Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: JOY is the Heart of Christmas! (LISTEN HERE)
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart. (Christian Worship 6:1)
I can hardly wait!
Only 13 days until Christmas!
As a kid, the countdown was palatable. You knew that when December 25 came, it was time to open presents, have special food, and enjoy time with family. You couldn’t wait.
But what if you didn’t know the day?
Parents do this all the time, right? “Maybe tomorrow?” “Maybe next week?” We make our kids wait indefinitely…perhaps hoping they would give up and stop asking.
Can you imagine waiting not just for a few days, a couple weeks or even a full year…but for decades, centuries, millennium?
At what point would you give up and just figure it will never happen?
I can imagine, it would be challenging.
No wonder the words of the angels would “cause great joy” because the waiting was finally over.
The Messiah, “Anointed One,” God had promised years before had now been born as a baby in the manger of Bethlehem.
Charles Wesley in the 1744 hymn, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” captured the essence and heart of the message of the angel. Packed into the baby in the manger of Bethlehem was multiple reasons to have joy.
- He would set his people free from the fear and consequence of sin.
Galatians 4:3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
2. He would provide rest for our hearts and souls.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
3. He would give strength and encouragement.
Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
4. He would give hope to the earth.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
The next time you have a hard time waiting for God to work, look at the manger of Bethlehem and remember that joy comes when we allow the faithfulness of God to work in the way and timeline he determines is best for us.
Apply: What are you having a hard time waiting on God to do? What does it look like to allow God to work in his time and way in your life?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your faithfulness and always working the events of my life to the glory of your name…and the perfect timing of your plan for me. AMEN.