Christmas Devotionals: Immanuel
Read Isaiah 7:14 & 9:1-7
We promise things to each other every day. Sometimes those things are written down in the form of a contract. Sometimes it’s just when we agree to do something for someone else. Of course, we don’t often think about how little power we have to follow through on our promises. Sometimes something unexpected happens and we are unable to do the thing we said we would do. Sometimes we are thinking about other things and forget. Sometimes we have overestimated our capacity and forgotten that we don’t have unlimited time or super-human powers!
It is not so with God. God is not only able to keep His promises, He will always do what He has said. In the bits from the Bible we’ve just read, the prophet Isaiah talks of a child born of a virgin, known as Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’), a king whose reign will never end, a descendant of David who will bring peace, justice and righteousness to those who have been walking in darkness. Of course we know that hundreds of years later these promises came true through Jesus. He was born to a young woman named Mary. He died on the cross and rose again, taking the punishment for our sin. Now He rules and reigns and one day will come back and set things right forever. And we, who were far from God, doing our own thing, can come back to Him and be forgiven and set free because of His Son.
Maybe you’re holding onto something God has promised you. It could be that times are tough and you are holding onto some of the Biblical promises about Jesus and about God’s kingdom. It could be that you feel God has given you a personal promise of something He will do in your life. It can be hard to keep trusting God when we’ve been waiting a long time, in some cases decades, for His promises to come true. Sometimes we may struggle with feeling angry or like God doesn’t care or has forgotten about us. Sometimes we may doubt the promise He has given us.
The writer Amy Carmichael said, “Our feelings do not affect God’s facts”. As you read these verses today remember so facts about God. He is good. He loves us. He will never leave us. He always keeps His promises. Today, bring the promises God has given you back to Him. Thank Him for them and lay them, and all your feelings, about them before Him. Remember, God has promised us that, as amazing and joyful as the Christmas story is, the best is yet to come. And He always keeps His promises!
Playing (for the very young – or young at heart)
Play at rescuing things. You could do this with small play figures which could be rescued from under heaps of toys, down the sides of sofas or, even, from the bottom of the bath. If your child has a rescue play set such as Lego or Happyland emergency vehicles then you could play with those. If they have a doctors set they could make someone better. Talk about how God promised that Jesus would come to rescue us and He did.
Craft (for those who enjoy being creative)
Make a snow globe. You can find instructions here https://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/search?q=snow+globe. Instead of the Christmas card you could put in something that reminds you of something God has promised you. If you want to write it out and don’t have a laminator you could tape it inside a bit of clear plastic instead. When you shake the snow globe you won’t be able to see the promise, but when all the glitter settles you will. Use this to remind you that, even in the ‘storms’ of life, God will keep His promises.
Singing (alone or together, out loud or listening to the music)
Feel free to just sing these songs if you know them, but if you can also look them up online for lyrics and music. Of course, God may put another song on your heart to sing so feel free to use that instead.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Cornerstone – Hillsong Worship
My Lighthouse – Rend Collective
Reflection (making some time to chat to God)
Get some small squares of paper and a bowl, bucket or tub of water. Write something that God has promised you or that you’re trusting in Him for on the square of paper. Then fold each corner into the centre of the paper so that the corners touch. Place the piece of paper carefully, corners facing up, on the surface of the water. As you watch your paper unfold and the promise or hope on it be revealed, remember how God always keeps His promises and put your trust in Him.