Author: Ali, Contributor: Elton Streyle, Photography and Editing: Ali
Gracious Lord, thank you for giving me the best gift of all: the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Make the Christmas story come alive for me this year in ways that I have never experienced before. Direct me not to get so wrapped up in the details of presents, parties, decorations, and being with family and friends that I miss out on what You are wanting to speak to me about in this season.
Like the shepherds, direct me to see and respond to Your presence and direction with immediate action. Luke 2:15 “So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.” Like the wise men, give me the courage to follow You, even in a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to the things of God.
Thank you for the many reminders the Christmas story brings about Your character. You can do the impossible (like causing a virgin to bear Your Son). You use ordinary, unexpected people and circumstances to accomplish Your plan (like Mary and the shepherds, and Jesus being born in a stable). You are Immanuel (God with us). You understand what my life is like (because Jesus was born and grew up on Earth, fully man and fully God). And You speak personally to me (like when you spoke to Joseph in a dream). Guide me to enjoy all the fun activities of the holiday season, yet keep You at the center of them all.
For those who find Christmas difficult because of the reminders of departed or estranged family members and friends, I ask that You will fill them with Your peace and joy, and allow them to connect with You and with fellow believers to make it through this emotional time. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Remind me of Your love for me, first presented in the form of a crying baby in a dingy manger, later fulfilled in that same baby’s sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection. Thank you for everything Christmas means, and for all of the traditions and celebrations that come along with it.
In Jesus’ holy Name, Amen.