Devotional | Jennifer Ayotte | Dec 24, 2023
“So the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
“So the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
As part of my job at Crossings, I have to start thinking about and planning for Christmas months before it arrives. This year, I was involved in the Nativity banners, so I was already researching and writing for Advent in September. One of the hazards of my job is that by the time Christmas arrives, I can be exhausted and realize I haven’t really spent time appreciating the season. I learned years ago that I have to be very intentional in December to not lose sight of what we are celebrating at Christmas. This year has been a little different for me. (I’m always amazed at how God prepares us for things we don’t even know are coming … but more on that later.)
While working on the Nativity project, I read what a coworker wrote in reference to the love candle of Advent: “The fourth candle reminds us that God has not forgotten or abandoned the world.” It struck me in an odd way. I’d never really thought about the concept of not being forgotten or abandoned in association with Christmas, but I have certainly experienced it in my own life. At the very darkest time in my life, God clearly spoke to my spirit the words he spoke to Joshua so long ago, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The awareness that God has not abandoned us exploded into my mind in a new way.
God did not abandon us; he did the opposite. Through Jesus, he left heaven and came to Earth to be with us. He became human and lived as one of us, lived among us. I love the way The Message says it, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” Not only did he come and live with us, he lived as no other human has been able to live: fully obedient to God. Not only did he live among us and live a perfect life, he died among us … as one of us … FOR each of us.
It’s mind-blowing. The God of heaven loved us so much he left the glory of heaven, took on flesh, showed us how to live, and then died for us so we could be reconciled to him, so we could have a relationship with him. This is good news, the best news ever. He did what I could never do … and didn’t stop there. He is still with us; he still hasn’t forgotten or abandoned us even now.
Before December 1 this year, I was ready for Christmas in a way I don’t think I have ever been before. I marveled at how moved I was by these thoughts, and I thanked God for how I’d already started experiencing Christmas in such a deep and meaningful way. Then on December 5, I had to face a tragic incident in my family and have been dealing with the aftermath of it. I am so thankful God had already prepared my heart and had reminded me again that I am not alone, that he won’t leave me. In a season already bustling with activity both personally and professionally, I’ve had to shift my focus, make time for the unexpected, and deal with a swarm of emotions. Yet during this Christmas season, I have experienced the fullness of God’s love in a new way. I have been comforted by the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel has been by my side, and I have been reminded that the birth of a tiny baby is evidence of God’s great love for me and is worth celebrating.
Father God, thank you for your incredible, steadfast love that you expressed to us in such a wonderful way. Thank you that you did not abandon us, but instead came down to be with us, to show us your amazing love in such a tangible way. Help us not take for granted your gift and your sacrifice. Instead let us renew our love and commitment to you this Christmas. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Jennifer AyotteDirector of Communications
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