John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Merry Christmas! We have prayed throughout this month that you have been able to pause and experience some of the wonder of our Savior’s earthly arrival and eternal presence. Immanuel, God dwelling among us and forever with us.

As I sat and watched the children’s Christmas program at our church, it filled my heart with wonder to see these children too excited to stand still on the stage, and to hear the joy coming from their voices as their songs filled the sanctuary. It was precious to see them looking for their parents in the audience; waving, blowing kisses, and making sure that their parents were looking and smiling back at them. It made me think about the attitude and affection that we have as we pray, sing, give, and serve each day. Just as these children desired affirmation and affection from their earthly family, we were created to desire these from our Heavenly Father. He inclines His ear to hear our praise and prayers, and watches over us as we serve, and even while we sleep. He never leaves us, never gets distracted, is never too busy, and loves us in ways far BEYOND what we can think or imagine.

Christmas is the best example of a “beyond what we could think or imagine” moment. God sent His one and only begotten Son to seek and save all who are separated from the Father because of sin. No person was able to save themselves. No one was capable of being “good enough.” We are all sinners falling short of the glory of God. In His love for us, God sent Jesus to dwell with us and die for us. This is not a Santa Claus moment of giving gifts to “good” girls and boys; there is no “naughty or nice” list. We are all sinners and God freely gave us the ultimate gift, one we could never deserve, earn or purchase, in order to dwell in us throughout our earthly life and open the doors of heaven that we could dwell with Him eternally. The wages of sin is death, and on the day Jesus was born, angels sang and death shuddered knowing its defeat was near. Jesus came and as the beloved disciple reports, “we saw His glory.” His glory was not just for that nation and generation but for ALL people to see and respond to His glory. This brings to mind the hymn that says, “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!”

God, full of grace and truth, came down to dwell with us. A baby, born of a virgin, conceived by the Spirit, sent by the Father to take away the sins of the world. He is the greatest gift of all time! As we pray for you this Christmas week, please join us in praying for those who have not chosen to receive the gift Jesus brought to all who would believe and follow Him. Pray that they will hear the clear message of Christmas, and experience love from above and from their neighbor, that will prompt them to embrace the greatest gift the world has ever known.

Please pray with us now: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus, the greatest gift mankind could ever receive. Thank you that He was filled with grace and truth and that His glory was seen and shared to all nations and generations. Prompt us to share Your gift throughout the year. Give us courage to invite our neighbors to church, to join us in our homes or at special occasions to share the love and message of Christmas. Remind us that the gift of salvation comes wrapped in the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that we should show to one another. Jesus, we pray that the knowledge of You, the glory of the Lord, will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Serving Him with Gladness,

Kathy Branzell