Christmas

This devotional is written by Bethany Johnson. Bethany is no longer working with us so this is her last EWM.

Jeremiah 23:3-6

3 "I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the Lord.
5 "The days are coming," declares the Lord,
    "when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

Reflection

When I first read these verses, three themes jumped out to me – one of comfort, one of hope and one of justice.

Comfort

In verses 3 and 4 God is calling his people back to himself, no matter how far they have gone. It's comforting to know that he never leaves us behind and he will watch over us. I also find it extraordinary that he has been doing the same thing over and over again for hundreds of years.

Hope

Jesus! I love how the Bible is constantly pointing towards Jesus. Verse 5 and 6 do just that. Words used to describe the coming King are righteous, wise, just, right, saviour. That’s a king that I want to worship.

Justice

'He'll make sure of justice and keep people united'

This is the stand-out verse to me (taken from the Message version). I have a massive heart for social justice – and luckily we have a king with an even bigger heart for justice. I often find myself overwhelmed by the challenging situations that people are living in around the world and at home. Just the other night, I walked past a begging man on the street who was crying. I felt completely helpless in the moment – I arrived home and wept, crying out to God.  I asked Jesus to draw close to the man and be his comforter.

I recently watched one of the cutely-romantic Christmas films which have come out in force on Netflix this year. Most of the films have blurred into one, but one has stood out to me. Within the film, there is a Christmas initiative called 'Christmas 365'. This initiative promotes kindness and generosity, but Sara (the leading lady) questions as to why this can’t be done all year round. Why do people step up around Christmas-time? As simple as it may seem, this really struck a chord with me.

The Christmas season is often described as the season of giving and generosity, but my challenge to you is that we extend this into a lifelong season of giving and generosity. Jesus was constantly seeking justice for the poor, the lost, the broken – shouldn't we be doing the same?
Everyone will do this differently. It could be serving at a homeless meal, spending time with women in a trafficking safe-house or financially supporting charities who work on the poverty frontline. There is a way for everyone to get involved.

So my prayer for us this Christmas season, is that we will all find our place in seeking justice. If you serve at a homeless meal this Christmas, why not serve every month for the next year?
Building relationships like this is building the kingdom of God. Let’s be a part of it, not just this Christmas season.

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