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Dec
25

Christingle

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
John 1:9

In the Czech Republic and other places, the Christmas celebration includes “Christingles.” A Christingle is an orange, representing the world, with a candle placed in the top of it to symbolize Christ the light of the world. A red ribbon encircles the orange, symbolizing the blood of Jesus. Four toothpicks with dried fruits are placed through the ribbon into the sides of the orange, representing the fruits of the earth.

This simple visual aid vividly represents the purpose behind Christ’s coming—to bring light into the darkness and to redeem a broken world by shedding His blood.

In John’s account of Christ’s life, the disciple describes Jesus as the Light of the world. He wrote of Christ: “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9). Not only did Christ the Light come to penetrate our world’s darkness, but He is also “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (v.29).

Think of it! The baby of Bethlehem became the living, risen Christ who has rescued us from our sin. And so John instructs us to “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). May all who have experienced His rescue find in Jesus the peace of walking in His light.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in Thee tonight. —Brooks
The newborn Christ-child became the Light of the world and the Lamb of God.
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Dec
24

One Silent Night

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Luke 2:10

Simon had emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States. His wife, Kay, and all three of their children had been born in the US. Then Jenny married Roberto from Panama. Bill married Vania from Portugal. And Lucas married Bora from South Korea.

On Christmas Eve, as the family gathered for a celebration, they began singing “Silent Night” in their native tongues—a sweet sound indeed for the Lord of the earth to hear as they celebrated the birth of His Son.

Two thousand years ago, the silence of a quiet night ended abruptly when an angel told the shepherds a baby had been born: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). Then a multitude of angels began praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (v.14). Christ the Lord, the Savior of the world, was born!

God’s gracious gift, His Son, which was announced on that long-ago silent night, is still available to everyone—“every tribe and nation” (Titus 2:11-14; Rev. 5:9-10). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Silent night! holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia—
Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born! —Mohr
Heaven’s choir came down to sing when heaven’s King came down to save.
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Dec
23

God With Us

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”
PMatthew 1:23

His presence in the room was obvious. Everyone else was dressed rather formally. He had on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a weathered baseball cap. I couldn’t help but notice him as I addressed students that day in a seminary chapel in Bucharest, Romania. I have no idea why he didn’t conform to the norms of seminary attire, but I do remember his name.

At the close of the meeting he came up to introduce himself. When I asked him his name, he answered, “Immanuel.” I was surprised by his answer and asked if he knew what that meant; he unashamedly replied, “Yes—‘God with us!’”

I’ve often thought about that young man and how he stood out in the crowd. Just as Jesus came to bring the presence of God into our world—“Immanuel . . . God with us” (Matt. 1:23)—so too we are called to bring His presence into our world. Jesus made that clear when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

This Christmas, we can give the gift of God’s likeness through us. When our lives reflect the God who lives in us, we can be different from the world, and that difference can bless others with the transforming presence of His love and grace.

The gift of God’s presence through you is your gift to the world.