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Christmas Devotional | Day 21

December 21, 2017

Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 | The Greatest News

 

Key Takeaway
Christmas is ultimately the story of God's salvation in Jesus Christ, and each of us must respond.
 
Today's Reading
John 3:16-18
 
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
 
Brief Reflection
As miraculous and fascinating as the birth of Christ is, we cannot forget that it is part of a much larger story, a story that stretches from Genesis to Revelation. It's the story of a God who created us (and all things) for His own glory. And, in light of our sin, it's the story of a God who graciously enters our broken world in order to redeem those who have sinned against Him.
 
We were made to live under God's loving and just rule. However, when the first man, Adam, rebelled against God's command, his fellowship with God was broken. From that point on, Adam's descendants-the entire human race-were born dead in sin. Our sinful condition can be seen in our enslavement to sinful desires, thoughts, words, and actions. Tragically, our sin separates us from God, leading ultimately to God's just, eternal punishment.
 
Our terrible predicament is why today's passage is such good news. Although we have rebelled against God, He has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and to give us eternal life. After being born in Bethlehem, Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to God, the life that we have failed to live. Then Jesus died on the cross, bearing in His body God's punishment, the punishment we deserve. But Jesus didn't stay dead.
 
God raised Jesus from the dead, demonstrating to the world that the cross was a sufficient sacrifice for sins. Now, all who turn from their sin and trust in Jesus will be reconciled to God forever. Trusting in Jesus involves surrendering to His lordship and authority, which is what we were created for in the first place. But we can't do any of this on our own; it's all by God's grace and through the power of His Spirit.
 
What about you ...have you responded to this good news by trusting in Jesus?
 
Simple Summary
Christmas is part of a larger story, the story of God's salvation in Jesus Christ. We all need this salvation because we are all born in sin, and we have all rebelled against God. The gospel, or good news, is that God sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life, to die for our sins on the cross, and then to rise from the dead. All who trust in Christ receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Trusting in Christ for salvation also means that we follow Him as our Lord and King; we agree to obey His commands. God saves us, not because of our good works, but because of His grace and love.
 
Discuss
How would you respond to an unbeliever who asks, "Why should I care about the Christmas story?"
 
For Kids: What is the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ? (Review the gospel with your kids, including Christ's perfect life, His death on the cross for our sins, and His resurrection from the dead.)
 
Pray
Ask God to help you rely fully on Christ's life, death, and resurrection for your forgiveness and for the hope of eternal life.
 
For Further Reading
Read more about God's saving grace in Ephesians 2:1-10.
 
Memory Verse
Luke 2:11
 
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
 
Practical Response - Encourage a Missionary
Write a note of encouragement and send a care package to a missionary sent out by your church. You may consider reaching out to them beforehand to ask for any specific prayer needs or items they would like to receive in their care package. Let them know you are praying for their ministry and for their family. Use this opportunity to talk as a family about your role in spreading the gospel to the nations.

Devotional credit: Radical, Inc.

Esta devocional disponible en Español

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