Day 24

The Nativity of the Christ

Luke 1:26-56, Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:14, Galatians 4:4-5

BY Rebecca Faires

Christmas morning is our most anticipated sunrise of the year. I always have such high hopes for the day. We gather our loved ones around the hearth, and wait for that special gift or the consummation of some nostalgic experience. We hope for our relationships to hum along in perfect Christmas-morning harmony. Every year I find myself shamelessly expecting ordinary humans to produce an absolutely magical tableau of Christmas dreams.

Even though I live with these people and have found them to be deeply negligent when it comes to the matching of socks, I believe that the magic of Christmas will bless them with an ethereal grace. And to my annual dismay, on Christmas morning I am not transformed into a glittering treetop angel, magisterially heralding the good news. In spite of my best efforts, I am still my ordinary and absurd mix of the nonsensical and the severe, even with the smell of cloves and cinnamon in the air.

Once the presents are opened, the festive leftovers refrigerated, and the visitors kissed goodbye, do you find yourself filled? It’s easy to set our hopes on the details of Christmas that don’t ultimately satisfy. Gifts can certainly disappoint, food can go wrong, and visitors can occasionally bring more pain than merriment. Putting all my Christmas expectations on my children’s responses leaves me exhausted and frustrated.

For some of us, the unfulfilled wishes on Christmas morning come from a pain that will never fully recede, as the whole creation has been “groaning together,” awaiting our Savior’s return (Romans 8:22). And as we wait, we miss our beloved darlings who are far away, or those who have gone on before us. Missing them on this day, of all days, seems like an unfair pain to bear year after year. We wake up on Christmas as a needy people. Even if our bellies are filled and the presents are piled up, we do not find satisfaction here. There is something else we all desperately need that can only be found in Christ.

When Christ came, He came to an empty and needy world. He came to a hungry people. When Mary heard the overwhelming news from the angel Gabriel, she declared: “He has satisfied the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:53). The first part of the gospel is this: We need. We need life and hope, joy and peace, food and drink, satisfaction and salvation.

The second part of the gospel is this: He satisfies. He knows our needs better than we do, and He is willing to satisfy. He is also able to satisfy. He loves us and gives us Himself, filling us up out of His abundance and meeting our every need. The hurting are comforted, the faces of the lonely lifted up.

I want Christmas morning to be memorable and perfect. And it is, every year, because our joy and peace come from the good news of Christ’s birth. Whether your day includes sugarplums and arguments, or gingerbread and tears—just gather it all together and remember that Christ is our joy, and His people are a glorious mess of contradictions and sloppy kisses. Let people be human, and magnify God as God. Praise the greatness of the Lord, and rejoice in God our Savior! (Luke 1:46–47).


Post Comments (60)

60 thoughts on "The Nativity of the Christ"

  1. Jennifer McElhannon says:

    I’m a little late to the Christmas devotional, but I sure wish I read this on Christmas Day! I had some major stress this holiday season being my first Christmas married. I was stressed out to the MAX!

    But it is in this devotional that we find not only that we NEED so many things, but Jesus provides them without question or hesitation. He is always there to meet our needs. His grace is sufficient enough for me. I need to keep this devotional around for next Christmas!

    Just have to remind myself, I can’t control the craziness around me but I can control my responses in correlation to the word of God.

  2. Dana Solt says:

    Best realistic devotion of Christmas… the earthly trappings that let us down point to the Savior who never will. Mary was real and also needed encouragement and God sent her to an older woman who also had experienced God’s blessing. What a great picture of how God knows us and gives us what we need. Thank you for providing these devotionals.

  3. Karen says:

    Wished I’d read this yesterday but glad I read it today. Thank you for the gentle reminder-it’s not about earthly things. Thank you Jesus

  4. Carrie Hammer says:

    This devotional shows me why I have joy in a earthy season that doesn’t bring me joy. But, knowing all that God’s plan was to deliver to us something so special in such a humble way that’s what fills me. Not, the humans in my life that give me the bah humbugs.

  5. Savannah Gilmore says:

    I didn’t have time to comment on this devotional yesterday, but it was so perfect and spot on. I found myself rejuvenated with it throughout the day and how God is the only satisfaction on this day. (And all days) Thank you so much!

  6. Beth Hilden says:

    Blessed by the SRT studies! This Advent was my first… Merry Christmas and happy new year, all!

  7. Jennifer Anapol says:

    This is devotional was a great reminder of what Christmas is really about. I love the transparency of the author about all of our unrealistic expectations for Christmas. Let Christmas truly be about Christ, and then we will never be disappointed.

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