Christmas 2023 - Day 1: Christmas and Family

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. Lk 2:16
God didn’t have to, but He chose to bring the Lord Jesus into the world by way of a family. Family is a central component in God's plan. From be fruitful and multiply to blessing every family on earth through the coming Christ to His expression of Himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; God emphasizes family. And it is no wonder then that God has used family to teach and discipline me more than anything else. Whether that is your own family or your own church family- I believe it to be universally true for every true Christian; God uses family to teach and discipline His children. I know this in part through experience. You see, long about Thanksgiving time a Pastor’s phone begins lighting up as his people experience the strains that the holidays place upon families and relationships. It is easy to feel like everything is alright as long as you keep your distance. But spend a few hours together and those old wounds have a way of bleeding through our holiday attire. And that is precisely why we must keep in mind that it is not Uncle Joe being an idiot or what's her name at the end of the pew being annoying as much as it is God using family for one of it’s chief intended purposes. What's that you ask? Sanctification. You can bet that Mary and Joseph, as Godly and obedient as they were, had never been sanctified like they were as a family. The family unit no matter how large or how small is the church in miniature. One body with many members, all of them different and unique and what one does affects the others - either in a positive or negative way (1Co 12:14-18). We are part of the body of Christ - created and designed to be in fellowship with one another. And that fellowship is divinely conceived to (sometimes aggressively) shape us into the image of Christ. That’s why people who claim to be Christians but refuse to have a church home are always nuts and those who do have a church home but remain on the fringes are always selfish underdeveloped children.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1Jn 1:7

Walking in the light means not saying you have no sin or did not sin, but instead stepping into the fellowship that tends to bring out that sin. Then you will be able to call it what it is (often aloud as you humbly admit that you blew it) knowing that this is a work of God, and you are secure because the precious blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin.
In this year's Christmas devotional, I hope to show you how God, through the scriptures, has ministered to me in some of my family joys and heartaches. Walk with me through the various aspects of Christmas and family and let's look to Christ together learning how to think about these challenging issues. Take some time now to pray for God the Holy Spirit's help to make the most of His word to you through this little booklet.

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