Advent is a time we can refresh our amazement in the prophecy and arrival of Jesus the Messiah, growing closer to Him as we proclaim our longing for His coming again. We pray this devotional will challenge and remind you of the hope, joy, preparation, and love that we experience as we anticipate Christ’s birth.
From our childhoods, the version of Christmas in our heads has likely been a little softer and fluffier than the reality. We too easily forget that Advent is the anticipation of the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known. The only perfect Father sending His only perfect Son to be destroyed. We forget that the baby at the center of that sweet nativity scene was born to die.
Read Genesis 22:1-14
Take a second to remember that this story is true. Abraham was a real man who loved his son. What feelings or confusion do you think he might have felt in this encounter with God?
Read Genesis 22:2
This is a significant moment in Abraham’s life. He is called to do something miraculous and painful and huge, but it seems it will come at a great cost.
Get as quiet as you can before God and ask Him to reveal to you the answers to two questions:
First, is there anything He is asking you to sacrifice for Him?
Second, is there anything you wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice for Him? Be honest with God. How does this verse make you feel about Him? Does it seem cruel? Impossible?
Read Genesis 22:2 one last time, but this time, consider the gift of Christmas: Jesus, God’s only begotten and beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased, offered as a sacrifice for you.
The comfort of Christmas is that God is with us in the huge and significant things He asks us to do. God will never ask you to walk anywhere He hasn’t walked already. Christ is the evidence.
It can be terrifying to walk forward in what God has asked you to do, not knowing if He’s going to provide a way that doesn’t cost us what we want most. Now just imagine how it must have felt for our heavenly Father to send Jesus, knowing that there would be no ram, no other provision to keep Him from having to sacrifice His own Son.
Christmas is a time of great joy, but it is also a moment of somber significance for the Father. It’s the moment He sent His Son to suffer, giving Him up to be the provision for you.
Think again about what God might be asking you to sacrifice for Him. Take comfort in knowing that His tone is tender, His heart compassionate. He has walked a harder path than He will ever ask of you. He knows that sacrifice is painful and obedience is costly. When your head believes that but your heart hurts at the thought or your hands and feet hesitate to obey, ask Him for the strength to sacrifice. He promises to provide it.
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
This Jumpstart Advent series was written and produced by Park Community Church in Chicago, IL.