"What Is So Special About Christmas?" Devotional
What Is So Special About Christmas?
27 Days of Devotional Scripture Reading
Overview: For the next 27 days, Let’s interview various people we will meet in the Bible text and ask each of them, “What’s so Special about Christmas?” These 27 days of devotionals correlates with the sermon series which is designed to lead our hearts to reflect on the special significance of Christmas. Through prayerful mediation of the impact of Jesus’ coming into the world, may the Spirit lead our hearts to the special wonder of Christmas & empower our conversations to ask of others ‘What’s so special about Christmas?’ & lead us to freely share the love of Jesus in caring conversations.
November 29 – Let’s begin our journey by asking an elderly couple, Zachariah & Elizabeth, this question – “What’s so special about Christmas?” Read Luke 1:1–25. Imagine how this couple would answer this question. Put yourself in the text & prayerfully reflect on why Christmas (the Messiah coming to earth) was special through their perspective. Pause and reflect on – Why Christmas is so special to you? Respond with your heart to the and join Elizabeth in her prayer – “The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace among the people.” (Luke 1:25)
November 30 – Let’s next ask the poor Jewish teenage girl, Mary, who was living a life of moral and sexual purity – “What’s so special about Christmas?” Read Luke 1:26–38. Imagine what emotions and thoughts Mary was experiencing when the Angel appeared to her. Prayerfully reflect how would she answer this question. Write down your impressions as a prayer to God. Respond to the Lord’s voice by yielding to His will with Mary – “See, I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it happen to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)
December 1 – Let’s continue our journey by asking the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist (who was still in His mother’s womb) – “John, What’s so special about Christmas?” Read Luke 1:39–45. Even though John could not physically speak, what does the text indicate about His emotions? What does it do to your heart to know that ‘God has come near?’ – i.e. – “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1: 14). Write a prayer expressing your heart about the joy which occurs within considering how special Christmas is.
December 2 – Read and reflect on Mary’s Praise in Luke 1:46–56. Spend time reflecting & meditating on each of Mary’s phrases of praise. Just as Christmas was so special to Mary, how about you? Can you join her in praise and worship to God? Christmas is so special, for it is a time of worship and expression of our hearts of joy and praise to the Lord for His so great salvation. Worship with Mary, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” Write a Prayerful reflection ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
December 3 – Read Luke 1:57–80. As you reflect on the birth of John the Baptist (Jesus’ cousin) and Zachariah’s prophesy, imagine how he would answer the question – “Zachariah, What’s So Special about Christmas?” How about you? Is the promise God made and kept special to you? Is the salvation to deliver you from sin and Satan’s oppression special to you? Consider – Where would you be if Jesus had not entered our world? “Heavenly Father, Christmas is special to me, because You have come to rescue me! Because You did not spare Your Son but freely gave Him for us all, my life is filled with _________________________________________________________.”
December 4 – Read Luke 2:1-20. As you reflect on the marvelous mystery of verse 7, Imagine asking Joseph in that moment, “Why is Christmas so special to you?” What do you think he would say? Maybe he would be in awe and testify, “God does miracles in strange places.” Imagine further the shepherds, interrupted from sleep by angelic activity – How might they respond to this inquiry? Maybe they would say, “God sees us; God knows us; and God cares for us – ones who seem invisible to others.” Pause & Reflect: Do you ever feel insignificant, forgotten or unimportant? Christmas means that the Lord visits the lowly with the riches of His grace. This means You are seen, known, and cared for by the One who matters the most. Express to the Lord why Christmas is so special to you through the eyes of the shepherds. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
December 5 – Lord’s Day – Read Luke 2:21–38. On the day of baby Jesus’ circumcision, Mary and Joseph encounter Simeon and Anna. Reflect on this encounter and imagine how Simeon & Anna might answer the question – “What’s so special about Christmas?” Simeon could die in peace because he had encountered the Lord’s Messiah – focus on Verses 29 -32. How peaceful are you about the reality of death? Can you die in peace, knowing that Jesus is the Messiah who has defeated death for you? Write a prayer championing Jesus as the only hope and source for eternal life in heaven. Pray for someone who is struggling with their health and who could benefit from you sharing of Jesus’ love which gives assurance in the face of death. Ask the Spirit to guide you to share ‘the reason of the hope within you.’ Become like Anna in Vs. 38 who “began to thank God and to speak about Him to all…”
December 6 – Read Luke 2:39–52 – Reflect on the early development of Jesus as a child. Imagine what it would be like for Mary and Joseph to lose the location of their son and discover Him teaching in the Temple. Let’s ask Jesus, “What’s so special about Christmas?” Focus on His words in Verse 49 – “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house and about My Father’s will?” Jesus coming to earth was a delight for Him to do His Father’s will. How about you? Is Christmas a special time for you to delight in doing the Father’s will? Consider some act of kindness toward a widow or fatherless child to express the Father’s compassionate heart toward the vulnerable. Prayerfully seek to Experience the Scripture of James 1: 27.
December 7 – Read 2 Corinthians 8. Pause to focus on verse 9. The apostle Paul answers the question – “What’s so special about Christmas?” He describes the amazing grace of Christmas in vivid terms. As you reflect on this text, write a prayer of thanksgiving for the amazing love God displayed toward you to make Christmas so special. Christmas is so special because it is all about ‘grace giving.’ God gave to us His Son as an expression of His gracious generosity. As we have ‘freely received’ from the Lord, we can ‘freely give’ to others. Ask the Lord to whom can you give and follow His prompting to ‘give to the least of these.’
December 8 – Read 2 Corinthians 9. The apostle Paul once again answers the question, ‘What’s so special about Christmas?’ Pause & reflect on verse 15 – “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” Write a prayer to God expressing to Him what is indescribable about His gift of Jesus. You may want to include in your prayer: His love, mercy, intimate relationship or forgiveness. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the wonders of His love!
December 9 – Read Galatians 4. It’s a fun discovery to find Christmas passages in Scripture in unlikely places. As Paul writes to the 1st century churches in the region of Galatia concerning spiritual freedom in Jesus, Reflect on Verses 4 – 6. As you reflect on this text, “What’s so special about Christmas?” Notice the words – “Time”; “His Son”; “born of a woman”; “redeem”; “adoption”; “you are a son”; “the Spirit into our hearts.” Express your heart to God in a written prayer of why God sending His Son is so special to you. Listen to the Lord for whom He may be sending you to share His startling love. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and boldness.
December 10 – Read Mark 5:1–20 and let’s ask the man delivered from demons – “What’s so special about Christmas?” Imagine what He would say. Reflect on how Jesus saved you from a downward path of sinful and self-destruction and how He has given you “power, love and a sound mind” by His Spirit (2 Timothy 1: 7). Write out a prayer of love to Jesus for delivering you from the powers of darkness and transferring you in the Kingdom of Light. Here Jesus saying to you, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” Who of your family and friends may the Lord be sending you to share what He has done for you? Pray for opportunities to read the Christmas story of Luke 2: 1- 20 and share your testimony as family, friend, and business gatherings.
December 11 – Read out load the genealogy and names of Matthew 1:1–17. There is a lot of interest in today’s culture concerning genealogy. Imagine asking several people listed in Jesus’ genealogy the question, “What’s so Special about Christmas?” In Verse 2, How do you think Abraham would answer this question? In verse 5, How do you think Rahab (Joshua 2 – 6) or Ruth might answer this question? In verse 6, How do you think David might answer this question? – reflect on Psalm 32 In Verse 6b, How might Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife) answer this question? In verse 17, How might all those who lived in the generations prior to Jesus’ arrival answer this question? Pause and Reflect on God’s long and faithful plan to bring His Son into the world and into your heart. Write a prayer expressing worship and thanksgiving for God’s faithful love to you in making Christmas so special. He has fulfilled His promise to us!
December 12 – Read Matthew 1:18–25. Let’s next ask Joseph, “What’s so Special about Christmas?” Imagine how he may answer this question in light of Mary’s unexpected pregnancy of the Holy Spirit and the appearance of an angel. Christmas is special because “God is with us.” Express any cares and anxieties you are experiencing to the Lord; Imagine Jesus taking all of your ‘cares’ and placing them on His back. Sense His care & compassion for you as you share your heart to Him. Experience 1 Peter 5: 7 – “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.”
December 13 – Read Matthew 2:1-12. Let’s consider Several individuals to ask the question – “What’s so Special about Christmas?” How might King Herod respond to this question? – He may have an angry response because he was being threatened by an infant king. How do you think the residents of Jerusalem would respond? – They may have been stirred with hope for the coming Messiah. How do you think the chief priests and scribes would respond? They may would respond with a yawn and a sigh; they lived a few miles from Bethlehem and were so filled with apathy that they did not even go to investigate. How do you think the Wise Men would respond to this question? Imagine what they experienced as they beheld the Christ-child. Put yourself in the text in Vs. 11 & 12. Christmas is special because of the Joy of God revealing Himself to man. These magi were decedents of the wise men who encountered the prophet Daniel in Babylon. They passed down prophesies of the coming king with an eternal kingdom. The same joy the wise men experienced in this text is the joy that Jesus offers to us today. Jesus prayed for you to experience joy in John 17: 13 – “that they may have my joy completed in them.” Write a prayer expressing the joy of your heart that God has revealed Himself to you through Jesus Christ. Reflect on John 1: 18. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
December 14 – Now let’s put on our ‘sanctified imaginations’ and interview the Old Testament prophet Isaiah – “What’s so special about Christmas?” Read Isaiah chapters 1 and chapter 7.
Pause and reflect on chapter 1, verse 18. Many would say that Christmas is special because of a white snowfall. How might you have a ‘white’ Christmas? Express your heart to God for the love of Jesus that cleanses you from all sin – see 1 John 1: 7. Pause and reflect on chapter 7, verse 14. The young maiden giving birth to a son would be a sign in Isaiah’s day that God would come near and deliver His people. This prophesy has ‘double-fulfillment’ – both for Isaiah’s day and for the virgin Mary who would give birth to Jesus, who is “Immanuel – God with us.” – see Matthew 1. Christmas is special because God is with us! God could have distanced Himself, because of our sin; God could have justly been disappointed with us, because of our transgressions; God could have inspected by judging us rightly for our iniquities; but the wonder of all wonders is that God entered our world to rescue us. Write a prayer to God responding to the wonder that He sent His Son into the world – fully man, yet fully God – i.e. God in human flesh!
December 15 – Let’s keep our ‘sanctified imaginations’ from yesterday! Read Isaiah chapter 9. Let’s Once again ask Isaiah, What’s so Special about Christmas? Pause & Reflect on verses 6 and 7. How do you think the prophet would answer the question? As you think about the child who was born and the Son of God that was given, reflect upon the names of the Messiah? Which of these names do you need the most right now in your life? Respond with your heart to the Wonder of wonders that Jesus has come to be your “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, & Prince of Peace.” Share your response with a friend.
December 16 – Now let’s continue on the ‘sanctified imagination’ tour and go all the way back to the beginning. Read and reflect on Genesis chapter 3. Imagine how God’s heart must have felt when Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden tree and sin entered, severing his intimate relationship with man. Zero in on Verse 15 – Notice the promise God made to the deceitful serpent – “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He (the Woman’s seed) will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Now let’s imagine Adam and Eve in heaven. How might they answer the question – “What’s so Special about Christmas?” Christmas is so special because Jesus has defeated Satan! Express your heart to God in a written prayer for the wonder that the ‘Son of God’ became the ‘Son of man’ so the ‘sons/ daughters of men’ can become the ‘sons/ daughters of God.’
December 17 – Okay, we are doing good on this ‘sanctified imagination’ journey. Let’s do it one more time and read the prophet Micah chapter 5. Pause & Zero in on Verse 2. Do you notice the name of a tiny town? Yes, ‘Bethlehem.’ What is so special about Christmas? God does His significant works of mercy in insignificant places on the map. Notice how the Messiah is described in this text and allow your heart to respond in wonder. Notice in Verses 4 and 5 that the Promised Messiah (who is Jesus) will give security and peace to people living in fear. Prayerfully consider someone living with stress and anxiety. Text or communicate with them your prayer for God’s peace to be experienced in their hearts. Let them know of your care for them.
December 18 – Today let’s turn back over to the New Testament Gospel of John. Read and reflect on chapter 1, verses 1-18. Consider Verses 1 through 14. Who is the WORD who became flesh and ‘moved into our neighborhood?’ Say His name aloud – JESUS! Allow your heart to feel sadness of Verses 10 and 11. How do you think Jesus felt to be ignored and rejected by His own people? Enter “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3: 10). Now zero in on Verse 18. The God who is invisible is now visible; His Son has revealed Him. Prayerfully consider someone living with spiritual confusion and pray that the eyes of their heart will be open to see the Light of the world. Send them a text expressing your care – “As I notice the beautiful lights of the season, I am reminded why every light is so special. Every light points to the Light of the world. I am praying for the light of His love fills your heart.”
December 19 – Read John chapter 1, 19 through 51. Let’s interview several people we encounter in this text – “What’s so special about Christmas?” How do you think John the Baptist might answer this question, reflecting on verses 26 – 34? How do you think Andrew would answer this question? How do you think Simon Peter would answer this question? How do you thin Nathanael would answer this question? Consider which of these Biblical characters you most identify most with in answering the question – Why Christmas is so special to you? Prayerfully look for an opportunity to discuss with a friend why Christmas is so special to you. Begin by asking them, “What’s so special about Christmas to you?” Listen and respond with interest to their answer. Then share why Christmas is special to you; transition to share why Christmas is special to God. Share the Good News and invite them to trust Jesus.
December 20 – Read John chapter 8. Zoom into verses 1 – 12. And let’s ask the woman taken in adultery, “What’s so special about Christmas?” What do you think she would say? Notice Jesus’ ‘I AM’ claim in Verse 12. Have you experienced the light of compassion, acceptance, or forgiveness through Jesus’ love? If so, respond with your heart to His loving revelation.
John 8:1-11, Jesus demonstrates approachability and others wish to gather around him. In our church family and fellowship together, let’s prayerfully create safe spaces around us in which people can experience Spirit-filled, life-changing fellowship. Pray, asking the Holy Spirit to continue to refine you and our community of Jesus followers: “Dear Holy Spirit, refine our church family to be a ‘safe space’ for people to belong, believe and become like Jesus.”
December 21 – Read 1 Timothy chapter 1. The apostle shares in verse 15 his story of ‘What’s so special about Christmas?’ “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them.” Pause and consider your story of how Jesus rescued you. Recount this before the Lord by writing in a journal. Respond with your heart to the Lord Jesus for rescuing you. Pray for individuals in the traffic patterns of your life who might benefit from your story of Jesus saving and rescuing you from the destructive path of sin.
December 22 – Read 1 Timothy chapter 3. Let’s ask the apostle Paul again as we read this chapter – “What’s so special about Christmas?” Zoom in to Verses 14 – 16. Paul might say Christmas is special because it is “the pillar and foundation of truth” in which the church and our lives are built. “God was manifested in the flesh!” Respond with your heart to the Love of God which is a solid foundation for your faith. Express your gratitude to God by writing out a prayer.
Ask the Spirit to send you to someone who is experiencing instability and who could benefit from your experience of Jesus being Your Rock and foundation.
December 23 – Read John chapter 3. Focus on Verses 16 & 17 and answer – “What’s so special about Christmas?” Possibly the most familiar of all Bible verses is about a God who loves. How startling it is when we begin to imagine the wonder of such love, the miracle of the gift named Jesus! Across the pages of Scripture we’re touched by the uniqueness of the God-man Jesus. Christ’s words were startling and His miracles amazing, but everything He said and did was meant to call attention to how He loved. Take a moment now to reflect on how Jesus loved people and how He startled them with His love. Jesus startled the woman at the well (John 4), the crippled man at the pool (John 5), the woman taken in adultery (John 8), Zacchaeus (Luke 19), and lepers by healing their bodies and bringing dignity to their lives, sometimes even touching them in order to heal them (Luke 5:12,13; 17:11-19). Pause now and reflect on the startling love of Jesus:
- Jesus, you first startled me with love as you brought me into relationship with you; pause to give Him thanks. “Dear Lord, I give you thanks for loving me to yourself when…
- Jesus, do it again; keep it up! “Dear Lord, open the eyes of my heart that I not miss the abundance and constancy of your startling love.”
Christmas is so special for we are startled by Jesus’ love!
December 24 – Read John chapter 4. How might the ‘woman at the well’ respond to the question – “Why is Christmas special to you?” Just like this woman at the well, great things happen as we encounter Jesus, walking by faith in His Word. Reflect to the time when you first entered a relationship with the Savior. Do you remember really desiring to please Him, to put a smile on His face, so to speak? Was a longing to please Jesus part of your “new birth” experience? When you think back on this time, did you desire to:
- Put away certain things, attitudes, or behaviors from your life? Avoid certain familiar patterns and places?
- Flee certain activities and acquaintances?
- Meditate upon God’s Word?
- Worship with fellow Christ-followers?
- Share your experiences with Jesus with other people?
Complete as many of these sentences as you can:
As I think back upon my experience of embracing Jesus as my Savior,
I recall these thoughts of wanting to please Him: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Lord Jesus, I desire to please You, to “walk worthy” of my calling. I dread displeasing You and I sense the Holy Spirit touching my heart, giving me a deeper motivation to yield to You in these ways: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
December 25 – Read John chapter 9. This entire chapter is about a blind man whose name we do not even know. Jesus opened His eyes, and sadly he experienced the pain of irrelevant religion of his family and neighbors. The people of the neighborhood ignored him. The religious leaders accused him. His family rejected him. But when Jesus heard all of this, he went to find him. – see Verse 35 – “Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, and when He found him” Let’s ask this man, “What’s so Special about Christmas?” Reflecting on Jesus’ words in Verse 39, imagine how he might answer this question. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, in order that those who do not see will see and those who do see will become blind.” Reflect on why this Christmas day is special to you. Jesus has come into the world so that you who were ‘spiritually blind’ may see. You can see your sin as well as His grace and forgiveness. You can see the value of ‘near ones’ in your life. You can see the real purpose of life. Take a moment to recall a friend or loved one who is experiencing life alone. The Lord is calling you to simply walk alongside and encourage. Pause and ask God to “send” you: “Send me Holy Spirit to _______________________________________ who at times is alone, struggling with __________________________________________.” Today, make a phone call, send a text or have caring conversation and do what Jesus did i.e. – find the one who has been thrown out. Consider Jesus’ heart to the man: When he heard that the man was alone, His first response was not to preach to him, pray for him or give a pep talk but simply to be with him. Your friend needs the same today. Merry Christmas because Jesus has come to ‘take in’ those the world has ‘cast out!’