Our hope is that your family will do this devotion together. We suggest that you assign each section to different readers for greater participation.
The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
Have you ever wondered why we use lights to celebrate Christmas? They’re beautiful to be sure, but why lights? What do they mean?
The answer lies deep in the Christmas story itself. Centuries before Jesus was born, Israel was in a dark place. They had walked away from God and forfeited His protection. As a result, foreign nations came and brought deep darkness into their land.
What would God do? Would He abandon His people? Would He ignore their prayers?
It’s in this moment the prophet speaks,
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end...”
The prophet foretells of a day when God Himself would come. His rule will end injustice and he will establish unending peace.
As the centuries rolled on, Israel suffered and groaned as they waited for the prophecy of the child to come true. Then finally, one night an angel suddenly appeared to a group of shepherds camped on the hills just outside Jerusalem. The night sky was brilliantly lit with the light of heaven and the poor shepherds were paralyzed with fear.
Now the angel speaks,
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
- Luke 2:10-12
The waiting was over.
God had come! He had visited His people. This is where we get the Christmas word: “Advent” or “Arrival.” Good News! The child was born—the light of the world had come and shone on the land of deep darkness.
The message of Christmas is that God had come. He is making all things new. Yet, the fulfillment of Isaiah’s ancient words was larger than even what Israel understood. The child would grow up and win the victory but not in the way anyone expected. Instead of defeating his enemies in battle, he would die for them on a cross. You see, Jesus came to defeat the enemy every human faces—death itself. His resurrection proved his victory over death. He now can offer eternal life to all those who place their trust in him.
Have one person pray, thanking God for His incredible faithfulness in sending Jesus to save His people from their sins.
Jesus Will One Day Return
But God’s plan had one more twist. While his resurrection installed Jesus as King of New Creation, God had not yet placed all things under his control. Old Creation still groaned under the decay of death. God’s plan was paused because of His great love for us. He’s offering the world time to surrender to Jesus. Until then, we wait for the second arrival—the return of the King. When he comes, he will judge the world in righteousness and establish unending peace.
So now, we wait.
Just as ancient Israel did. But our waiting is filled with the great hope of the first advent. We’ve experienced the power of his resurrection. Those who have surrendered to Jesus have seen him make broken lives beautiful. He is already making all things new.
Christmas 2020 marks the end of a challenging year. But the lights of the holiday hanging in our homes and on our trees, remind us of the hope the Child’s birth brings. God has not abandoned us. He has come to save us and will one day come again. Until then, may we repeat what the angels told the shepherds—a savior has been born who is Christ the Lord! We must surrender to his love and enter his eternal kingdom of light.
Have one family member say a prayer, asking Jesus to come again soon.
For Young Children:
Ask your children what questions they have about Jesus’ return and if it’s something that scares them to think about. Assure them that Jesus’ return will usher in a world with no more sin, sickness, sadness, fights, punishment, or having to eat foods they don’t like. Even better, those who love and trust Jesus will be with Him forever with no separation. We should look to and long for Jesus’ return. And while we wait, we should take seriously His command to love Him first and most, know His Word, care for the poor, and share the gospel.
Ask your older child/teenager how they feel about Jesus’ return on day. Are they afraid they will miss out on future things if He returned today? Discuss any questions they have about His return.
How do you think we should be waiting for Jesus’ return? What should we do as we wait?
What is one hope you have for yourself, your family, or your community as in 2021? How will you make that a reality?
Pray for yourself and those around you, asking God to open your eyes and heart to what He has for you in 2021.