Monday, December 24, 2018

"Finish Strong" Devotional ~ Day 28

Day 28 - Monday, December 24th, 2018

God Loved and God Gave

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. (John 3:16) 

'Twas the night before Christmas… When we think of those words, we think of kids sleeping with one eye open. In fact, Christmas morning is perhaps the only morning in the year that kids wake up before parents full of excitement and anticipation. 

As we grow older we tend to be less excited about Christmas morning. Christmas morning is not about the packages, the boxes, the wrapping paper, the trees or even the lights. Christmas morning is about Love. Love worth waiting for, as the saying goes. And isn’t that what the Advent season is all about? Expectant waiting with that sense of anticipating the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah, the essence of Love.

For God’s people, there had been 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Now that’s a very long “night before Christmas.” The people were probably living their lives with one eye open, waiting for the promised Messiah to arrive. After waiting all of those years, all of those centuries, certainly they expected his arrival to be spectacular. But the first Christmas morning was not what anyone expected. The long awaited Messiah did not arrive like anyone anticipated. They were looking for a King; God decided to provide them with a Gift in a manger.

John 3:16 is the foundation of all other traditional Christmas verses. “For God so LOVED the world He GAVE…”  In the midst of the 400 years of silence, God never stopped loving, God never stopped providing, God never stopped planning ~ and it all came together on that first Christmas morning. The expectant waiting was over. The anticipation became reality.

God LOVED and God GAVE. God also provided a plan and a promise: whoever believes in Jesus will not die spiritually but will have eternal life in relationship with Jesus on earth and in heaven.

‘Twas the night before Christmas… you open your eyes on Christmas morning, let your first thought be to celebrate the greatest of all gifts… Jesus Christ ~ Love worth waiting for on Christmas morning and all year long!

Today's Challenge:
To focus on Jesus this Christmas, the present and eternal hope and reward of my heart.

Today's Prayer:
Lord, help my thoughts to center on you, to desire you above all else, and to prioritize my relationship with you over the other temporary things of this world. Thank you for sending your Son to be my most precious gift, one which gives new mercies every day and blesses me with every spiritual blessing in Christ now and forever.

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