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Sundown Devotional: Five Christmas Surprises

MsDora, a former teacher and Christian counselor, presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.

Photo by Pezibear. Text added.

Photo by Pezibear. Text added.

The Devotional

But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus." Luke 1: 30, 31 (MSG)

The first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel describes the lineage through which God came to earth in human form. Surprisingly, five women are listed, suggesting their significance in a system which considered them insignificant; and four of them add serious disgrace to the theme of God’s marvelous grace. Who are these four?

  • Tamar, mother of Perez, motivated by her desire for personal status, forced herself into the lineup. She tricked Judah, her father-in-law, into making her pregnant (Genesis 38). What a mess! But despite her unmentionable deed, she received mention in the Messiah’s family tree.
  • Rahab, mother of Boaz, was formerly an immoral icon in Jericho (Joshua 2). How did she become the wife of Salmon from the tribe of Judah? Not only did she enter the illustrious ancestry, but also the Faith Hall of Fame. (Hebrews 11).
  • Ruth, the mother of Obed, was a Moabite (Book of Ruth). Because of their inhumanity, her people had been disgracefully banned from “the congregation of God, even to the tenth generation.” (Deuteronomy 23:3). Yet, she entered the Hebrew community, initiated marriage with Boaz, a man of integrity and wealth, and found her place in the genealogy of Jesus.
  • Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, was a Hebrew woman married to Uriah the Hittite, when King David saw her bathing naked on the rooftop (2 Samuel 11, 12). To accommodate their illicit affair, David had her husband killed. Still, Bathsheba’s second son with David, succeeded his father as king and placed her in the lineage of Jesus.

What’s obvious in their stories are the glaring defects which might have disqualified them from God’s grace. What’s missing are their conviction, confession and repentance. There are some things only God sees: our silent struggles for worth, the rises and falls in our faith, our misguided efforts to build relationships with Him. There are some agents of change only He can provide: His love, His forgiveness, His redemption. His grace extends to all types of people, and none of us is beyond His reach to save. It is this grace that we celebrate at Christmas.

Mary, mother of Jesus, is the final woman mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Surprising that, whereas their relationship with Jesus is an incidental in the stories of the other women, Mary is unknown except for her relationship with Him. More about Him and her in our next devotional.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in anticipation of Christmas, please let us focus on Your love and grace, demonstrated in Your gift of Your Son to save us. Amen.

Photo by Geralt. Text added.

Photo by Geralt. Text added.

Ten Quotes About the Grace of God

  1. “Why do we act as though our sin disqualifies us from the grace of God? That is the only thing that qualifies us! . . . You cannot trust God's grace 99 percent. It's all or nothing.” ― Mark Batterson,
  2. “Seek the face of God and let Him show you His grace, for your own sake.” ― Gift Gugu Mona
  3. “Grace would be a poor host indeed to exclude anyone.” ― Alan Cohen
  4. “Grace . . . connects us to the invisible One in an eternal love relationship that fills us with joy we have never known before and gives us rest of heart that we would have thought impossible.” ― Paul David Tripp
  5. “Repentance was never yet produced in any man's heart apart from the grace of God. As soon may you expect the leopard to regret the blood with which its fangs are moistened . . . as expect the sinner to make any confession, or offer any repentance that shall be accepted of God, unless grace shall first renew the heart.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon
  6. “To find grace, we need not look so very far ahead. We need only look at the present moment. God gives us grace right now, in the very moment we need it most.” ― Jocelyn Soriano
  7. “It may not be an easy thing to live in sweet fellowship with all those with whom we come in contact; but that is what the grace of God is given to us for.” ― D.L. Moody
  8. “When God restores you, you might not see all the changes at once. You'll begin to notice parts of you that were broken are no longer that way. Then one day, you realize you're an entirely different person than you used to be. That's grace.” ― Andrena Sawyer
  9. “We all face difficult times. It is only the grace of God that gives strength to endure.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita
  10. “I am nothing but a ripped fabric stitched together by God's grace.” ― J.A. Anum
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More Sundown Devotionals

  • Sundown Devotional: Thankful for Little Pieces
    We usually plan our thanksgiving for the end of the journey. Meanwhile, we neglect to say thanks for the little steps leading up to the outcome. Why not say thanks for every little piece of progress?
  • Sundown Devotional: Dance Like God Is Watching
    Genuine praise seeks expression. Singing, shouting or dancing can happen whenever and wherever we take time to count our blessings. Let's worry less, praise more and include the dance.

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© 2019 Dora Weithers

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