'christmas' Tagged Posts

'christmas' Tagged Posts

Daily Devotions

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.” vss. 1-2a Isaiah 35:1-4 Isaiah lived in a semi-arid land, right on the edge of the Judean desert, and he annually observed the effects of the rainy season. When the winter rains come in January or February, the desert blooms. Areas that appear to be barren much of the year suddenly are…

Daily Devotions

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” vs. 1​​ ​​​​​​​​Isaiah 11:1-4 In some homes, a Jesse tree has appeared in the family room right alongside the Christmas trees. Usually Jesse trees are not impressive in themselves; they’re just large dead branches stuck in some sort of non-descript container. They’re not at all like Christmas trees, but they are meant to be decorated. Each day during Advent some sort…

Daily Devotions

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” vs. 36 Matthew 24:36-39 When Matthew wrote his gospel, many believed that the end times were near. The armies of Rome had destroyed the temple, and many believers were sure that Jesus would surely soon return. But as Matthew recounts Jesus’ words about the end, he makes it clear that all we can know for sure is that God…

Daily Devotions

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.” vs. 10 John 1:10-14 According to the church’s calendar we’re about half-way through the twelve day Christmas season, but from a cultural perspective everyone is pretty much done celebrating. Some have already taken down their decorations and the few who have live trees are probably wondering if they can haul them out to the curb for trash pick-up. It’s been…

Daily Devotions

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” vs. 14 John 1:1-14 Christmas Day There was just something about Jesus! It wasn’t that he had magic powers or was more handsome than anyone else. From the little we know, he was probably quite ordinary, hardly distinguishable from any other Galilean. But some saw something in him–a passion that guided his…

Daily Devotions

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.” vs. 8 Luke 2:8-14 Christmas Eve Tonight there will be worship services at the Shepherd’s Fields, just outside of Bethlehem. The crowds will be small–Israel’s borders remain closed to foreign visitors. But worshippers will be there, huddled outside against the chill on a dark hillside with the lights of Jewish settlements just across the valley. Aside from a small beautifully adorned modern chapel,…

Daily Devotions

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” vs. 7 Luke 2:1-7 This verse paints a heartbreaking scene, and we know it well–it’s the centerpiece of every Sunday School Christmas program and nearly every home has at least one nativity packed away for seasonal display. Luke crafted the story with purpose–he wants his readers to know that…

Daily Devotions

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly…” vss. 11-12 Titus 2:11-14 This little letter, likely composed sometime in the late first century, provides a picture of the Nativity that we could well take to heart as we put the final touches on our Christmas preparations. It’s been a long Advent, and the ongoing concerns…

Daily Devotions

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” vs. 45 Luke 1:43-45 Elizabeth speaks from experience. In the first of Luke’s nativity stories she had been the heroine. Even though her husband Zechariah doubted, in her old age she had conceived and was very pregnant when Mary showed up at her doorstep. The story as Luke tells it is touching. Two women, one very old and one…

Daily Devotions

Psalm 29 “May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” vs. 11 The psalmist had no doubt about the sovereignty of God, and believed that every part of creation reflected the power and majesty of its creator. Earthquakes, winds, thunder, and lightning were all a part of the earth’s posturing before the Almighty One–and as one caught up in the turmoil and messiness of it all, he cried out, “May the Lord…

Daily Devotions

Genesis 1:1-5 “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” vs. 3 According to the ancient Hebrews, all creation was spoken into existence by God in the beginning, and the first of those words was, “Lights!” And it makes sense! Any movie director knows that nothing can happen on the set until proper lighting is in place, hence the phrase, “Lights, camera, action!” What’s interesting though, is that this light had nothing to do with the sun.…

Daily Devotions

John 1:15-18 “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” vs. 18 Through the centuries humans have been told that the study of religions will lead them to an understanding of God. And so we have done our work. We’ve dug into holy scriptures, listened to learned teachers, and probed deep into the intricacies of the world’s religions–and for the most part the search…