Monday, December 24

Matthew 1:18-25

Christmas Eve is here!! Over the last few weeks I have asked a number of children and youth what they are excited for most about Christmas. I’m sure that you are surprised that the number 1 and really only response has been “I can’t wait for the presents!!” How amazing is it that every kid knows that the best part about Christmas is our celebration of the greatest present ever in Jesus. (I know they probably are thinking of something a little different but why not go with Jesus). Even though we may have different gifts in mind we are looking forward to, the reality is that we should be excited. Because Advent is a season of anticipation and celebration. Watching kids get excited about their Christmas list and all the possibilities reminds me of the type of anticipation I should have for Christmas too. It reminds of the type of childlike anticipation I should have about the birth of Jesus and his ultimate return.

How great is it that we get to celebrate the realities of the incarnation, the realties of Emmanuel, God with us. Not God is distant from us, or separated from us, but God with us!! Love came down to rescue me, love came down to set me free! The greatest gift we could ever receive we have been given. God has come to us, we didn’t have to work and earn our way to him, he came to us. May this Christmas Eve be one that stirs each of our hearts to where we excitedly celebrate Jesus’ birth and eagerly anticipate his return.

“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”

- Jon Henson


1.     What would it look and feel like for you to have a childlike anticipation to be in the presence of God?

2.     What does it mean to you to be graciously be given and to receive the gift of Jesus Christ?

For Families:
-If you have the time, consider wrapping individual pieces of a nativity set and allowing each member of your family to unwrap the figures one at a time (an alternative is to hide the pieces around the house as a hide-and-seek or scavenger hunt type activity). As you receive each figure, talk about their role in the story of Jesus’ birth – what might they have been excited about?  Unwrap or find Jesus last.  Talk about what Jesus may have felt, seen, or thought.  Then, share what the gift of Jesus means to you as a family.

--Jesus, Immanuel, God with us!  May our eyes see you, our ears know your voice, and our hearts glow with recognition.  We have not forgotten that as we look back on your birth, that we await, with eager expectation, the coming of your Kingdom.  O come, Lord Jesus, come.  Amen!