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December 25: A Christmas Revelation of Hope

Merry Christmas! I am so happy you have spent time with the Vandalia First UMC through Advent. Hopefully, some part of these devotionals has helped your Christmas preparation and celebration. We will take a break on devotionals after today. Most likely we will be back in daily devotional format for Lent 2024 which starts February 14th.



Daily Scripture Reading: Revelation 21:1-8


A Christmas Revelation of Hope

Merry Christmas! I know this doesn’t seem like the Christmas scripture reading you planned on.  But it puts into perspective the point of Christmas. Christmas isn’t just a birthday; it is a celebration of the gift of God contained through Jesus Immanuel, God-with-us. The lights dancing on the Christmas tree, the presents under the tree, the smile on a loved one’s face, and that baby in the manger are all part of the Christmas story.  But the point of the story is the hope, both hope for things to come and hope for things realized through God.


I’ll come out and say it. The themes around this passage, Christmas, and my brain are complicated. The church, scripture, and this passage all talk about heaven.  We are excited. We desire to go to heaven. We desire for our loved ones to get to heaven.  We desire a place where there is no pain, no death, no hardship, and no heart ache.  We desire to be with God.


Yes Pastor, that sounds great, what is the problem? There is no problem. That all does sound great. But what about now? We forget about now. Christmas and Easter are the greatest gifts ever given yet somehow, we are often singularly focused on how I get to heaven.


Heaven is going to be great. But this life now, after we choose Christ, is great too.  Read the passage again with the understanding that the things hoped for show up after we are gifted Christ. I think this is the power of Christmas and Easter.  This is the power of God becoming flesh through Jesus. Yes, there is pain and hardship in the world. Yes, there is the pain of death and destruction to our very beings. But God is making all things new.


So, as we gather around at Christmas time or any time that we think about it be joyful of the glimmers of heaven that we get to be a part of here on earth.


Questions:

1: What are you most thankful for today?

2: Where have you felt a glimmer of heaven in your life recently?

3: What do you need God to make new in your life to help you through a present difficulty?


Prayer:

Our heavenly Father, Merry Christmas.  Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for life. Thank you for love. Be with family, friends and community today as we celebrate the hope of today and the hope of tomorrow. Amen.


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