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“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23).
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Two years ago in early December, we learned our 13-month-old grandson had two holes in his heart and would need open-heart surgery in the new year. This difficult news came as a complete shock and took some of the glitter out of Christmas for me. I like everything perfect at Christmas. This one wouldn’t be.
But is Christmas ever perfect?
The first Christmas certainly wasn’t. Think about it. A very pregnant Mary traveled a long distance on a donkey, arrived at a crowded town, and gave birth in a smelly stable. No family or friends came to welcome the newborn. Then instead of returning home to Nazareth to show off their baby, Mary and Joseph fled to a foreign country to save Jesus’ life.
But in that less-than-perfect first Christmas, God planned wonderful surprises, too. An angel choir in the heavens announced Jesus’ birth to shepherds in the fields, and they eagerly came to worship Christ, the newborn King. Then the shepherds hurried to share the good news: Jesus had come as the Savior of the world! This less-than-perfect Christmas was part of God’s perfect plan and divine purpose.
As you ponder that first Christmas and prepare to celebrate Christmas again, how is your holiday season going? Do you face disappointments and losses? From your viewpoint, will this Christmas be less than perfect because of financial, relational, or personal struggles? Perhaps it’s difficult to capture the excitement you have felt during past Christmases.
I know that feeling. But even during life’s challenges, God has a perfect plan for each of us. And if we look for God’s goodness, we’ll find His fingerprints of love and grace in our lives. So let’s thank Him for each blessing. But mostly, let’s thank Him for His indescribable gift of Jesus, who came to save us from our sins.
If you have invited Jesus into your heart, you have a wonderful hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Immanuel, God with us, dwells in your heart today and forever. And from an eternal perspective, that makes every Christmas perfect.
Lord Jesus, we don’t need the glitter of Christmas to make this one special. We need You. You are the Gift above all gifts. You are the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). We bow in worship for You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Bless Your holy name. You are Immanuel, God with us. Come fill our hearts with joy in fresh, personal ways as we celebrate Your birth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
P.S. Thankfully, my grandson survived the surgery and is now a healthy, active three-year-old.
Questions: If your Christmas is to be perfect, what would it look like? Are you having difficulty capturing the excitement of Christmas this year because of unexpected
About this Author Lydia E. Harris
Daily audio podcast: A second daily devotional, Identity in Christ, today on the Men’s Devotional Blog