Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: JOY is the Heart of Christmas! (LISTEN HERE)
Matthew 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Is this a verse you would put on your mirror to give you joy every morning?
Perhaps not your first choice.
If you wanted a “joy” perspective on your day, you might choose something like Philippians 4:4, “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
However, joy and rejoicing in the Bible and for the believer is a result of God’s work on behalf of his people. In two short passages, the Spirit of God gives us three great reasons to have joy connected to the birth of Jesus in the manger of Bethlehem.
First, the birth of Jesus testifies to the faithfulness and truth of God. For centuries the Lord had promised his people he would send one to overcome the problem of sin. Promises are only good and only believed if the giver of the promise is willing to follow through on their promise. While a long time in coming, God followed through. The impact for us, is we know that ANY promise God gives is one that he has or will follow through on. So pick your favorite promise. If there is any doubt God was serious when he gave the promise, simply look in the manger of Bethlehem and remember not only did this take “place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet,” but it took place to assure us that every promise God makes will be fulfilled. This is a reason for joy!
Second, God can do the impossible! “A virgin will conceive and give birth to a son…” Biologically, this doesn’t work. Yet in God’s eternal plan and by his infinite power, it worked. God combined the humanity of Mary with the divine of his Spirit to bring Jesus as the God/man into existence. A human of human conception wouldn’t be enough to carry out God’s plan of salvation, but God working the miracle of taking on human flesh was exactly what had to happen to bring about the human impossibility of the salvation of souls. Often we are faced with our human limitations and do not see the answer or the solution. Where do we turn? We can give up or we can give it to God who can, as he wills and sees best, work the impossible. How do we know? The virgin DID conceive and DID give birth to a son. God did and still does work miracles. This is a reason for joy!
Third, God is with us. The fact that God would leave his throne in heaven to live among us is amazing of itself. Yet knowing that God IS with us, is a reason for joy every day. Why? Going through life alone can be intimidating. We look for parents, friends, spouses to journey with us. When all alone, life can be full of fear. When you think of a past time you were afraid, it helps when someone is with us to go through that. Consider the evening of the resurrection of Jesus. The disciples were afraid and locked behind closed doors. Look what changed the fear to joy:
John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
When we feel we are navigating life all alone, all we need to do is peer into the manger of Bethlehem and be reminded that God IS with us! This is a reason for joy!
So, maybe Matthew 1:22-23 would be a great passage to put on your mirror to look at and read every morning to remind you three reasons for joy:
God is faithful.
God is powerful.
God is present.
For these reasons, we can rejoice in the Lord…ALWAYS!
Apply: Which of these three reminders do you need the most today? How does this reminder help to bring joy to your life?
Prayer: Lord thank you for being faithful, powerful, and present…and taking time to prove it by being born in a manger in Bethlehem. AMEN.