Today’s AMI QT Devotional (new) is written by Andrew Kim who serve as the executive pastor at Tapestry Church in Los Angeles.
Devotional Thought for Today
“Joy to the World”
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
As cliché as it might sound, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. This is coming from someone who starts listening to Christmas music in September. As the lights and trees go up, and families and friends get together, there is a sense of warmth even as the weather cools down. The city itself begins to look different as decorations begin to appear everywhere. Although all of this is great, it has a way of distracting us from the true meaning of Christmas.
In our passage today, we find the shocking truth of Christmas: that the creator God is with us in the person of Jesus! Most of us have become desensitized to the scandalous nature of this truth. For the Jews, hearing that God would come in the form of a person would have been incomprehensible. God’s presence resided in the temple and only a few people were ever allowed to even step foot into the holy of holies. The idea that God would appear in a baby would have been an outlandish claim. But this is the truth of Christmas: that God is with us, Immanuel.
As I reflect on this idea, I am reminded that we serve a God that is near and intimate with us. He is the God who does not remain at a distance, away from the suffering of His people. Instead, He decides to step into the pain and messiness of the world in order to bring us healing, restoration, and salvation. We see this in tangible examples throughout the Gospel accounts. He does not only spend time with the “righteous,” but is near to the marginalized, the heavy-laden, and the diseased. He is there to carry the burden of His people in order to give them a yoke that is easy and light.
The holiday season can be a difficult time for many people. It can bring to the surface so much of what we’ve repressed, and the issues we’ve been wrestling with. But let us be reminded this morning that Jesus is Immanuel! God is with us! God is near to your pain, struggles, and difficulties. There is hope when we look to Christ Jesus!
Prayer: Father, thank You so much for being a God that is near to us. There are many things that I struggle with, I pray that during this holiday season you would help me to recognize Your nearness.
Bible Reading for Today: Luke 2 (Christmas reading)
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 2:5-11: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Questions to Consider
- What is the mind of Christ that Paul is referring to in this passage?
- In what ways did Jesus humble Himself?
- In what ways can you have the same mind in our own life?
- Even as God, Christ’s mind is defined and marked by humility.
- Jesus as God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but instead humbles Himself in the incarnation on Christmas morning by taking on the form of a servant, a human being. But not only that, He humbles Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross, which was the most shameful manner of death. All of this for the sake of His people.
“[Christmas] means not just hope for the world, despite all its unending problems, but hope for you and me, despite all our unending failings.” – Tim Keller