Imagine you were to get a phone call this afternoon from someone who is really famous (in a circle or industry you care about). Could be a politician, a famous sports star, an author, an actor, or a titan of industry. This is a hypothetical, so you get to decide which famous person is calling you. Upon answering the call, they inform you that they are coming to YOUR HOUSE to celebrate Christmas with YOU! Now that would be quite a phone call … wouldn’t it?
If you got that call, what would you do next?
Well if you are like me, you first would want to make sure that the phone call was ACTUALLY from the famous person and not from an impersonator. You might check the caller ID, request written documentation, evaluate whether their voice sounded like the person they said they were, etc. I’d be looking for signs to determine if this person really was who they said they were.
After seeking signs of verification as to their identity, I would next begin to wonder what it was going to be like to have THAT PERSON in MY HOME. What would we talk about? What would we serve for dinner? Should I get them a gift? Will they bring me one?
These are just some of the things we might do if a famous person announced they were coming over to spend the holidays. Truth is, though, for most of us, we will not get that call this Christmas season. However, I want to let you know something even more amazing to light up your holidays: God came to your house. That’s right … the One who created all things has come to us at Christmas.
Now hearing that statement, you might ask a couple of questions. First, how do I KNOW that God really came to earth on that first Christmas? Second, if God really did come at the first Christmas, what was it like? What did He do? What can we learn from it?
Well, this Christmas at Wildwood Community Church, we will be exploring one of Jesus’ nicknames – Immanuel. This Hebrew word (translated “God with us”) is attributed to Jesus in both Matthew 1:22-23 and Isaiah 7:14. Christmas is the story of God coming to be with us!
But how do we know that Jesus is really God? Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at evidence to answer this question in daily devotionals (from November 27-December 11). These 15 daily readings will explore 15 Scripture passages revealing that Jesus is indeed God. These 15 passages are all rooted in the Gospel of John. John (one of Jesus’ close earthly friends and followers) wrote His Gospel “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31) John organized His Gospel around 7 miraculous signs, 7 revelatory statements, and one exclamation point (the resurrection) that all made the case of Jesus’ divine identity. We will explore these 15 passages of John’s Gospel from November 27-December 11.
And … what is it like for God to be with us? We will explore this in 14 daily readings (from December 12-25). We will explore many excerpts from the historical account of the first Christmas to see what the experience of “God with us” is trying to teach us about what it is like to live in relationship (and in close proximity) to Almighty God.
This daily devotional is intended to help you understand more of what it means to say “Immanuel” this holiday season. Join us on this journey! Oh, and make plans to be with us on each of the Sundays at Wildwood between November 27 and January 1, as we will have a sermon series exploring these same concepts.
In addition, Wildwood has produced a Spotify and Apple Music playlist of some of our favorite Christmas songs to help serve as the soundtrack for our season. We also have a number of different ways for us to serve our community together this time of year. Find out more about all these opportunities on our website – wildwoodchurch.org/christmas.
We look forward to worshipping with you and your family this Christmas season!
Pastor Mark Robinson
NOTE: The devotional will post one reflection each day from November 27-December 25 to this blog and on my Facebook page. However, you can also access the entire devotional for download:
- To download the full 2022 Christmas Devotional in pdf format, click here.
- To download the full 2022 Christmas Devotional in ePub format, click here.
To have each day’s devotional emailed to you each morning during Advent, subscribe to this blog in the form located in the right hand column when you access this page from a desktop or laptop.
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