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.
Imagine how this season felt for Mary and Joseph.
As if becoming the parents of the Messiah wasn’t stressful enough, they faced unimaginable opposition. King Herod and the governing authorities were troubled by the wise men’s recognition of a new king and devoted innumerable resources to killing Jesus before He was even born.
If you face pain during this Christmas season, remember that you are not alone. All of God’s people, just like Mary and Joseph, face opposition. Also remember that, like of God’s people, your victory is guaranteed in Jesus Christ.
Read 1 Samuel 17
The people of Israel had a real enemy, and they were very afraid. Goliath wanted to take them out, and he was a fierce warrior. Surely they did not expect that this shepherd boy would become the champion that God would use to deliver victory!
Compare what the Israelites saw when they looked at Goliath in verses 4-8 to what David saw in verse 26. Why was David so confident that God would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine?
Read 1 Samuel 17 again
What did David wear to fight the Philistine? What weapons did he take? How many of his five stones did he end up using?
Read Ephesians 6:10-18
While it is easy to focus on the opposition you can see, do not forget that, like the Israelites, you are engaged in a serious battle with a real enemy you cannot see.
Who does this passage say our battle is against? What are the weapons and armor this passage calls us to take up against our foes?
You, like David, are an unlikely warrior in this war. You have no strength against this kind of enemy. Whose strength does Ephesians 6 say you are to fight with?
If not for Christmas, where would your hope come from for life’s battles? At Christmas we celebrate because through Christmas we are promised victory. We celebrate not just the gift of a champion who could defeat sin and the enemy once and for all, but the gift of a champion who is with us in the daily fight. Jesus our champion is in our hearts. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God gives us His own strength to persevere through whatever pain we face in life.
Consider your present significant trials again, remembering that you are in a bigger battle. What specific ways can you practice putting on the armor described in Ephesians 6?
This Jumpstart Advent series was written and produced by Park Community Church in Chicago, IL.