The Promise of Christmas is Jesus: A 30-Day Devotional

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Overview

This one-of-a-kind Christmas booklet will take readers on a voyage as they explore God’s promises for Christmas—from Genesis throughout eternity—that the Savior, Jesus, would come and that He will be with us forever.

More than a simple retelling of the Christmas story, this Advent devotional reveals the broad and miraculous scope of Christ’s birth in a manger. This gift foretold from the beginning of time offers salvation and life in Him for ...

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The Promise of Christmas is Jesus: A 30-Day Devotional

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Overview

This one-of-a-kind Christmas booklet will take readers on a voyage as they explore God’s promises for Christmas—from Genesis throughout eternity—that the Savior, Jesus, would come and that He will be with us forever.

More than a simple retelling of the Christmas story, this Advent devotional reveals the broad and miraculous scope of Christ’s birth in a manger. This gift foretold from the beginning of time offers salvation and life in Him for those who believe. The Promise of Christmas is ours because of our one true Hope—Jesus Christ.

Note: Must be ordered in multiples of 25.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400320851
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 4.00 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Countryman is the founder of JCountryman® Gift Books, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. His 30-plus years in Christian publishing have allowed him the opportunity to help create and develop bestselling gift books such as God’s Promises® for Your Every Need, God’s Promises® for Men, God’s Promises® for Women,and God Listens.

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THE PROMISE of CHRISTMAS IS JESUS


By Jack Countryman

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Jack Countryman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4003-2118-6


Chapter One

The Christmas Story

* * *

It's a timeless story—the account of Jesus' birth—with familiar details such as shepherds, a star, wise men, and angels. But perhaps the details, if not the story itself, are too familiar. Are we any longer able to hear the wonder of this world-changing, history-altering story?

God planned the birth of Jesus before time began, and throughout the Old Testament—thousands of years before a Baby was born in Bethlehem—God hinted about the coming of this Messiah, this King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace.

Looking at these hints—these ancient prophecies—and their fulfillment in the New Testament accounts of Jesus' birth can help us recapture the wonder of the Christmas story and marvel at the gift of Jesus, a gift of sacrifice and love, of Immanuel, "God with us."

May seeing the promises of God and their fulfillment reignite in you the very hope of Christmas.

* * *

It came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Luke 2:1–14

Away in a Manger

ANONYMOUS

    Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
    The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet
      head.
    The stars in the sky looked down where
      He lay,
    The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

    The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes
    But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
    I love Thee, Lord Jesus; look down from
      the sky,
    And stay by my cradle till morning is
    nigh.

    Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
    Close by me forever and love me, I pray.
    Bless all the dear children in Thy tender
      care,
    And take us to heaven to live with Thee
      there.

Day 1

God's Promise to Mary

* * *

"Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."

And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."

Luke1:45–55

From all appearances, Mary was an ordinary girl living in a one-stoplight town—when an amazing moment revealed both her extraordinary character and her uncommon faith in her unseen and ever-faithful God. Believing the angel's outrageous claim that she would give birth to God's Son and completely trusting that the Almighty would enable her to walk that path, Mary yielded her life—her very body—to her Creator. Despite the cost to her, despite the public shame and her derailed dreams, Mary was a model of humble and willing submission to the Lord's plans, and the world has celebrated her obedience to God for more than two thousand years.

Day 2

The Word Became Flesh

* * *

Have you ever received a one-of-a-kind gift? Something unique, completely unlike anything you had ever seen or even heard of? When the apostle John referred to Jesus as the "only begotten of the Father," the original Greek means "unique" or "one-of-a-kind." And as God's gift to us, Jesus—who is both fully God and fully man—is indeed unique.

Yet, as the Lamb of God who died on the cross on behalf of sinful humanity, Jesus is not a gift to be hoarded. What will you do to share your one-of-a-kind gift of Jesus with someone this season?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John1:1–5,14

Day 3

The Gift of Jesus the Messiah

* * *

The Son of God, eternal throughout time, infinite in every way, entered the confines of a twenty-four-hour day and the finiteness of a human body in order to dwell among us. And He would do more—far more—than visit and observe. Jesus left His Father's side, took on human flesh, and walked among us in order to die for us.

And God had spoken through prophets to call people to watch for the coming Messiah. He sent angels to announce Jesus' birth, and Jesus revealed His identity through His signs and miracles and teaching—and His death and resurrection. Yet many people missed Him—and still Miss him today.

The night our Savior was born in Bethlehem was a night like many others before it—but unlike any night since. Would you have recognized its significance? And whom will you help recognize it even now, two thousand years later?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Colossians1:15–18

Day 4

Immanuel, "God with Us"

* * *

She was favored; we are blessed. Mary yielded her life, her dreams, her very body to the Sovereign and His plan for all humanity. The holy God, who had been immeasurably far away since our first mother and father sinned in the garden, would come to earth through young Mary's holy womb and be Immanuel, "God with us."

Some people will make their annual or semiannual visit to church in honor of this God who has come near. But if this Babe truly is God, does He not deserve more attention than Christmas eve and perhaps easter Sunday? Jesus has come close for a reason. Actually, for several reasons. He wants His wandering sheep—sinful human beings—to recognize their sin, receive His forgiveness, and live with Him, now and for eternity, as Lord of their lives. Jesus has come near to bless us with His grace, to guide us, to protect us, to provide for us, to free us from our sinful ways and their consequences, and to show us and tell us that He loves us.

Receive Jesus' love if you haven't. Share His love if you have.

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."

Matthew 1:22–23

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Ninth-Century Latin Hymn Translated by John M. Neale

    O come, O come, Emmanuel,
    And ransom captive Israel,
    That mourns in lonely exile here
    Until the Son of God appear.

    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel!

    O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
    Who orderest all things mightily;
    To us the path of knowledge show
    And teach us in her ways to go.

    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel!

    O come, Desire of Nations, bind
    In one the hearts of all mankind.
    Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
    And be Thyself our King of Peace.

    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel!

    O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
    Our spirits by Thine advent here;
    Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
    And death's dark shadows put to flight.

    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Day 5

Unchanging God

* * *

What Christmas traditions do you enjoy? Maybe you always bake cookies, decorate the tree at a specific time, or read the Christmas story before you open gifts—and maybe you've been doing these things for years, if not generations. But maybe some traditions have changed with time. The rich, buttery cookies Great-Grandma baked have been replaced by healthier oatmeal bars, or the tree gets decorated whenever a large group of family members is under the roof at the same time.

Unlike some of our Christmas traditions, our God does not change from year to year, from generation to generation, or even from century to century. He who came as a Baby to the manger in Bethlehem still comes to us—as risen King—whatever our humble circumstances. May we, in turn, go out to others in His name to share His love and grace.

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm117:1–2

Blessed be the name of the Lord From this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down The Lord's name is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens.

Psalm 113:2–4

Day 6

God's Favor

* * *

Whether we do someone a favor or show someone favor, we are freely giving of our love, our time, our finances, our possessions. But giving freely does not mean the gift itself was free. When God shows us His favor—when He offers His forgiveness, His love, His mercy, His grace, His protection, His provision—He does so freely, but that favor did not come cheap. It cost Jesus His life.

Having invested His own Son's life on our behalf, God continually pours out His favor on those who recognize the sacrifice of the cross. In the words of the psalmist, God's favor "will surround [us] as with a shield." Our loving God will bestow His favor upon us through all of life's circumstances. As we receive God's favor—during this blessed season and year-round—may we find ways to share it with those around us.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

Psalm 5:11–12

Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 8:34–35

Day 7

Spiritual Gifts and Talents

* * *

John the Baptist obeyed God's calling to be the messenger who led people to repent and be baptized. Obedient to this calling, John was faithful to the point of losing his life rather than backing down. To God be the glory!

God is still glorified when, like John the Baptist, His people use their spiritual gifts "for the profit of all." God works in each individual to benefit the entire body. And although different tasks within the body call for different gifts, all tasks and gifts have the same goal. At the time when each of us comes to faith in Christ, we receive at least one gift—not merely to build up our own life of faith but also to strengthen unity in the church. Ask God today to show you the gifts and talents given to you by His Spirit. Then use those gifts in the body of Christ as He directs. As you do so, you'll find your faith stretched and strengthened.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

1 Corinthians 12:4–11

Day 8

His Blessing

* * *

Our God loves to pour out blessings! He demonstrates His love to those of us who love Him—who show our love by obeying Him—when He provides and protects, when He guides our steps and goes ahead of us, when He walks with us through hard times and brings us to good and pleasant places. God blesses us with His constant presence. Whatever trials we face, nothing can separate us from His love. Whatever twists in the road, nothing can interfere with His sovereign power and goodness. Whatever missteps we take, He can redeem. Whatever hurts we experience, He can heal. Yes, our God loves to pour out blessings!

When God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Hebrews 6:13–15

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1–3

Day 9

His Faithfulness

* * *

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

In Hebrews 10:22, God invites us to "draw near" to Him with "a true heart in full assurance of faith." His invitation is grounded in the promise that He—our unchanging Lord—will always be faithful and that His love for us will absolutely never waver. We can therefore hold fast to the hope in our all-loving, all-powerful risen Lord, whose birth we celebrate this season. And may the hope that we have in Jesus Christ flavor our words and our actions so that others may see His grace and love and ask us about His faithfulness. May we have the opportunity this Christmas to share the story of Jesus' birth and the reasons for our hope in Him.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE PROMISE of CHRISTMAS IS JESUS by Jack Countryman Copyright © 2012 by Jack Countryman. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................1
The Christmas Story....................3
"Away in a Manger"....................6
God's Promise to Mary....................8
The Word Became Flesh....................10
The Gift of Jesus the Messiah....................12
Immanuel, "God with Us"....................14
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel"....................16
Unchanging God....................18
God's Favor....................20
Spiritual Gifts and Talents....................22
His Blessing....................24
His Faithfulness....................26
His Grace....................28
God's Guidance....................30
His Mercy....................32
His Forgiveness....................34
God's Comfort....................36
God's Goodness....................38
His Compassion....................40
God's Power....................42
His Strength....................44
God's Presence....................46
His Peace....................48
The Return of Our Lord....................50
God's Patience....................52
The Abundant Life....................54
His Love....................56
Our Savior....................58
God's Wisdom....................60
The Holy Spirit....................62
Abundance from Above....................64
Eternal Life....................66
The Gift of Prayer....................68
"Joy to the World"....................70
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