Pastor and author Mel Lawrenz is interrupting his weekly How to Live the Bible series to focus our attention on the wonder of the Incarnation for the Advent season. This week, here’s a Christmas blessing for personal or church use (click here for a printable PDF version; permission granted to reproduce in full form). Christ has come!
Be sure to sign up for the free daily email devotional Christmas Joy. Many people do these 25 readings every year as a rhythm of reflecting on the wonder, the power, and the joy of the coming of Jesus the Christ. Each brief daily reading takes a word from the biblical text associated with the coming of Christ.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. — Psalm 139:1-3
Only God knows the future, and, more importantly, is the caretaker and Lord of the future. In Christian faith there is a bedrock truth that enables believers to move into the future with assurance: providence. The God of the Bible is above all reality, encompassing in his vision and embracing in his power our past, present, and future. God purchases no calendars, he keeps no schedule on a smartphone, he doesn’t develop project charts. He is never surprised by what happens, but is alternately pleased and displeased by what does happen. God talks us toward a good future, pointing us toward a life goal that no human being would have conceived. The good path is always just the next few steps in the direction of the good end.
Lord God, as I think about the year ahead I do have hope, but I admit I have some fears as well. I am carrying into the new year some problems from the past year. I also know that it is always possible that unexpected things might happen.
And so I throw myself on your mercy, dear God. In you I take refuge. I am glad that I can entrust the upcoming year to you, and to entrust my very self to you. Purify my heart, O Lord. Teach me your ways. Help me to make good, right, and healthy choices.
I also entrust my loved ones to you. I know how much they need your care. Please protect and guide them.
And, dear God, we pray for peace in our troubled world. We ask you to judge what is evil and to protect the innocent.
We take comfort in your words, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)
Make my life new again.
In Christ’s Name,
- How to Live the Bible — A Prayer for the Christmas Season
- How to Live the Bible — Christmas Joy
- How to Live the Bible — JESUS
- How to Live the Bible — Everlasting Father
Get Christmas Joy–A Devotional by Mel Lawrenz
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Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, including How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.