written a couple of years ago for the devotion I gave at my church’s women’s ministry Christmas party, I share this with you today…
Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year! Jesus’ birthday is worth celebrating all month – all year – for our entire lifetime, and on into all of eternity! We celebrate Christ. We celebrate our family, our friends, our dreams come true throughout the past year. We celebrate that our hope rests in Christ, that Christ is our family, He is our friend, He is our dream come true. Christmas is the holiday where we celebrate the immaterial becoming material. John 1 declares, “The Word became flesh,” and aren’t we so humbly grateful!? He dwelt among us; He sympathizes with us. The real magic of Christmas lies in the great reality that this holiday is when we celebrate that IN Christ, the spiritual and material MEET.
This is the joy of the season, this is the good news, this is the laughter and the paradox and the earth-shaking magic of Christmas. The infinite Word became a physical baby. We celebrate the immaterial becoming material as we decorate our trees, as we hang garland. We celebrate the greatest Gift as we give gifts to each other. We celebrate that He is our favorite as we share our favorites with each other. We celebrate that He is our family and our friend as we share meals and mugs of hot chocolate with friends and family. We celebrate because He is worthy of our celebration. He is our Christ. He is our celebration. He is our holiday. He is the Savior of the World!
You know, I was thinking, as I asked the Lord what He wanted to share with you at this special Christmas party, what is it that brings these women together? I mean, we are each so different in so many ways. Some of us are tall; some of us are short. There are older women here and there are younger women here. There are women with boisterous personalities and women with quiet dispositions. There are women gathered here that are interested in cooking, and women that are interested in going out for dinner (and probably all of us enjoy a little of both!). There are women here who have a love for fashion; there are women here who have a love for the outdoors. We are showing our individuality tonight as each one of us brought a different gift to exchange. I think it unlikely, and truly remarkable, if any one of us brought something that someone else brought too. Truly, we are all individuals unique from each other.
The unity of the Spirit and His special bond of peace and our Savior IS our common ground. We are equal at the Cross. If you are a believer, then you are a child of the Father of lights. And all of us who are believers are His children. We each have been made and have been redeemed to the glory of God the Father. And His glory is what brings us together.
His glory is what unites our hearts and enlivens our conversation. His glory is what ignites and sweetens our friendships. His glory is what ultimately crossed the bridge and closed the gap between heaven and earth. Christ is the Bridge. Christ offers us His loving salvation, closing the divide between God and humanity. Christ pours His love into our hearts, bringing close together everyone who believes. The glory of God, the sweet love of Jesus, the unity of the Spirit is who brings each one of us together with each other tonight.
We each admit that in no way does anything else or anyone else save. We confess that Christ is the only and the best Savior. We believe in our hearts and proclaim with our lives that Jesus Christ is Lord – Our personalities are not lord; our dispositions and our interests are not lord, but Christ is our Lord. And under the banner of Christ, we are sweet sisters.
I pray that tonight the Lord will root us and ground us in a special way in the love of the Lord. I pray that we will know, because we have believed, because we have tasted and seen, the love of our Savior. I pray this to Him who is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine or think or hope.
Colossians three verse fourteen reads, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” As we dress ourselves this Christmas in fancy dresses and red polished fingernails, as we engage with family and friends and neighbors and the post office workers, let’s put on love. Let’s allow Christ to bind everything together in perfect harmony. Let’s open ourselves up so that the Lord can pour in and shine forth His glory in our lives.
Maybe you are wondering, “How I am supposed to practically ‘let the glory of the Lord shine’ in my life? How should this really look in my own day to day?”
Girls, how are we to put on love if we do not simply let Christ dress us in His love?
So, let’s sit back. Perhaps you like to close your eyes and rest, perhaps you would like to sip your hot drink or snack on a cookie – just relax, girl, and soak in His sweet love for each one of us, for me, for you. Let’s sit back and listen as I read over you and to you Scripture that tells us who He is and who we are in Him.
Let’s begin in one of my personal favorites, Colossians.
Paul tells us of Christ in Colossians :
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the Head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And then, in John, Scripture reads :
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
To the church of Ephesus, Paul declares – and the Holy Spirit declares to us today:
That you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—AND AS IF THIS WERE NOT ENOUGH – and [He] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Oh how He loves us, girls! We were completely worse off than we ever could imagine AND His love is greater and better and fuller and wider and deeper and higher and more wonderful than we could ever dared to hope!
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
He calls us His children!
And when our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.
And whenever your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart!
Let’s turn our ears and our hearts to hear the song of love that the Lord sings over us:
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Sweet sisters, let’s rejoice in Lord! :
At this truth, I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
Let’s respond to His love, like Mary, mother of Jesus, did after she received the message from the angel announcing the soon coming of the Son of God:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”
This is the truth, this is the Good News for our hearts:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus is our Savior. He is our Love. Let’s live this simple song in our day to day “Jesus loves me, this I know.” This is the reality, women, that Jesus loves us – not that we love Him. Romans tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. John 3 tells us that He loved us so much in this way that He died on the cross for us.
He has taken on the wrath of God against our sin. Our iniquity, our shame, our sin was laid on the Savior of the World, on Christ, on God who became flesh.
And in Him we live, love, move, and have our being.
In Him, we put on Love.
In Him, we dress in Righteousness.
In Him, we are united.
In Him, we celebrate.
In Him, we wish each other a Merry Christmas!
Lord, we pray that you will suspend our disbelief. We pray that like little children on Christmas morning excited and glowing over their new gifts, that we will be excited and glowing and bubbling over with happiness at the magic of Christmas, over the gift of Christ. We pray that we will take in and know, we will believe and respond in and to your Love for us. We pray that we will rejoice in Your love. We are just falling in love with You as we ponder that while we were children of wrath, while we were still sinners, while we were in the grave, You died FOR us, in our place; you took on the wrath; you made us children of your precious Father; you gave us New Life, your Life, you are Life.
Let us sensibly respond to the fact that You love us by loving You back. Thank you for your intervening love, for your restraining love, for your lavish love, for your saving love, for your amazing love. And we are falling in love with you, Father. We are putting on your love. We are letting you dress us in your Love. We are realizing that we are more loved than we ever dared hope. And as we awaken to You, Lord, we celebrate You, Son of God and Son of Man, Savior of the World, truly our Holiday, truly our Christmas. – Amen.