GOD WITH US - December 24, 2022
Saturday, December 24th
Advent Devotional #28 written by Pastor Shawn Thornton
GOD WITH US
To read today: Matthew 1:18-23
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel,” (which means “God with us”).
God works in the lives of all kinds of people. People from every unique background are a part of the fabric of the Christmas story.
A teenage girl.
A blue-collar carpenter.
A retired, childless couple who faithfully served God.
A widow working in the temple.
A group of third-shift shepherds.
A royal delegation from across the desert.
The story of Christmas is all of us. Mary’s story is a good example of a girl trying to honor God and make good choices. If you are engaged and your wedding plans have hit a few bumps, Mary and Joseph know what you’re facing. If you come from a blended family, be encouraged. Jesus had a step-dad.
The story of Elizabeth and Zechariah can be comforting if you have struggled with infertility. Anna, the widow at the Temple, can relate if you lost a spouse and never remarried. If you dedicated your life to loving and serving God, Simeon is your example to follow. If you find yourself as a foreign national living in America, Mary and Joseph fled to a foreign country for a time. If you have invested your finances into a venture that seemed unsure and you’re hoping you made the right decision, imagine the plight of the wise men when they arrived in Jerusalem. What they had invested in finding the new King seemed completely lost.
-travel for the holidays, pay taxes, raise a family, can’t find a hotel to stay in, are expecting a baby, had to work the third shift…again, Christmas is for you.
-have family and friends who don’t believe your Jesus story or understand why you follow Jesus, if you have little money this holiday, neither did Mary and Joseph when they went to the temple to name Jesus. The Christmas story is your story.
-if the improbable journey you are on has led you to Jesus, if you are facing the impossible, if you are lonely, Jesus is the heart of the Story of Christmas. Jesus came to bring peace to your story.
Jesus brings all of these stories together in His story. Jesus’ story brings meaning and purpose to our story.
Even if you happen to be a paranoid politician who finds others to be a threat, there’s Herod for you.
Christmas Eve is a time to remember how good God is. Christmas is the time to stop and see that God takes ordinary, everyday people and brings about the extraordinary. No one was qualified to play a role in the Christmas story, but everyone fit perfectly. God takes our emptiness and fills us. God takes our brokenness and heals us. God takes our mess and turns it into a message. God never wastes the experience and pain of our past. God works for our good and for His glory to bring peace that passes our understanding into our story (Philippians 4:7). That is the miracle of the Christmas story, Jesus our Prince of Peace.
Today: Ponder the words of Helen Steiner Rice, “Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.”