This Christmas devotional is Forward Movement’s gift to you!
May it help you engage the full twelve days of Christmas more deeply.
On the first day of Christmas,
the Lord God said to me,
“I have sent Jesus to save thee!”
John 3:16 may be my favorite verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It binds together faith and hope and love. But do I really believe it? Is it possible that God exists? Is it possible that God wants to connect with me and that through acceptance I can connect to the love that is God?
Certainly many people do not believe there is a God. Of those who believe a God does exist, not everyone believes that Jesus was God made man and lived on this Earth and that we can be in communion with God through the Holy Spirit in us. Why should I believe?
I’ve read arguments for and against God. Bumper stickers mock faith as fiction, encouraging us to just trust in ourselves and our quest of knowledge through science. Despite all this, I believe. I believe in God the Father, Jesus, his only son, and in the Holy Spirit. I would like to say I believe wholeheartedly all the time, but my faith is just a glimmer of what I hope it will be one day.
What I can say, today, is that I sense God’s majesty in the unquestionable beauty of the natural world around me. I feel love in the tenderness of a parents’ gaze into the eyes of their child. I connect to God’s power in the will of someone’s effort to make things better. I rest in the comfort of God’s love though my closest connections. And my husband and I share our experience of faith with our children.
This version of 12 Days of Christmas is my statement of faith: It starts with the acceptance that God is real and wants a relationship with me and extends to what that needs to mean in my life, day to day. I need to seek and study and pray. I need to be grateful and share and follow. I need to love and connect. Walk with me through each verse and maybe you will want to write your own song of faith by the end of the season and the celebration of Epiphany.
1. What things do you save—pictures, letters, cards, etc.—and why do you save them?
2. What does God sending Jesus to save us say about how God feels about us?
3. What does it mean to be saved?
4. Do I need to be saved?
Memory Box: Using left-over boxes, wrapping paper, and ribbon, make a memory box for your family. Place an item or two—maybe a picture of a something special that happened this year or an item you collected— in the box with a short note explaining its meaning or importance. Put the box away with the Christmas decorations to be opened next year.
Thank you: If you opened gifts in celebration of Christmas, you may have made a list of thank you notes to write. Write a thank-you note to Jesus.
Telling Tales: Pick something from a time gone by—a photo album, an ornament purchased on a trip, a decoration given to you by a grandparent—and share its story with your family.
What Christmas carols embody the message of being saved? There are several, but I think “O Little Town of Bethlehem” says it best. Sing along, thinking about the words.
(Nat King Cole)
Sing along with the first verse of our “12 Days of Christmas” song.
Thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you for the gift of his life, which promises me eternal connection with you. Keep the sacrifice of Jesus’ life and love ever-present before me. Draw me into a closer relationship with you each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Many passages in the Old Testament foretell the birth of a messiah, a savior and king. Then the New Testament fulfills these prophecies with the stories of Jesus. Read these Old Testament prophecies and their answering verses in the New Testament.
Old Testament Readings: Genesis 12:3; Genesis 17:19; Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 9:7; Micah 5:2; Jeremiah 31:15; Hosea 11:1; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 102: 25-27
New Testament Readings: Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 2:4-7; Matthew 2:14-15; Matthew 2:16-18; Hebrews 1:8-12
Many passages in the New Testament identify God as creator and author of our salvation. Read and reflect.
New Testament Readings: John 1:1-5; John 1:10-13; John 3:16-17; 1 Timothy 2:3-7; Ephesians 2:4-9
What does God sending Jesus to save us say about how God feels about us?
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