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Warming the Heart – A Christmas Devotional

warming the heart at Christmas

What is your favorite season? If you are like many others, your choice will not be winter. Most people opt for the other three seasons. The new life of spring. The sun and fun of summer. The brisk feeling of autumn, when leaves transform the landscape from green to hues of red and gold.

But winter? It’s cold. It’s dreary. Christmas seems the only positive thing about it, and once Christmas is over, it’s cold and dreary again.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Cold, yes. Seasons change and winter brings freezing climates, snow in some locations, and a general gray feeling. Before the sun is high in the sky, it is setting again and the temperature is dropping once more. We cannot avoid the physical cold.

But the heart can be warm. Dreariness does not have to settle over us like a pall of gray lasting all season.

Why do people set up Christmas trees in their house at Christmastime? “Because everyone else does.” There is that, but there is another reason. Why are evergreens a traditional symbol of the holidays? In places where winter is the coldest and it lasts the longest, evergreens were a reminder of the new life that was coming, though hidden beneath snow and ice.

We all need those reminders. Of new life. Of hope. Of warmth when ‘tis cold and drear. Next time you look at your Christmas tree, or glimpse an evergreen outside your window, take a moment to remember that the cycle of life always continues. Rebirth and renewal course through the veins after a season of sorrow and even death.

It happens in the world around us, and it can happen inside us. When we stop and consider – not the evergreen tree or the coming of spring, but the birth of a baby boy who brought new life to all people.

Jesus is the greatest promise of undying life, hope eternal, and love that never fades.

***

This reading is an excerpt of a devotional from Finding Christ in the Carols by Ian Christopher, a devotional inspired by lyrics from well-known Christmas Carols. Available as an e-book on Amazon, Finding Christ in the Carols will help you find moments of personal devotion and reflection during the busy holiday season.

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Bright and Morning Star – A Christmastime Prayer

Lord, help me to follow You today, even if at times it makes about as much sense as following a star.

Let me never fear to seek for You, and to seek after more of You, knowing that You draw near to those who draw nigh to You.

You were called the Bright and Morning Star.

Be my star on the nights that are dark and lonely and cold.

***

This reading is an excerpt of a devotional from Finding Christ in the Carols, a devotional inspired by lyrics from well-known Christmas Carols. Available as an e-book on Amazon, Finding Christ in the Carols will help you find moments of personal devotion and reflection during the busy holiday season.

Verse of the Day, July 6, 2018

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing the the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 KJV)

More of You – Colton Dixon

 

Lyrics to Colton Dixon’s “More of You”

I made my castle tall
I built up every wall
This is my kingdom and it needs to fall
I want You and no one else
Empty me of myself
Until the only thing that’s left is
More of You
Less of me
Make me who I’m meant to be
You’re all I want all I need
You’re everything
Take it all I surrender
Be my king
God I choose
More of You
Less of me
More of You
This life I hold so close
Oh, God I let it go
I refuse to gain the world and lose my soul
So take it all I abandon everything I am You can have it
The only thing I need is
More of You

Giants Fall – Francesca Battistelli

“Giants Fall” lyrics

Everyone’s telling you
To let go of what you’re holding to
It’s too late, too far
You’re too small, it’s too hard
Throwing water on that spark
Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons
The things you’re not seeing
But oh, maybe they don’t
Know what you know
That you’re not alone
Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall
We could really live like this
Can’t you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face
Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall

Save My Life

We’ve met half a dozen times
I know your name I know you don’t know mine
But I won’t hold that against you

You come here every Friday night
I take your order and try to be polite
And hide what I’ve been going through

If you looked me right in the eye
Would see the pain deep inside
Would you take the time to

Tell me what I need to hear
Tell me that I’m not forgotten
Show me there’s a God
Who can be more than all I’ve ever wanted
‘Cause right now I need a little hope
I need to know that I’m not alone
Maybe God is calling you tonight
To tell me something
That might save my life

I’m the pastor at your church
For all these years you’ve listened to my words
You think I know all the answers

But I’ve got doubts and questions too
Behind this smile I’m really just like you
Afraid and tired and insecure

If you look me right in the eye
Would you see the real me inside
Would you take the time to

Tell me what I need to hear
Tell me that I’m not forgotten
Show me there’s a God
Who can be more than all I’ve ever wanted
‘Cause right now I need a little hope
I need to know that I’m not alone
Maybe God is calling you tonight
To tell me something
That might save my life

Save my life

I am just like everyone
Jesus I need You, I need Your Love
To save my life

God’s Grace Glorified

The Lord gives grace and glory … O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in Thee! (Psalm 84:11-12)

He exults in the blessedness of the person who trust in the God of all grace. We need to let it sink in that grace is not only gotten by faith, but glorified by faith. This doubles our blessing in being people who trust in God. On the one hand, we long for the blessings of God’s future grace, and they come to us by faith. But on the other hand, we long for God’s grace to be glorified in our lives, and this too comes by faith. Faith receives the goodness of future grace, and faith reflect the glory of future grace. It is a double wonder. These two things are not at odds — our receiving the joy and God getting the glory. O, how this should set our hearts on a passionate quest to trust God hour by hour for all the need — for God’s sake! Every moment of faith is a tribute to his grace.

By John Piper, in Future Grace