ, how can we put His Gospel on display during the Christmas season? Let’s explore three ways together.
1. WE REMEMBER ALL HE HAS DONE!
During the Christmas season, we are called to remember the birth of Christ and all that God has done for us. Christ Jesus was sent so that we might know God and have eternal life—what good news! If you haven’t already, we encourage you to read the accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke, several times this season. Reading these passages of Scripture will remind you of all the miraculous events leading up to and during the birth of Christ our Lord. Note the reverence and awe that the shepherds, wise men, Simeon and Anna showed for the newborn king. As we remember all our Lord has done for us, let us revere and awe Him for His glory and might. And just as Mary did, let us keep all these things in our hearts and think of them often throughout the season and coming year (Luke 2:19).
2. WE PRAISE HIM FOR ALL HE HAS DONE!
As His creation, we are called to bring God glory and to praise Him with all our lives. Psalm 22:3 says that God is “enthroned on the praises of Israel.” The psalmist asks the Lord to accept his, “upraised hands as an evening offering” (Psalm 141:2). We bring God glory by praising Him! Think of the many Christmas carols that tell of the birth of Christ. If you take time to really think about the lyrics, you may be surprised at their depth and worshipful nature. Come, Emmanuel, which means God with us, and save Israel from its sins (Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel). All you who are faithful, let us come and adore our Savior (O Come All Ye Faithful). The angels in Heaven are singing, glory! Glory to Jesus Christ, the newborn King, and peace to all men who find favor with God (Hark, the Herald Angels Sing). These songs and more proclaim the glory of Christ Jesus and help us to worship Him with all our hearts and all that we are!
3. WE SHARE HIS GOOD NEWS WITH OTHERS!
The final way that we put the Gospel on display in this season is to share it with others—loved ones, our children, co-workers, hair stylist, grocery clerk, teachers, and even strangers. Ask God to bring you opportunities to share the true meaning of Christmas with those who need to hear His good news and receive His love. Remember that as His children, we are both called and equipped to share the Gospel. Jesus told His followers in John 15:16, “You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my Name.”
We are God’s handiwork, His masterpiece, created to do good works in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 2:10)! We, Wholehearted Women, are fully equipped to share the good news with others. You may not get to tell the entire Gospel message with someone, but you can show God’s love by caring for them, offering your prayers, telling your stories of God’s work in your heart and life, and inviting them to church with you for them to hear God’s Word. Through these small measures of love and our testimony of His faithfulness, God is able to do a work in their hearts and draw them to Himself. Who knows the seeds God has already planted in their lives and the part He wants you to play in sowing or reaping? As His daughter, be willing to testify to His great love.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
Ever since we put up the Christmas tree, our morning routine has changed. As a one year old, my oldest son no longer climbed down from my lap after story time to play with his toys in the nursery. Instead, he eagerly toddled down the hall in his PJs to see the Christmas tree. Standing or sitting in front of the pine, he looked up in wonder, drinking in the beauty of the lights and brightly colored ornaments. Today, he is three, and my youngest son is now one year old. The tree lights and festive décor are now deeply enjoyed by them both. Wholehearted Women, we pray that your Christmas is full of the beauty of the season and that you take time to remember all God has done, praise Him, and share His good news with those around you. May your season be filled with the love of family and friends, the joy of holiday traditions, and the wonderment of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ not just now but throughout the year!
Time to Reflect
1. Take some time to reflect honestly about today’s devotion topic. What is the Holy Spirit ministering to your heart?
2. Revisit today’s Scripture passages. What do these verses teach us about Jesus? How do they change things? (i.e. The way that we live? What we live for? Our experience of God?)