This time of year, the Christmas story usually resurfaces in our homes, church, radio, etc. Many of us read it together with our families as part of our yearly traditions. But, I’d like to suggest that we take it just one step further this year. Let’s also back up just a little bit to Luke 1.
One of our ministers delivered an amazing sermon yesterday based on this chapter. I wanted to apply what I learned, so I decided to write it up “family devotional style” to make it easier to implement this week. Hope you’ll join me as well.
Reasons to Praise Family Devotional
Family Memory Verse this week: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Read Luke 1:68-79
The word Blessed (verse 68) means Worthy. It refers to praising God.
We should bless or praise God. We can find some guidance for doing that in the Scriptures we just read. At the end of this devotional, we’ll take some time to pray and thank God, which is a way to praise Him.
Reason # 1 – Praise God for Salvation
Re-read Luke 1:69 and 77, “And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,”…”To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins,”
During Old Testament times, a sacrifice would be made for sin. The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) So, an animal would be killed to pay that wage. (Explain to your young children, who are tender-hearted toward animals, that God didn’t want animals to be killed. He didn’t want the people to sin. They chose sin. Sacrificing the animal was an acceptable way to pay the wage.) Some of the blood would be put onto the horn of the altar.
Read Leviticus 4 :7, “And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense before the Lord that is in the tent of meeting.”
Here in Luke 1:69, Zacharias is prophesying about Jesus and he points all the way back to the horn in Old Testament times. He is saying, Jesus will pay the wage. He will sacrifice Himself and His blood will be the substitute once and for all, so we don’t have to receive the wage we deserve for our sins. (No more sacrificing animals. Jesus sacrificed Himself.)
Reason #2 – Praise God for His Mercy and Grace
Re-read Luke 1:72 and 78, “To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant,“…”Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;”
According to Websters 1828 dictionary, Mercy means, “..to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.”
Re-read Luke 1:75, “In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”
God has shown us mercy. He has had compassion on us and, through salvation, looks at us now and sees holiness and righteousness – things we couldn’t earn and don’t deserve.
Reason #3 – Praise God for being a Light, so we don’t have to be afraid
Re-read Luke 1:78b-79a, “With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,“
Dayspring means the dawning of the day. After a dark night, the sun rises and brings its light. This is what Jesus did. We don’t have to fear. We don’t have to be “afraid of the dark” any longer. Christians don’t have to be afraid of what will happen when we die; we will live in heaven in an amazing, happy place. We don’t even have to be afraid of anything – like our enemies (verses 71,74).
As a family, list some other things that might make you afraid. Let everyone add to the list since fears will be different for different age groups. For example, parents might be afraid of not having enough money, or losing their jobs, while young kids are afraid of bullies and teens are afraid of going off to college away from family.
Reason #4 – Praise God for true Peace
Re-read Luke 1:79b, “To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Peace is something that people try to manufacture or create for themselves. But true peace only comes from God.
List some ways people try to create peace for themselves. (buy things, use alcohol to help them not think about their problems, find comfort in food, find people with similar behaviors, etc.)
Why won’t those things bring lasting peace? What will the result be for some of the things you listed?
Take some time right now to Praise God for Salvation, Mercy & Grace, Being a Light, and bringing true Peace.
I praise You for coming to earth to pay the wage for my sin by dying on the cross for me. Thank you for the best gift that could ever be given – Salvation.
Thank you for not giving me what I deserve, but instead showing mercy. Thank you for making me holy and righteous before You.
I praise You for being a light and being in control of everything. I don’t have to be afraid-no matter what happens in my life. I know you are with me and guiding me.
(You might want to use the list you made earlier. Thank You that I don’t have to be afraid of…)
I praise You for bringing true peace. Forgive me when I try to use other things to create peace for myself. You, alone, guide my feet into the way of peace.
In Jesus’ name,