Merry Christmas from the team at Core Christianity! Whether you are celebrating with family and friends or working or alone, we hope you are reminded of the love and beauty of Jesus Christ. Jesus became human for you. His story becomes your story when you trust him for your salvation. Here are some passages to meditate on or read aloud and a short devotional we hope you find encouraging wherever you are.
Isaiah 9: 6-7
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)."
Amid all the busyness, the message of Christmas brings us back to first principles. It shows us what love is. And the first principle is this: Jesus gave everything he had, because he loved us. He gave his body to the cross because he loved us. But first of all he came because he loved us. The Creator became part of his creation; the Lord of glory came to this fallen earth, to take upon himself the consequences of the sin of the world.
Why did he come? Because he loved us. Why did he die? Because he loved us. Why did he love us? Because he loved us. If we lose sight of that, we will never love him properly. Perhaps we will never be able to love anybody properly. For until we have tasted his love, we can never fully appreciate why love makes us willing to sacrifice everything. If we are going to live lovingly as well as sacrificially, we must look at the One who did both. -Sinclair Ferguson, Love Came Down at Christmas
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
John 1:1-4; 14-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
Almighty God, who has poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word: Grant that the same light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)
-The Core Christianity Team