Monday, December 24, 2007

Advent Devotional: Christmas Eve

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Emmanuel, "God with us."

These days it's fashionable to speak of the "wonder" or the "magic" of Christmas, as though the holiday were simply a time to celebrate human kindness and the enduring strength of old and treasured relationships. For the Christian, this is especially frustrating. At times we are tempted, like Charlie Brown in the old "Peanuts" special, to shout, "Isn't there anybody who knows what Christmas is all about?"

As believers, we alone can share the real meaning of Christmas. It is contained in that lovely name Emmanuel, "God with us." Christmas is Jesus leaving His Glory in Heaven and humbling Himself to become one of us. The wonder of Christmas is that God should not only have good will towards us but demonstrate it in the most personal and costly way imaginable, all out of love for a ruined creation, and broken men and women.

As believers we have known and experienced God with us. He has left us the task of helping others to experience Him as Emmanuel, too.

Lord Jesus, let us be faithful to Your final command, to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. While men's hearts and thoughts are turning to you in this season, help us to make the most of every opportunity to share Your light and your love!

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