The holidays can be hard. But God is reaching out to us offering comfort. Sharing a short devotional that offers hope and encouragement for Christmas comfort.
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The following article is contributed by Rachel Schmoyer. Rachel shares her thoughts on comfort from Mary’s perspective and Old Testament Scripture of hope.
I do hope you will take a moment to visit Rachel at Read the Hard Parts where she writes on the sometimes difficult to understand parts of the Bible. She is a gifted writer and has graciously consented to being a contributor and sharing here on Grateful Prayer Thankful Heart over the next few months.
Christmas Comfort: A Devotional from Isaiah 40
On the day after Thanksgiving, my family puts away the ceramic pumpkins and the candy corn. I ask my teenage son to go into the attic and get out the Christmas books, nativity scene, and the large box of holiday decorations. We put together the artificial tree, hang on the crocheted snowflake ornaments and baby’s first Christmas ornaments and the paper ornaments that my kids have made over the years in school. We listen to Christmas music and we spend time together as a family reminiscing over the memories that each ornament and decoration brings to mind. This year, the last thing I pulled out of the Christmas box was the Christmas quilt.
Many years ago a dear friend of ours made this quilt for us as a gift and we have treasured it ever since. The Log Cabin pattern looks elegant with the dark green strips of fabric off set with the white fabric with delicate golden detail. Each quilt block has a bold red square at the center. When I pulled it out of the box this year, I lovingly folded the quilt and displayed it on the back of our couch. But it didn’t stay there for long. My husband plopped on the couch, tired from putting up the tree, and wrapped himself in it. Two of our daughters snuggled up on either side of him. He ran his hand slowly across the stippling.
“I love this blanket,” he said. “It is so comfortable.”
The Uncomfortable First Christmas
Comfort is not usually the first word that comes to mind when I think about Christmas. Especially when I think about the first Christmas. Joseph squirmed while he felt the stares from his neighbors and friends when they found out his fiancé was pregnant before their wedding day. Mary, very pregnant, waddled a hundred miles on foot or bounced along on a donkey to reach Bethlehem. Then she gave birth far from home perhaps in a dirt floor stable or a crowded large tent set up for weary travelers. Smelly shepherds came to see her infant Son followed by foreigners who were drawn near because of a star. How awkward would it be to entertain complete strangers shortly after giving birth for the first time?
Despite the physical discomfort experienced on the first Christmas, God did have comfort in mind when He sent Jesus to earth.
God’s Message of Christmas Comfort
Isaiah 40:1 reads “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that his kingdom would be overrun by the Babylonians and some of his own descendants would serve in the Babylonian court. The discouragement and the disappointment of this crushing news would be almost too much to bear, so God reached out with a message of comfort in Isaiah 40. God told His people that there was still hope. Jesus Christ would come with power to rule yet would gently lead them and carry them close to His heart (Isaiah 40:9-11).
Jesus came that first Christmas and gently led His people towards the power of the cross that broke the curse of sin and death.
Christmas Comfort Today
When I got my turn to wrap up in the warm Christmas quilt, I reflected on the despair that people feel today even during the Christmas holidays. God is reaching out to us offering comfort. He has sent Jesus so that we are not without hope either in this life or in the life to come. His arms are open wide. Come to Him for Christmas comfort.
Rachel Schmoyer finds simple truths in complex parts of Scripture through her Read the Hard Parts blog and speaking ministry. She is a pastor’s wife and mom of four school aged children in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. She has written a five-day devotional called Let’s Eat so you can prepare your heart for Thanksgiving. You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram.
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