Monday, December 9, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Christmas gifts with bows and The Cross of Christ


Don’t Let The Bows Cover Up The Cross

A devotional by Amanda Wen


“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (NIV)

Several years ago, when my oldest son was around 4 or 5 years old, he wanted to help me wrap Christmas presents. (I use the term “help” rather loosely, as anyone who’s ever had a young child help wrap gifts can attest!) We came up with a fairly simple system: I did the actual wrapping, and he did the ribbons and bows.

When I’m wrapping gifts, I usually place one ribbon across the present positioned horizontally, one vertically, and then put the bow in the center where they intersect. So I was a bit surprised when my son wanted to put the bows not only off-center, but not even on the ribbon at all. My Inner Perfectionist would’ve normally surfaced to correct him, but the Holy Spirit instructed me instead to quiet the perfectionism and ask my son why he’d chosen to arrange the bows that way.

I’m so very glad I listened. Because I will never forget the look in his liquid brown eyes, nor the sincerity in his small voice, when he answered my question.

"Because I didn't want the bows to cover up the cross."

I was blown away. Convicted. Because this time of year it is so easy — so easy —to let the ribbons and bows, glimmer and glitz cover up the reason we have Christmas in the first place.

And if we really think about it, that reason is pretty ugly. We are sinful beings. We rebel against our Lord and Creator nearly every chance we get. And because of that, we had no hope.

But God knew that. He knew from the moment He created us that we would need His help. So with humankind in mind, God sent Jesus Christ who is His only Son.

Jesus traveled from the highest of the heavens to the lowliest human circumstances to be present with us: a hay-filled manger in a Middle Eastern town that at the time was not considered very important by the people in the region … He was born to a teenage virgin who was engaged to wed a God-fearing carpenter. Mary and Joseph were his earthly parents. As a baby born in Bethlehem, Jesus was worshiped by shepherds and astrologers. He was pursued by a paranoid king. He was raised in relative obscurity, amid whispers of his possibly illegitimate origins. He wrapped Himself in human flesh and experienced all the frustration, disappointment, and heartbreak of this broken world. Christ walked among us, teaching, healing and loving the outcast as He gave hope to the downtrodden.

Jesus showed us exactly who God is and ultimately, He took the penalty for our sin on Himself. Christ laid down His life on a Roman cross, and in doing so, He defeated death, the power of hell and wiles of the devil (Satan). Jesus delivered a fatal blow to all that is broken and evil. Thanks to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, we now have open a way — the only way — for us to have peace with God (John 14:6).

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He gives us His free gift of salvation, which is the promise of eternal life with Him in Heaven after the final curtain closes on human history. Remember, this world is not our home. It is an unending hope and because of it, pure joy abounds in the hearts of all those who believe in God and follow Jesus Christ.

As we celebrate this Christmas season by gathering with our loved ones, showering them with gifts and baking holiday treats … as we decorate everything around us with wreaths, mistletoe and bright lights to make our surroundings look warm and festive… as we sing Christmas carols and spread good cheer, may we always remember Him as the true reason for this beautiful holiday season.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, as we enjoy the festivities of Christmastime and joyfully wrap our Christmas gifts with bows and ribbons for our loved ones, don’t allow us to let those beautiful bows cover up the Cross of Christ.

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Author Bio:

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction.

A first place winner in the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. In addition, she was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest.

Amanda is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship team at recent ACFW conferences. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their three adorable and hilarious Wenlets.

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Connect with Amanda:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authoramandawen
Twitter: www.twitter.com/authoramandawen
Instagram: www.instagram.com/authoramandawen
Website: www.amandawen.com

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