The Sacrifice of Christmas - First15 - December 24, 2017

The Sacrifice of Christmas

Weekly Overview:

Christmas is a time where we as believers celebrate God’s heart to write himself into our story. Prior to Jesus we had no real picture of God’s love. All we had to know him by was through stories of old and commandments written into law. But only in Jesus was a pathway created whereby we could walk in intimacy with the Father again. Only in Jesus was the veil torn allowing God’s manifest presence into the earth. We owe all that we have to Jesus. We owe all that we have to Christmas. May these two days be filled with joyful worship as we celebrate our newborn King.

Scripture:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:51 

Devotional:

On this wonderful Christmas Eve let’s take a moment to reflect on the heart of Jesus. Let’s take a moment to meditate on the depth of his love for us. It must have been love and love alone that would cause God to take on flesh and dwell among us. It must have been love alone that would give him the desire to leave perfection and take on the suffering and limitations of a human being. Think of the differences! Think of the implications of his decision! Can you imagine being the Maker of heaven and earth and choosing to make yourself low unto the point of death for the sake of humans who have gone astray?

For us Christmas is a time of great rejoicing. It’s a time of joy, nostalgia, and fond remembrance. For Jesus, it was a time of great sacrifice. 

Jesus says in John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” You and I have been afforded eternal life in utter perfection because of the magnitude of Jesus’ love for us. We’ve been granted boundless communion with our Creator simply because he made a way for us where we couldn’t. Isaiah 53:4-6 says,

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

As we celebrate this Christmas Eve, let’s remember what Jesus carried in his heart for us prior to his birth. Let’s remember the depth of his love for us that he would subject himself to flesh. Let’s press into communion with God and give God the only gift he’s after: our hearts. And let’s worship our Bread of Life in whom we’ve been granted the eternal gift of relationship with our heavenly Father.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on John 6:51. Reflect on the life you’ve been given because Jesus chose to be born for you.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:51

2. Take time to meditate on the depth of love Jesus has for you. Allow a revelation of his love to sink past your mind and into your heart that you might find purpose and joy in God’s presence. 

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6

3. Worship Jesus in response to his great love. Allow his sacrifice to stir up your heart to give him what he was after all along: relationship with you.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 

Christmas is a unique opportunity where so much of the world stops and in some way acknowledges the celebration of Jesus’ birth. It’s a time where hearts are softer to receiving the reality of God’s love. Look for opportunities today with your family and friends to join in God’s pursuit of their hearts. Look for opportunities to proclaim the availability of life-giving relationship with God. Love them well. Speak life and grace over them. And discover the profound joy God has over those he is drawing to himself, including you. May this Christmas Eve be filled with laughter and celebration given to you as good gifts from the heart of God.

 Extended Reading: John 6

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