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Sundown Devotional: Five Christmas Surprises

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

Welcome to the Christmas Edition of Sundown Devotional. As we approach the Christmas season, we focus on what it means to us. Away from the stress of the hustle and bustle in the streets, we relax, reminisce, reflect and share inspiration from our meditation on a short Scripture text. In this session, we focus on God's grace,which initiates His plan to redeem mankind. Be blessed!

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
Free Download

Free Download

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.

Christmas Impact Poll

© 2019 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 27, 2019:

Thanks, Denise. And if God's grace includes those women, it certainly includes all of us.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 26, 2019:

This is a beautiful dichotomy! Those who appear to be fallen end up being key in the overall scheme of the life of Jesus Christ. It is a testimony to all of us, that no matter how insignificant we think we are, we are precious in the sight of God!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 17, 2019:

Thanks, Devika. Pleased that you like the Sundown Devotional idea. I appreciate you saying that.

Devika Primic on December 17, 2019:

The best time for you to have written this hub and it could be no other time indeed! I am amazed by this Devotional. Christmas time brings people together and a time to forgive each other. I like your idea of these Sundown Devotional

Antonio50S on December 15, 2019:

To MsDora.

You got me again, hands up :)

One day i may explain things a little better on how i see things, life, and the imperfections of others, but it maybe best me doing that on my own Hub.

I kind of forget sometimes, Total Honesty doesn't mean we are without Sin before God, It just means we are more aware of our Sins and faults, and That's where ( Quote 1 ) comes in.

You know what i discovered these past few weeks ? No matter what people say or do to us, the moment we forgive them from the heart based on "Real Love" we don't notice their faults and sins anymore, they totally disappear.

Appreciate what you said, and the advice you gave.

Thanks.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 15, 2019:

Manatita, thanks for your beautiful submission. "Yes, ALL is God's Grace and God's Compassion." We have much to celebrate.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 15, 2019:

Kari, I appreciate your kind comment. Those women demonstrate God's forgiveness to people from all backgrounds and with all kinds of sins. They make us see that no one is beyond God's reach.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 15, 2019:

Antonio, thanks for your comments. You already know that I prefer them short and to the point. You also know that I have encouraged you to write your own hubs. When you do, you can count on my support. You have lots of interesting topics to share.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 15, 2019:

Bill, I appreciate your contribution. "Jesus is grace personified." That's it in a nutshell.

manatita44 from london on December 15, 2019:

Everything falls into place in this timely devotional: Grace, beauty, Redemption and atonement, fellowship and forgiveness and the spirit of Love and Mercy. So impeccable!

I especially love the stories of the four women, not to mention the redemption in them. The more I live, the more I realise that we really do not know the others Heart … what makes him tick and should be really wary of judging. This is God's work.

That question in Quote 1 is so pertinent for many. I have spoken to you a few times about reverential awe. Awesome, yes, but when Love takes over, our sins vanish into thin air. I rather like this much used cliché on Grace. One of Guruji's many different ways of talking about this goes like this:

"On Sri Chinmoy's Path, the soul-fragrance, of the complete Guru-obedience, is indispensable." -Sri Chinmoy. Yes, ALL is God's Grace and God's Compassion. We would be already dead without them. Exquisite and sublime work!

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on December 15, 2019:

Dora, I think this devotional is especially beautiful. I love the introduction and how you highlight the women in Jesus's family tree. Thank you!

Antonio50S on December 15, 2019:

Yes Dora.

I thought you might have struggled a little with that last post of mine.

True Honesty always reveals who we are deep down, and was thinking about maybe writing my own Hub.

Due to reasons, you're not seeing things as God would see them, but that's OK. It's not my to Judge.

Take Care.

Peace.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on December 15, 2019:

Without grace, where would we be? Jesus is grace personified for sure - the originator and supplier. Thank you for sharing another sundown with us, Dora.

Antonio50S on December 14, 2019:

To MsDora.

I really like that bit of commentary you gave in between "Bathsheba and Mary" Also like number 1 & 8 quotes as well which i thing goes really well with what you said.

( Hebrews 11:29 ) Is Interesting. "By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned" ( Vs3 ) Is really interesting as well. Something cosmologist would struggle with, or maybe not so much if they witnessed the Red Sea parting for themselves ?

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 14, 2019:

Chris, thank you for your affirmation on grace. It has been the healing force in restoring our relationship with God. It should be the main feature in our celebration of Christmas.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 14, 2019:

Grace is such an awesome force in the world. When balanced with mercy and justice, grace can be an amazing healing force. Thank you for these Christmas words.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 14, 2019:

Jodah. You echoed my thoughts exactly. Hopefully, everyone reads it the same way.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 14, 2019:

MsDora, if Jesus' lineage was so flawed there is certainly hope for all of us. This is a wonderful devotional for Christmas approaching. thank you for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 14, 2019:

Thanks, Glenna. Welcome to my HubCircle!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 14, 2019:

Lora, those are great words to sing out loud. If there's anything amazing, it's grace.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 14, 2019:

Pam, that's commendable. Thanks for sharing. It does help to keep the mind focused.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 14, 2019:

Rose, you're so right. That's why we have so much to celebrate, not only at Christmas, but every day of the year.

Glenna Murphy on December 14, 2019:

Blessed Sabbath to all.

Lora Hollings on December 13, 2019:

A beautiful devotional that inspires us all with its message, Ms Dora.

"Amazing Grace,

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

T'was blind but now I see."

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Thanks, Sunrise. The virtuous woman is an ideal, but the other woman is the one we see most often, and the one most in need of our help.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Rev, your kind comment means much to me. I appreciate your approval.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Liz, you encourage me. Thank you. His grace is an appropriate discussion for a group during the Christmas season.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Thank you, Lori. Praying that I keep on writing devotionals that you love.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Brenda, Christmas blessing to you as well! Yes, His grace extends to all kinds of people, including you and me. Thanks for your kind comment.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 13, 2019:

This is an excellent devotional. I have been reading a chapter of Luke each day of December as I want m focus on Christmas to be for the right reason. I love some of those excellent quotes. Everthing in life does change when you are born again and you are a different person. At least that was my experience.

I enjoyed this devotional. Have a lovelr weeken, Ms Dora.

Rose Nyakundi on December 13, 2019:

Thank you for reminding me that God is never confounded by our sins. ...it was why Jesus came!

Sunrise on December 13, 2019:

We are usually lead to focus on the virtuous woman who have lived a life beyond reproach. The idea that God's grace is sufficient is a concept that is certainly intriguing.

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on December 13, 2019:

WOW! MsDora, what a wonderful devotional. I especially like how you included the five women. I love reading lists like that. I often use that method in my writings.

Keep up the good work, and Happy Holidays!

Liz Westwood from UK on December 13, 2019:

Thanks for reminding us of what makes our relationship with God so unique, his grace.

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on December 13, 2019:

I just love these devotionals.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 13, 2019:

Ms Dora,

I enjoyed reading your quotes and the article.

I love this part, "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."

It is so true that his grace extends to all kinds of people.

Thank you for sharing.

May you be blessed this Christmas Season.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Linda, I also like your comment. You state the message very clearly.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Bill, thank you for the blessings and the kindness in you comment. You encourage me.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2019:

Eric, what a beautiful thing to say! Thank you, and have a great weekend!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 13, 2019:

A beautiful message to reflect on today. The Bible clearly shows that we are all loved by our Heavenly Father. Jesus came not for the saints but for sinners. None of us are worthy, but all of us have been redeemed.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 13, 2019:

There is something very peaceful about your series,Dora, and I thank you for it. Peace, love, and blessings to you always.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 13, 2019:

Wonderful art. We forget sometimes that much of what art we write touches so many. Your devotionals fill me with love. Thank You Lord.