Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Scripture: Proverbs 13:12 (NIV) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.
Devotion: In Luke chapter 2, we read about the responses of two people who are seeing for the first time the longings for the Messiah, the hope of all Israel (and, in fact, the world), as it is revealed to them. In verses 28-32, it says, “Simeon took him (the child Jesus) in his arms and blessed God, saying, ‘Now, according to your word, Sovereign Lord, permit your servant to depart in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: a light, for revelation to the Gentiles, and for Glory to your people Israel.'” In verse 38, we read, “At that moment, she (Anna) came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Simeon and Anna praised God. They celebrated that they had just seen the Messiah and realized he was present with them. This Advent season, as we look forward to celebrating life, love, family, and friends on Christmas Day and throughout the season, let our focus be on Jesus, the real reason we celebrate this time of year, and His faithful presence with us. He is our HOPE, no longer deferred. He is our reason to celebrate and give thanks for all of the blessings we have, most of all the blessing of the gift of redemption.
As we prepare the customary gifts we wish to give each of our loved ones, let us also focus not only on the hope fulfilled that is Jesus but on what gift we can bring to Him as we celebrate His birth. Let’s each ask Him what He would like us to give to Him this year and be faithful to give it. (Remember, He has already told us in a parable, “…I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.” – Matthew 25:40b). Finally, my gift to you this season is a book suggestion: Christmas is Not Your Birthday by Mike Slaughter. Why? Because this book changed the way I approach gift-giving at Christmas, and I believe you will find it worthy of your consideration, too.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that we can know You. Thank you for redeeming our souls and making way for us to be in Your presence as much as we wish. Thank you for being the hope of and for the world, and not just hope but hope fulfilled. Thank you that we can celebrate your birth, your death and resurrection, and so many things about You not only at this time of year but always. Help us keep our focus on You, and show us how to give back to You in inventive, creative, and particularly helpful ways that will cause others to see the hope fulfilled that we have in You. Amen.