Verse of the Day


"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

~Isaiah 7:14


Today's Devotional Thought

December 12, 2020 by Rachel Piferi



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Experiencing Christmas Introduction & Day One

Every Christmas season, one of my favorite things to do is to just sit in my living room at the start of my day and rest in the glow of the little sparkling white lights of the Christmas tree. I love those dark, quiet moments right before the sun comes up. Before the kids have gotten up or the world has fully awakened, I love curling up in my chair and resting in the beautiful glow of the Christmas tree.

Oh how I love those moments at Christmastime. Those still, quiet, sparkling moments at the start of my day.

Usually, I am resting for a moment before a full day of Christmas activities. There is typically a school program to get ready for, a Christmas party to buy a gag gift for, a youth event to plan, or some other Christmas gathering that will come later that day (and the next day) that has filled my calendar and leads me to relish those still moments in the glow of my Christmas tree.

But this year, as we are all experiencing, it is different.

There are no Christmas parties or events that fill my calendar.

My mind and heart are not filled with social events or distracted by the typical Christmas revelry.

But do you know what I am finding? My heart still loves, and needs, those moments sitting still in the glow of my Christmas tree. Because even with a less full December calendar, I can still be so distracted that I miss the true, real meaning of Christmas. I can still miss all God has for me in those still moments with Him if I don't purposefully seek Him.

Wendy & I love the still moments in the presence of the Lord. In fact, it was a lot of our heart behind starting the {BE}GATHERING. We just love getting in the presence of the Lord and basking in His love, truth, and presence. But we have both found that we have to purposefully seek those moments with Him. We have to take time to still our hearts and our minds if we are going to fully hear from and experience Him.

Over the next 5 days, we would like to invite you to participate with us in a 5-day devotional journey through Scripture to prepare your heart for Christmas. We have written a brief Christmas devotion called Experiencing Christmas that will lead you through the Christmas story in a way that has you pause on the real experiences of the people who first experienced Jesus. Our hearts' desire is for you to experience Jesus in a new and powerful way, much like the people who first experienced Jesus over two thousand years ago.

If you would like a file version of the devotional that you can print out and write on, please just email us at rachel.piferi@afterthemiracle.com. Otherwise, you can read the devotional here each morning and complete it in a journal of your own.

Also, please know we will have a Facebook live on Thursday, December 17th at 7pm on Rachel's and Wendy's facebook pages. We would love to have you join us for a special Christmas Facebook live.

We pray you have a wonderful Christmas this year. Despite all of the challenges that 2020 brought, we all have much to celebrate. And so much joy to experience this Christmas season.

Please see the Introduction and Day One of the Experiencing Christmas devotional below. And please know we are praying for all women who do this 5-day journey with us. That you will feel the awe, truth, and majesty of Christmas...



EXPERIENCING CHRISTMAS: INTRODUCTION

If we are not careful, hardships, life stressors, pandemics. or other circumstances of life (good and bad) can consume us. They can consume our minds, our hearts, and our activities and then rob us of the fullness of life that God intends for us to live. And they can distract us from the larger story of love, hope, peace, and redemption that we are living as believers of Jesus. Even in years like 2020, we are invited by God to live the full, abundant story of Jesus and His redemption of us. Even when things are not exactly as we would like or disruptions in "normal" are all around us, we can live joyfully. This year and this Christmas, we are full of hope and joy because we live in the truth that the Messiah has come, our sins are forgiven, and we have a promise from God that we will live perfectly with Him one day.

Over the next five days, we want you to experience the fullness of Christmas and the fullness of what the Christmas story represents: that the promised Messiah has come and God has made a way for us to be whole, complete, and with Him in Heaven one day. All throughout the Christmas story, the truth of God's redemption plan is told, and His love, peace, and hope can be found.

But you have to take time to see it.

So, for 5 days, you are going to read accounts of real people and the very real ways they experienced Jesus through the Christmas story (and for a couple, through other experiences with Jesus). Before you read each day, ask the Lord to show you the fullness of the Christmas narrative and to really show you the hope, love, peace, and redemption of God that is all throughout each person's experience of that very first Christmas.

In this week of study, our desire is for you to be reminded of the love, hope, peace, and redemption that comes through Jesus and for you to experience Christmas in a new, fresh way.

And as you read the accounts of those who experienced Jesus at the original Christmas, our desire is for you also to experience Jesus.


EXPERIENCING CHRISTMAS: DAY ONE

Please read the following Scriptures:

Luke 1:26-56
John 2:1-12
John 19:25-27

After reading and reflecting on the above Scriptures, please answer the following questions:

How did Mary experience Jesus? What do you think she was thinking and feeling as the mother of Jesus at both His birth and throughout His life?

As you read these verses, what impacts you most? How do these verses about Mary's experiences help you experience Jesus and the hope, love, peace, and redemption He brings?


Memorize this verse today:

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
~Isaiah 7:14



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