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.
Christmas is a season of great joy for some and great sorrow for others. We celebrate gifts that God has given us, the blessings we have received, and, at least for some of us, we also remember the things God has taken from us.
Make a list of the ways you have felt blessed this year.
Make a list of the things that have felt the least like blessing this year.
Read Luke 1:46-56
Why does Mary rejoice? What does she say people will call her? Why is it important that we understand Jesus did everything needed to save us? Who is His mercy for? How did God show His strength? Why does God exalt people? Who does He fill and who does He send away? Are you noticing a theme?
Blessed. It means favored by God. It means happy in God. So what are the indicators that we are favored by God? What are the things that will make us blissfully happy in Him? While we think God is blessing us most when we see ourselves exalted and when the world applauds us, God’s worldview is different from the world’s.
Read Luke 6:20-26
Who are the blessed? Why are these things they receive blessings? Who are those who receive woe? And why are these things they receive cursed?
Read Isaiah 53:1-12
Jesus was indeed blessed, but what were the indicators of that in His life? What are the things you see prophesied about Jesus that the world would call curses rather than blessings?
This is the God who is with you, the one who also has faced pain and hardship. For the joy of blessing set before Him, He moved forward in faithful obedience and endured the cross.
Christmas is written into our calendars as an opportunity to remember that the world and God see things very differently. The greatest blessing ever given arrived not in a palace, but in a stable. The greatest blessing the world would ever know was given to a teenage girl to carry in her womb.
Look back at the things you wrote at the top of the page. Think back to the areas of suffering you identified at the start of this guide.
Using Luke 6:20-26 as a guide, what are some of the upside-down blessings in your life you might have missed? Spend some time magnifying the Lord for the ways He has blessed you. Write your praises below.
This Jumpstart Advent series was written and produced by Park Community Church in Chicago, IL.