We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Jadi Rodriguez.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Today we’re going to be doing a FAITH + FITNESS Workout. We publish these twice a month and they are designed to help strengthen you body, mind, and spirit.
Christmas has always been a tough time of the year for me. In my past, as an atheist, it was annoying, angry, and sad. As a Christian, it is now joyful and splendid, yet, I lament because we are losing the cultural tug of war between followers of Christ and the enemy.
Allow me to explain.
We may not spell it X-mas, like my former atheist-self, but are we still guilty of removing “Christ” from “Christmas” as believers?
Before you answer that, let’s look at the above scripture reading and take a closer look. There are two things I want us to focus on. One, is the reaction of the heavenly host that was present with the angel at the news of the coming of Christ. Two, is the number of times we see the glory of God expressed during the story- three times to be exact.
- In Verse 9, “And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.”
- In Verses 13-14, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”
- In Verse 20. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
The glory of God is something that should be present at Christmas. Specifically, it should be overtly apparent in a believer’s Christmas.
So let me ask you, “Does your Christmas glorify God?”
Click here to read the rest of the FAITH + FITNESS Workout.
God, your glory is amazing. I see how we have shifted the focus of this season and allowed consumerism to come in and rob this time of its original purpose. Free me from the comparison and tendency to get caught up in the busyness of it all. Show me how I can better celebrate you in this time and spend it worshipping you instead of traditions or marketing gimics. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
After completing the workout, spend time journaling and reflecting on the following questions:
- What was the workout like for you? Did God reveal anything to you while you did it?
- What did you think of the four practices Jadi outlines? Is there one that stands out more than others?
- In what ways were you challenged by in today’s message?
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