Devo for December 23

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  • Devo for December 23

    I Wonder What Christmas Means

    Written By Dr. James Spinnati

    I wonder what Christmas means to a mother who has lost her husband, who must take care of 3 or 4 children, working every day, never quite getting everything done, never making ends meet? I wonder what Christmas means to the little man in Zimbabwe, who knows nothing of shopping malls or Christmas trees? There are times that I wonder what it means to little Korean children with smudges on their cheeks, and sparkling eyes that look up in wonder at the world around them? I wonder what it means to missionaries who are half a world away from families and friends, who are sacrificing so much to take the precious gospel message to others who have never heard?

    I'm sure that it means different things to different people. To merchants it is the busiest time of the year. Stores stay open longer, hire extra people, and hope to go from being in the red to being in the black! For some employees it means a Christmas bonus, a little more money in their pockets to do things that they want to do. For many it means a time of fun and parties. For children it is a time of vacation from school and the excitement of the hour.

    But sometimes I get the feeling that we are like the folks who decided to throw a party to honor a very special friend. They sent out invitations, decorated the hall and had the food catered. All the people came together at the designated time, but to their surprise, the guest of honor did not arrive. Finally, they made the embarrassing discovery that no one had ever invited the guest of honor.

    Have we invited the guest of honor Jesus Christ to His celebration? If we are to truly honor the One who came to take our sins away we must examine Luke 2:8-14. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

    Please understand that shepherds were at the opposite end of the social scale from King Herod. They weren't respected. They had little if any power or prestige. Yet, God's angel came to them, not to Herod and the “elites”, and said, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ, the Lord." Think of the power that was delivered in those 18 words; unto shepherds a Savior was born!

    In that one simple announcement God made known some very important truths.

    I. God knows you and you are important to Him.

    No matter how insignificant you may think you are, God knows you and He is interested in you. All throughout scripture we see God honoring and using people that the world often overlooks or ignores.

    Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and carted off to Egypt. Yet, when God wanted to deliver a very special message to mighty Pharaoh, it was the slave, Joseph, who was brought out of the dungeon to interpret the message. God uses the lowly and despised to show His power.

    When God decided to select a mother for His Son, He went past the fashion salons and beauty parlors of that day. He went past the furs, diamonds, and gold, and went to an insignificant village called Nazareth. There He found a peasant girl. She did not dress in designer clothes. She did not possess a Masters Degree or Doctorate, but she had what counted with our Father; she was pure, humble and spiritual.

    When the Christ came, He was not born in Mt. Sinai Hospital in Jerusalem, surrounded by baby doctors, nurses and assistants. Instead, He was born in a stable. That is why the world looks down its nose and says, "That's foolishness." But in 1 Corinthians l:25 Paul says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." That is why when God wanted His message announced it was delivered to the shepherds. If God cared about shepherds, He cares about you! We all need to hear that. Mothers and children who have been abandoned by their husbands and fathers need to hear the message of the Christ who cares. Lost souls on skid row who drink away their fears need to hear the truth of a living compassionate and forgiving Father. In fact, we all need to hear that. All of us have known feelings of rejection, fear and sorrow. All of us have known feelings of being left out. Christmas comes, the Light of the world shines and God says I love you all wrapped up in swaddling clothes. Then He makes the same announcement to us every time we open up the Word of God, “Unto you a Savior is born."

    II. Your life matters because God loves you

    The second thing this passage teaches us is that life matters to our Heavenly Father. I imagine those shepherds must have sat around the campfire many times and wondered if life was really worth while saying, "What difference does it make if we watch the sheep or not?"

    Maybe we wonder, too, "What difference does it make if I get up every morning or not? It seems as if my life is an endless cycle of things that really don't mean much. I just wonder if life is worth living at all?" When God made His announcement to the shepherds He is also saying to us, "Your life is worthwhile remember it is my gift to you.

    Some years ago a cartoon appeared in newspapers across the land. It pictured two farmers in Kentucky, standing in a field as snow fell softly. One turned to the other and asked, "Anything exciting happen today?" "Nah, nothing exciting," said the other farmer. "Oh, there was a baby born over at Tom Lincoln's cabin, but nothing exciting ever happens around here." Little did they know but that baby born in the home of Tom Lincoln one day became the President of the United States. He changed the course of
    history and liberated the {physically held} slaves.

    I also thought as I read that cartoon of the first century. I wonder if there were people in Bethlehem on that night so long asking, "Anything exciting happen today?" “No, nothing much, oh, I hear some woman gave birth to a baby in a stable, but nothing exciting ever happens around here." Here they were during the time of most historical point in man’s existence and yet they were clueless that the one prophesied had come to set the spiritually held slaves free.

    III. Your faith matters too

    Shepherds were men of faith. They had more faith than some of the scribes and Pharisees who went to the synagogue every day and prayed over and over, "Let the Messiah come. Let Him come today!" They prayed that prayer for hundreds of years and they must have wondered, "Does God hear our prayers? Does God keep His promises? Will the Messiah ever come?" There must have been many who quit praying, and lost faith in the promises of God. But notice that when the announcement came it came to shepherds and their faith carried them through.

    How about us? Sometimes we become weary. There may be times when you have wondered if it is worthwhile going to church. There are times when you may have thought, “Is it worth sacrificing for the Lord or being faithful.”

    If you ever are in that position open the Bible and read First Corinthians 15:58 and you will know that it is worth everything! Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. You will never regret one dollar that you gave to the Lord’s work. You will never be sorry for one service you attended. You will never be disappointed at the blessings that our God has “rained” down upon you. So brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord for you know if He came the first time, and He did, He will come the second time to usher you into heaven itself.

    .


    bringin' em back ~ to the Dodge Mahal !!....

    Where old Magnums can find a home.. :angel:

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