Celebrate Christmas Glory: An Advent Devotional

“Advent” simply means “coming toward.” Advent calendars were originally designed to help people focus on our Redeemer’s first advent. But these days I’ve seen a lot of advent calendars with fun “gifts” included, like exotic tea bags or candies. One even had a lipstick gift for each day in December through Christmas!

My favorite advent calendars are those that invite us to reflect on the greatest gift of all—Jesus.

Dr. David Jeremiah wrote, “Too often, we find ourselves so caught up in the busyness of Christmas that we don’t take time to reflect on the wonderment of it all.” I hope you’ll allow this advent devotional to revive the wonder again.

December 1: Don’t wait until Christmas morning to read the events surrounding Jesus’ birth and early days. Read Luke 2:1–20 and Matthew 2:1–12 today, and consider the Father’s creativity in the unfolding story—notice the unexpected, surprising and “not-so-normal” details. Then think of at least one creative way to focus even more attention on Jesus this year. Ask your family for ideas.

December 2: “We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ,” pastor-teacher John MacArthur, Jr., said. “The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!” Discover the true nature of “baby Jesus” in John 1:1, 14; Luke 1:35; Matthew 26:63–64; John 19:7; and Hebrews 1:3.

December 3:In Christ Alone” is on my Christmas hymns list! It says, “In Christ alone, who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe.” God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Jesus. Both man and deity, Jesus is our perfect Savior. Read Colossians 1:19, 2:9; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18–9; Colossians 1:19–22; and Ephesians 1:7—then praise God for reconciliation in Christ.

December 4: The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) would not want you frantic. Ask Him for wisdom to simplify. Reduce your gift list or find ways to save. Choose meaningful celebrations. Reserve time for rest. “Less is more” brings freedom to pursue the truly important. Read Colossians 3:15; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:7; Psalm 29:11, 85:8, 119:165; and Romans 12:18. Then ask God to help you simplify.

December 5: Have you ever considered that the cradle that held Jesus is only part of the redemption story? There is also a cross and a crown. Thoughtfully read these Scriptures today, thinking about and giving thanks for God’s plan to redeem us: 1 Peter 2:24–25; Galatians 3:13; Romans 6:6, 10–11; Revelation 19:16; Matthew 24:30–31 and 25:31–34.

December 6: Christian author Roy L. Smith wrote, “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” What does “Christmas in your heart” mean? People look for satisfaction in the temporary trappings of Christmas, but lasting satisfaction is only found in Christ. Consider Psalm 16:11, 22:26, 107:9, and John 6:35. Are you truly content in Christ?

December 7: In 2016, the National Retail Federation estimated average shoppers would spend the following on Christmas gifts: $485.98 (on family), $81.05 (friends), $26.11 (co-workers), $28.11 (acquaintances like teachers, clergy, babysitters, others), and $147.28 (on themselves, prompted by great holiday discounts). But what about gifts for Jesus? In 2 Corinthians 8:1–5, what did Christ-followers do before they gave sacrificial gifts to others? What can you give to honor Jesus?

December 8: Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The Christmas spirit is about giving—reflecting on the giving heart of our Father. Meditate on Philippians 4:14–20 and 2 Corinthians 8:1–9:15. How can you give generously, even sacrificially, to meet others’ crucial needs this Christmas?

December 9: Consider some of the prophecies fulfilled at Christmas and ask God to increase your faith in His faithfulness: Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:21–23 (the virgin birth); Micah 5:2–3 and Matthew 2:6 (Bethlehem); Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:1–12, 18 (the slaughter of innocents to kill the “newborn king”); and Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:15 (the family’s flight from Egypt). God will always be faithful to His Word!

December 10: Sing “Silent Night.” In the rush of this holiday season, take time today to be still and know that God is God and He is in control. (Read Psalm 46:10; Isaiah 14:24; and 1 Chronicles 29:11–12.) Tonight, go outside and observe the stars. Ask God to bring a “holy hush” as you meditate on Psalm 115:3: “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

December 11: “Glory to God in the highest!” The angels proclaimed these words (Luke 2:14) and so can you! Susan Hunt wrote, “When a woman is absorbed with God’s glory, she will interpret her life according to His Truth.” How can you bring honor and glory to God’s name this Christmas? Some ideas: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Matthew 5:16; Revelation 4:11; 1 Peter 1:14–15.

December 12:It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” speaks of weariness, sadness and pain, yet it also gives the remedy: “Oh, rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.” The angels sang about a time when peace would envelope the earth. The Christmas message is filled with hope for peace and rest. Consider these verses and ask God for His peace today: Matthew 11:28–30; John 14:27; and Philippians 4:6–7.

December 13: “The paradox of Christmas,” Dr. David Jeremiah writes, “is heard in the sounds . . . it’s all a part of the frenzy of the season. Yet the best Christmas moments are the quiet ones, and the best reflection of Christmas takes place in the mirror of our own hearts.” Ponder the condition of your heart during Christmas “noise.” How will you reflect God’s peace to others? (Psalm 139:23–24; Isaiah 30:15).

December 14: As you prepare your table for Christmas season feasting, think about special memories with family or friends in past years. Then “feast” on past blessings God has given you. “Taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Psalm 34:8). How does tasting the milk and meat of Scripture create spiritual hunger in you to know and love God more?

December 15: Many Christmas songs overflow with joy. Can you think of one or two to sing? Consider this: Is there something today robbing your life of joy? Can you say you’re “enjoying” the Lord? Why or why not? Read Psalm 94:19; 1 Peter 1:8–9; and Romans 15:13. What is God saying to your heart about His desire to restore or expand your joy?

December 16: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says, “Christmas is all about surrender.” Jesus surrendered to the Father and entered human history to become the Savior of the world. Read Philippians 2:5–8 and 1 John 4:14. Just as Jesus surrendered to the Father’s will, He calls us to do the same. What is the Lord asking you to do or obey? Will you surrender today?

December 17: Charles Spurgeon wrote concerning Luke 2:14: “Do not try to keep Christmas without good will towards men.” Christmas “craziness” may put stress on key relationships. In a human sense, good will is being friendly, helpful, and cooperative. Read Colossians 3:12; Romans 12:10; Ephesians 4:32; and 1 Peter 4:8. Ask God to show you where your relationships could use some good will.

December 18: Dr. Charles F. Stanley said, “Christmas is that moment in time when God, in His unconditional love, stepped out of heaven onto earth, in order that we might one day step out of earth into heaven.” Read Philippians 2:5–11; 1 John 4:9 and 5:11–13. As you envision what the Savior did for you in leaving heaven, express your gratitude for His humility, love, and sacrifice.

December 19: You may see nativity scenes, but do you “see” the story anymore? Sing “Away in the Manger,” and take time to ponder Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the whole nativity setting. C.S. Lewis reminded us, “Once in our world a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” That “something bigger” was the Savior. Read Ephesians 1:3–23, and remember why He came.

December 20: John R. Rice declared, “You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received His Christmas gift.” Read John 3:16; 10:28; and 1 John 5:11. Have you received God’s gift? Praise Him! Do you have family, neighbors or friends who still have not received His gift? Take time to pray for them by name today.

December 21: Charles Wesley’s “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” urges us to find our rest in Christ, the “hope of all the earth” and “joy of every longing heart.” Old Testament believers sometimes got tired, waiting for their Messiah’s coming. Are you weary waiting for Jesus to return? As you read these verses, ask the Lord to flood your heart with hope: Hebrews 11:1, 12:1–2; Revelation 22:20.

December 22: Oswald Chambers asked a penetrating question: “Have I allowed my personal human life to become a ‘Bethlehem’ for the Son of God?” Once believers are born again, Paul desired for Christ to be “formed” in them (Gal. 4:19). Read 2 Corinthians 3:17–18; John 13:15; 1 John 2:6; and Luke 6:40. What is the evidence that your life is becoming more like Jesus?

December 23: “Who can add to Christmas?” Corrie Ten Boom asked. “The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him.” Think about what you might be trying to add to Christmas. Read 1 Corinthians 10:23 and 31. What can you subtract to have a more Christ-focused, God-glorifying day?

December 24: “If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words,” John F. MacArthur, Jr., said, “these would be the words: ‘God with us.’” Our Savior, Immanuel, is God with us (Matthew 1:23). And when we are in Christ, we can be with Him forever. Contemplate the wonder of God’s presence in Matthew 28:20; Isaiah 41:10; Deuteronomy 31:8; Psalm 139:7–10; and Jeremiah 23:23–24.

December 25: Charles Wesley’s “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is the reminder of why Jesus came—especially these words: “God and sinners reconciled.” Reconciliation is the bringing back together of those who have been separated. Our sins separate us from God (Isa. 59:1–2), but we are reconciled to Him through Jesus who came to die for our sins (2 Cor. 5:18–19; Col. 1:19–22; Rom. 5:10).

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias wrote, “The Christ child in the manger is forever an indication of the great lengths God will go to reconcile his creation, a savior willing to descend that we might be able to ascend with Him.” Thank the Father today for the birth of Jesus, the Blessed One who came to reconcile us to God.

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About the Author

Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. Dawn assists Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, and also publishes LOL with God and Upgrade with Dawn. Dawn also travels with her husband in ministry with Pacesetter Global Outreach.

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