Today’s Devotional is offered by Chris Aho.
It is a privilege to write this Christmas Day devotional for you. I hope it will provide a meaningful conclusion to our collective journey to this day. It concludes our Advent Devotional Project.
This year I was struck in a new way by a line from the hymn, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” The line is from the very beginning of the song as we sing:
“From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee.”
All around us, there is so much that drives us to fear, anxiety, and busyness. Our devotionals from this season were full of confessions about our stress, busyness, and prayers for the deep HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE that God brings to our souls. Our devotionals encouraged one another to pause and find rest as we waited for the arrival of Christmas. But now that Christmas day is here, our need for peace, and calm, and rest does not end…it’s only just begun! Our need to find Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love amid the stress and chaos that exists year-round continues well beyond Advent and we would do well to take our own advice into the new year and not just leave it in these emails and on the OBCDevotionals website.
So today, let’s consider our situation. There are now 341 days until Advent begins on December 1st, 2019. What do you want to experience in your soul with God in the next 341 days? How do you want the next 341 days to be different than the last ones? And, looking at the next 341 days, how might you better experience a relationship with the God who, “From our fears and sins releases us [and] lets us find our rest in Thee”?
And as someone who thinks ahead (sometimes to a fault), it makes me realize that the time is now to begin writing my devotional for next year, and I wonder, with 341 days to go, what kind of devotional do we want to write next year?
Will we write a devotional about the busyness of the season?
Will we write about our need to pause and make time for peace?
Will we write about the need for deep joy rather than fleeting happiness?
Today, Jesus has arrived and in a new way, again this year, from our fears and sins he comes to release us. We recognize that by making room in our hearts and lives, we can receive the gifts of God’s HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE, but we need to decide today how we will accept these gifts for this day.
Will we treat these gifts like the toys children move on from quickly?
Will we let them take root by attending to them each day?
Will we do something else with Jesus’ presence?
We have reached Bethlehem and Advent has given way to Christmas as our Saviour arrives. Jesus’ arrival means we can begin writing for our next devotional project. Today we have an opportunity to fully embrace God’s gifts through the way we live in the coming days. The ways we embrace the gifts now will shape our project next year.
My prayer for us all is that we will be more set free in 2019 because of the way we find rest in Thee, the gift God has given us in Jesus our Saviour and Lord.