December – Theological Vitality – Share
Key Everyday Thought:
…the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means “God is with us”) (Isaiah 7:14).
We often take for granted that everyone around us has heard the real story behind Christmas celebrations. Earthly traditions—beautifully decorated Christmas trees, the excitement of buying presents for family and friends, spending time with some of our favourite people, and preparing and consuming tasty holiday food and drinks—can all crowd out our focus on the birth of Christ, the central purpose of the season. Many Canadians, in fact, have never heard the biblical account of God sending His Son in the human form of a baby, born of Mary, a virgin, to grow up and willingly offer His own life on a cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. In obedience to His Father, Jesus took on the guilt of our sins, accepting its punishment, death, so that each person who puts their faith in Him could be forgiven and declared to be in right standing with God. By putting our faith in Christ for forgiveness, we are each given the free gift of eternal life. Let’s constantly remember and share with others the real reason we celebrate the wonder of Christ’s birth.
Ask and it will be granted…
– That Christians would keep the true meaning of Christmas in focus
– That God will open up opportunities to share the Christmas story with others
– That God will reveal Himself to those who are searching for Him
– That strained relationships will be restored as family and friends celebrate together
– That Christ will increase our faith and courage to live for Him in the coming year
PASSAGES TO PONDER
“Rejoice, O people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’”
“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’”
“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”