“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2, 14)
Today marks the beginning of December — the most important month of the year, in my opinion. So much happens in December for me. December 6 is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas of Myra. Most don’t realize what this day means. But every time you go to Wal-Mart and see that jolly guy in a red coat and white beard, you have a modern depiction of Saint Nicholas. December 16th is my birthday. And the 26th is the Feast Day of St. Stephen (the one and same Feast of Stephen from the song “Good King Wenceslas”). That day is also called Boxing Day in the United Kingdom, a day when the Christmas leftovers are boxed up and given to the poor. Oh yeah, and Christmas is on the 24th and 25th. It’s actually not hard to forget.
Mid-September is when I first saw the Christmas merchandise displayed at local stores. In Scotland, the Christmas stuff went up in ASDA (Wal-Mart) in mid-October. Every year I’m surprised and disturbed by the sheer variety of Christmas decorations available for folks to put in their front yards. Blow up Santa figures, wire deer, trees, snowmen (“snowpersons” to be P.C.), garland, ribbons, lights flashing all kinds of patterns and, of course, nativity stuff. We live in a world gone wild!
Today’s Bible verse takes us back to the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is about the incarnation of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. To focus our attention on Jesus this month, there is always the Advent wreath, a tremendous Church tradition that goes back hundreds of years and celebrates the arrival of Christ on Christmas Day.
Over the past week I have compiled and edited and written four weeks of devotionals celebrating various aspects of Jesus’ coming to earth — God with us. The compilation is my first attempt at an eBook, a digital book that you can download in PDF form and use on your iPad, iPhone, Tablet, or home computer. You could even print it out at home. You won’t find my devotional book on Amazon or iTunes. Only here.
The book is FREE to download but I have also added a donation button if you’d like to contribute a few bucks. As a missionary and writer, I pretty much live on little and daily needs often go unmet. So any kindness would be much appreciated. If you can’t then please enjoy the devotional and still celebrate Christ with me this Christmas.
Above all this holiday month, I ask you to focus on Christ. I know it is a challenge, especially when you are in Wal-Mart, staring at figurines of ice skaters spinning their happy pattern on plastic ice in a town village the store has set up. Remember that Christmas is a celebration of when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He is real. And He is alive.
— John Newton