Each day I wake with gratitude for the blessings of a new day. Life's journey continues with a path before me that I know will be full of opportunities, change, storms, celebrations, and faith-shaking moments. However, I know I can face all things with peace, love, hope, and joy from the devotions I read each day.
I admit life can get a little busy! I thought retirement would slow me down a little, as well as others thought it would! However, each day new things find their way into my day, and I make room, as I always do.
One of my favorite memories from my church growing up was picking up a copy of Our Daily Bread. I loved reading the stories with the scriptures and learning with so much meaning to me as it related to others. So I decided as an adult to subscribe and send donations to this beautiful publication.
As we are in the final week leading up to Christmas, I wanted to share this one with all of you as it captures all I wanted to convey in my words of Peace, Love, Hope, and Joy to all this Christmas Day and each day of the New Year. Blessings to all!
“The Bible has a lot to say about love. In John 13:34–35 we are commanded to “love one another as Christ loved us.” In doing so, those around us will know that we are His followers. In his first of three small letters John tells us why we are to love, “for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7–8). We show love by allowing God’s love to flow through our lives and into the lives of those around us.
Loving others is not always easy and entails multiple actions on our part. For example, to love we must show empathy as well as sympathy to others. We need to learn to see each other as broken vessels in need of God’s love and transformation. This unique perspective of other people requires humility on our part. When we recognize our own failings, that we are not perfect, only then will we begin to approach others with a caring and compassionate attitude. Part of this humility comes in recognizing what God has done for us in Jesus.
We are all in need of the redemption God offers in Christ, no one is exempt. Our love for others is founded on God’s love as demonstrated in that he entered into this world in the form of humanity and died on a cross for us. This is the true story of Christmas.
The second theme we encounter is Joy. Have you ever been around an individual, especially a believer, who is always depressed or sad? I’m not talking about someone who has experienced a recent tragedy or received bad news, but someone who consistently demonstrates a life devoid of joy. As followers of Christ, joy should characterize our lives. In his letter to the church at Rome Paul writes, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13 ESV). Here we find three of the themes of Advent mentioned together. In fact, as followers of Jesus we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). Several times in his letter to the Philippian believers Paul mentions rejoicing, and does so from a jail cell.
In Luke 2 we read how the angels expressed joy at the birth of Jesus, and so should we. Our love for others and the witness of a joyous Spirit testified to God’s work of salvation in our lives. Therefore, during this busy Christmas season, let’s remember and reflect on what God has done in the birth of Jesus—how that birth would bring hope to the world through the forgiveness of sins and the promise of everlasting life.” David Frees
Senior Director of Digital Asset Management & Online Learning