Posts tagged with: Christmas

Angel figurines with various responses on their faces.

Faith to Produce

Faith is uncomfortable, and is almost always associated with the impossible. It’s this unorthodox dance between God and human beings where God speaks surreal things and then we respond with obedience to produce supernatural or highly improbable results.

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Silhouettes of a camel caravan set in the desert during sun down.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 8: Be Bold Like the Magi

As you reflect on the Magi in the Christmas story, as you are impressed by their boldness, don’t just admire them. Imitate them. Approach God’s throne boldly. Know that, because of Jesus Christ, God is ready to shower you with mercy and grace in your time of need.

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A person holding a gift tightly close to their chest.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 7: Jesus Understands Your Struggles

Jesus understands. He gets it. He gets us. So, when we’re hurting physically, or when our hearts are heavy, or when we feel abandoned, or when people disappoint us, or when those we love reject us, or when we experience the reality of being human in a fallen world, Jesus knows how we feel.

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A baby laid down, wrapped in simple cloth.

Christmas Hope

The pain and trauma of this world are not unfamiliar to the Christmas story… Baby Jesus was entering a battle zone full of oppression, sickness, and death—not a world filled with mistletoe, gingerbread houses, and holiday parties. Jesus came, in the midst of all this, to eradicate death, free the oppressed, and fill us with unspeakable joy. This is the fullness of what it means to “save his people from their sins.”

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A child waiting for help to place ornaments on a Christmas tree.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 6: Jesus is Able to Help You

At Christmas, we focus on the wonder of the birth of Jesus. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Christmas sermon on dealing with temptation. But, from the perspective of Hebrews 2, one of the life-changing implications of Christmas—the celebration of the incarnation of God in human flesh—is that Jesus will help us when we’re tempted. This is such good news.

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A heart shaped ornament hung on a Christmas tree.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 5: Why the Humanity of Jesus Matters So Much

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the one who was truly God and truly human. Yet the birth of Jesus did not save us. Rather, his birth and his nature made possible the salvation that was yet to come, when Jesus died in our place on the cross and was raised triumphant on Easter. Christmas is, in this sense, a prelude to what comes later.

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A Christmas tree topper in the shape of the star that guided the magi.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 4: Anticipating the Future in Our Christmas Praise

At Christmas, we are right to focus on Jesus Christ and the wonder of his birth. We rightly bow before him in worship, like the Magi. Yet, in doing so, we are not just looking back to the past. We are also anticipating the future advent of Christ, when he will be revealed in all of his power and glory. Then, we will join with all creatures in bowing before him and proclaiming that he is Lord.

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Writing holiday cards over tea.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 3: Heeding the Summons of Christmas

We heed the summons of Christmas not only by giving gifts, participating in holiday worship services, and wishing others a “Merry Christmas.” We live the truth of Christmas also by choosing to embody the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus. Even as he did not use his authority for personal advantage, we are called to give up our rights in service to others.

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The Bible opened to the Christmas story in Luke in front of festive decorations.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 2: An Unexpected Christmas Story

If someone were to ask you where to find the Christmas story in the Bible, you’d rightly point to the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus as found in Matthew and Luke… Yet there are other passages in the New Testament that tell the story of Christmas from different perspectives. One of these passages appears in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in the second chapter.

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Advent: Incarnational Leadership

It takes intentionality and effort to “make our dwelling among” those we lead. Being present with our followers takes time and attention… “Flesh and blood” leadership, the incarnational leadership that Jesus taught and embodied, requires something more. It means finding ways to live among—in other words, to enter the world of—those we lead.

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Figures of baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph set before a background of twinkling lights.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 1: Offer Your Body to God

Christmas has a lot to do with bodies, if you stop to think about it. The nativity narrative in Luke begins with the news that the aged body of Elizabeth will soon bear a son. Then, a virgin named Mary learns that her body will soon contain the very Son of God. When God’s Son is born, he has a real body, one that starts out life in weakness and dependency. If you take away the bodies, you really don’t have Christmas at all.

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A path in a desert towards the sun.

God’s New Name for You

What are your names? I’m not asking only about the names given to you at birth. I’m wondering also about the names assigned to you by others, the labels used to identify you, the titles that have brought you honor or shame… Do you need to discover the new name or names God has for you? Do you need to know that you are a Saint, one of God’s holy people, set apart for God and his purposes?

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Figurines of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.

Christmas and Work: The Fruit of Ordinary Work

In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we noted that, after the first Christmas was over, both Mary and the shepherds went back to work. Mary was devoted to the care of her infant while the shepherds gave themselves to the care of their sheep.

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A work desk with hints of Christmas scattered on it.

Christmas and Work: Taking Christmas Back to Work with Us

Is there a way to take Christmas back to work with us? I’m not thinking about playing Christmas music in January or greeting people with “Merry Christmas” throughout the year. Rather, I’m wondering how the reality of Christmas might transform our experience of our work.

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A Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a treble clef.

Christmas and Work: Is Your Work an Expression of Peace on Earth?

One of the most familiar and beloved of Christmas messages is “Peace on Earth.” You see this on Christmas cards, billboards, store windows, and church bulletins. Even people who don’t believe the basic story of Christmas can embrace “Peace on Earth.” It sounds wonderful, especially in a time of so much conflict in our world.

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