So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
This is the fourth in a series of reflections and prayers for Advent.
We were privileged to be at a carol service at Westminster Abbey last year. It was a very beautiful and moving service. As I was staring up into the lofty places absorbing the wonderful music and words of the carols it stuck me again how amazing it is that God LOVES us so much that he became one of us, to live and die for us…sinners!
God’s way of loving always gives everything, sacrifices ‘self’ for another.
My natural way of loving finds it hard to let my husband have the last mince pie!
The only way I can truly love God’s way is to prayerfully stay close to HIM. To repent as soon as the Spirit prompts me that I’ve strayed and to ask HIM to fill me afresh with HIS Spirit…with the essence of who Jesus is: our God of LOVE.
Reflect on love together: How do you love God’s way?
Prayer (as a couple)
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your wonderful gift of Jesus. We are truly in awe of your way of loving us so much that you were willing to come and be one of us, to live and die for us. Thank you for this most wonderful gift of LOVE. Please help us this Christmas to experience your love for us in a fresh way and to love one another, our families and others in the way you do, through the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Prayer (for others)
Heavenly Father, we pray for … and … Help them to know your deep and special love for them. Please fill them with that LOVE to overflowing so that it spills out to each other, into their marriage and to their family. We pray that your love will transform them this Christmas through the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NIV