The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit
Advent is the time of preparation for Christmas. Make sure that you prepare your heart for a real celebration of our Saviour. Remember that Christmas is not about us. It’s about God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: “an angel of the Lord” comes with news of something very special – “what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the Name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21). This is what makes Christmas a special time!
Lord, we’ve only just begun – to experience Your love and enjoy Your blessing.
We’ve started out on the journey of faith – but we haven’t reached our destination. We’re still travelling. We dare not stand still. We must keep on going forward – with You and for You. Sometimes, we can forget where we’re going – and we can forget how to get there. Help us to keep our eyes on Jesus – He will lead us on to the glory of heaven.
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus is “Emmanuel … God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
“He walked where we walk. He stood where we stand, He felt what we feel. He understands. He knows our frailty. He shared our humanity. He was tempted in every way – yet without sin. He is God with us. He is so close to us. He died in our place that we might live” (Graham Kendrick). As we think of Jesus, Your perfect Son, our perfect Saviour, may our hearts be filled with worship. May our songs of praise give glory to Your great Name, the Name of our salvation.
Lord, help us to stand upon the truth of Your Word – not to collapse under the lies of the devil.
When Your Word says, ‘This is what the Lord has done’, who are we to say, ‘Is this really what You have done?’ Talk like that doesn’t come from You, Lord. It comes from our enemy, Your enemy – the devil. When the devil attacks us – sowing seeds of unbelief, help us to take our stand against him. Help us to triumph over him by the power of Your Word.
Watching, Waiting, Worshipping
During Advent, we are watching and waiting. We hear the words of the prophet – “to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). We’re looking forward to Christmas time. It’s a time for celebration. The Lord has come. We hear the words of Jesus – “I will come back and take you to be with Me” (John 14:3). We’re looking to the future. It’s a great future. It’s God’s future – “we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). May our watching and waiting be filled with worshipping – “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus, our Saviour, is “Faithful and True.”
He is “the Word of God,” our “Lord and King” (Revelation 19:11,13,16). He invites us to come to Him: “Come, gather together for the great supper of God” (Revelation 19:17). What a great future You’re preparing for us – “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). We thank You, Lord, for the precious promise which sets our feet on this eternal journey: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
We look at earth. We look at heaven. We see a troubled world. We see tremendous worship. Our world is deeply troubled. Heaven’s worship is absolutely tremendous. In our world, we see our sin. In Your heaven, we see Your “salvation” (Revelation 6:16-17). Help us to lift up our eyes, to see Jesus, to be saved through “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10,14).
Love, Light, Life
In the Advent Season, we think about love. It’s the greatest love of all. It’s everlasting love. It’s the love of God – “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son …” (John 3:16). We think also about light. It’s the greatest light of all. It’s everlasting light. It’s the light of God – “the Lord God will give them light” (Revelation 22:5). Our thoughts are focused on life. It’s the greatest life of all. It’s everlasting life. It’s the life of God – “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).
We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, “Jesus Christ” died “for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2).
This is Good News. It’s great news! It’s the best news we could ever hear – and it comes from You. What love You have for us. Help us not to keep this love to ourselves. Help us to share the Good News – “the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Hope, Happiness, Holiness
What is God saying to us during the Advent Season? He’s speaking to us with His message of hope, His offer of happiness and His call to holiness. In Christ, we have glorious hope – “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). We want to be happy. Christ calls us to be holy. We don’t find happiness by searching for it. We find happiness when we seek holiness. We’re looking for a happy Christmas. Let’s remember “the holy Child of Bethlehem.” In Him, we will find wholeness – when we’re wholly devoted to Him.
Help us, Lord, to “grow” in Christ – and to give “glory” to Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
How can we live without Your grace? Why should we not give glory to You? Grace comes from You. Glory belongs to You. The grace is Yours. The glory is Yours. Teach us to give thanks for Your grace. Teach us to give You glory in all that we do.
Praise, Prayer, Preaching
Where will God speak to us during this Advent Season? There’s a special blessing promised to those who gather together for worship. Remember Jesus’ precious promise – “where two or three come together in My Name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). In our worship, there is praise, prayer and preaching. May all that we do be “to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves” (Ephesians 1:6). Looking forward to Christ’s Return, “I am coming soon”, let us pray with eager longing and expectant faith – “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). As we serve the Lord, may we always say, “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Corinthians 4:5).
Help us, Lord, to seek “the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
May we not be content with the ‘holiness’ of the Pharisee – “God, I thank You that I am not like other men … ” (Luke 18:11-120. That’s not holiness. That’s hypocrisy. Teach us that true holiness emerges out of real humility – “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Teach us to pray for Your salvation – and, then, to seek the holiness which is grounded in Your salvation. This is “the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
Grow, Glow, Go
God is calling us to grow, glow and go. We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We are to glow with the light of the Lord. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). He says to us, “You are the light of the world … let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16). Growing and glowing, let us go out and tell the story of what the Lord has done for us – “Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.”
We look back, Lord, to what Jesus has done for us – “He loved us and gave Himself for us” (Galatians 2:20).
When we remember what Jesus has done for us, help us to look forward to what He will do for us: “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Help us to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Christmas is a great time of the year.
What do we mean when we say this kind of thing? Are we saying that we prefer “the bleak mid-winter” to the “summer suns” (Church Hymnary, 178, 624)?
We endure the bleak mid-winter – “Frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow” (Church Hymnary, 178).
We enjoy the summer suns – “Summer suns are glowing over land and sea; happy light is flowing, bountiful and free. Everything rejoices in the mellow rays; all earth’s thousand voices swell the psalm of praise” (Church Hymnary, 624).
We speak about “a white Christmas” – but it can be very cold!
What is it that warms our hearts – when the weather’s so cold? What is the light that shines so brightly – when the winter nights are so long and dark?
What do we mean when we say, “Christmas is a great time of year?”
The greatness of Christmas has nothing to do with the time of the year. It has everything to do with a great love, a great gift and a great future.
The greatest love of all – This is what Christmas is all about. It’s about the love of God. God’s love for us is so much greater than our love for Him. There’s a hymn, which says, “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine … If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now!” (Redemption Hymnal, 524). What are we to say about our love for Jesus? Sometimes, we’re up. Sometimes, we’re down. Sometimes, we sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back” (Mission Praise, 272) – but there are other times when we feel like turning back, when we find it so hard to keep on following Jesus. What are we to do when we feel like this? Let’s remember how much God loves us. This is the great message that comes to us at Christmas time – and all year round: “God loved the world so much … “ (John 3:16).
The greatest gift of all – “God loved the world so much”: How do we know that He loves us? – “He gave His one and only Son … “ (John 3:16). Think back over the years: We enjoyed Christmas so much when we were children – but has Christmas always been an enjoyable time? Perhaps, Christmas brings back painful memories. Perhaps, it brings back memories of happier times – but, sadly, with the passing of the years, these memories are becoming distant memories. We remember times of giving and receiving – gifts that we gave, gifts that we received. As we treasure precious memories, let us remember God’s greatest gift – Jesus. He comes to us from the past – but He is so much more than a distant memory. He is with us now – and always.
The greatest future of all – Why does God love us so much? Why did he give His Son for us? A week after Christmas Day, we will be wishing one another a Happy New Year. Soon, our thoughts will be moving towards the future. This is where the Lord is leading us – into His future: “everlasting life” (John 3:16). When we speak about God’s gift of everlasting life, we do not run away from the harsh realities of life in this world. We ask the question, “Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?” – and we hear God’s answer, “Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away? In Jesus’ keeping, we are safe, and they” (Mission Praise, 555). As we move on from Christmas and on towards the New Year, we do not travel into the future on our own. The Lord is with us – always and forever.
Here are some words of encouragement to guide each and every one of us into God’s future: “Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last … Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord, when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored. Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last” (Church Hymnary, 673).
At Christmas time, in the New Year, and always, I pray that all of you will know that you are loved by the Lord.
Life is good. Eternal life is better.
Help us, Lord, to thank You for the good things You’ve given to us – in this earthly life. Help us, also, to look beyond this world. Give to us a real “longing for a better country – a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16). Help us to appreciate Your gift of “abundant life” – and to look forward to our full enjoyment of “eternal life” (John 10:10; 1 John 5:11).
May God help us to keep on praying for our troubled world: “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Are we weak and heavy-laden – cumbered with a load of care? Precious Saviour – still our refuge: take it to the Lord in prayer.”
God bless you all.