Devotional # 65. Luke 1:46-47; Isaiah 1:18 (Special Christmas Devotional)

Devotional # 65. 12/16/13. Christmas, Part 2: Singing Joyfully to Our Savior Who is White As Snow.

This week’s Reading: Luke 1:46-47; Isaiah 1:18

Introduction: As mentioned last week, we’ve paused our studies in Acts through the Christmas season in order to give proper glory to the birth of Jesus. I asked my kids what the first things that came to their mind was when I said “Christmas.” My son, Logan, said, “our Savior was born” and my daughter, Lilah, said “in some places snow comes down.” So I have taken those two themes and considered what the Bible says about these.

Regarding SAVIOR, our first Scripture will be from Luke 1:46-47. Mary is speaking to her cousin Elizabeth, “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my SAVIOR.”

Notice her soul (the mind and emotions*) magnifies (declares great) Jesus her master. And her spirit (the eternal part of her being**) finds JOY in God (the Son, Jesus) her SAVIOR (the only One who can save her from her sins).

*Source 1; **Source 2

 

I am reminded of the beautiful songs we sing at Christmas time. One of them was written by Isaac Watts in the 1600’s called “Joy to the World.” Did you know he wrote it from Psalm 98? (Source 3).

Here is Psalm 98:1-9:

1 “Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. 2 The LORD has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. 3 He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. 5 Sing to the LORD with the harp, With the harp and the sound of a psalm, 6 With trumpets and the sound of a horn; Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King. 7 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it; 8 Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together 9 before the LORD, For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity.”

 

And the lyrics to Joy to the World:

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the SAVIOR reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sound in joy

No more let sin and sorrow grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of his love
And wonders of his love
And wonders and wonders of his love

 

Regarding SNOW:

Although there are many songs and hymns that may come to your mind, my first thought was the song we sing at our church by Kristian Stanfill called “Jesus Paid It All”  (watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brVIlXlJRkQ). It has the lyric “Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.” I think of Mark 9:3 (“His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them”) when Jesus was transfigured. Do you remember when we studied that in Devotional # 24? Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection are consistently tied together in my mind. So if I’m celebrating His birth I can’t help but reflect on his death and when celebrating His resurrection I am mindful of His birth. But we can also dwell on the fact that all of this was foretold. One such place is in Isaiah.

Listen to what Isaiah 1:18 says,

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as SNOW;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”

 

So the fact that God came to earth in the form of a helpless baby shouldn’t distract us or dilute the fact that He came to wash us white as SNOW. And only the most potent and awesome Power in the universe could forgive us for the sins that we committed against Him, and Him alone.

Conclusion: For the next 8 days until Christmas… as you see signs of Christmas, as you hear songs, as you smell food cooking and baking, as you give gifts, think of the SAVIOR who came as a baby. It is easy to hate the commercialism, to dislike the stress, to disagree with going broke but you are responsible for your heart. How you receive the SAVIOR and share Him with others is what matters. Reminding yourself that He was set-apart, sinless, but chose to join us, and made us white as SNOW will change your attitude. So when a Christian Christmas song comes on in the grocery store you can witness to your neighbor about what the song means. When someone says how stressed out they are or how much weight they gained, use that time to share with them why Jesus came to the earth. Next week we’ll talk about the origins of Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and giving presents. They may surprise even the life-long Christians!!

 

References:

Source 1: soul: psyche, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5590&t=KJV

Source 2: spirit: pneuma, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4151&t=KJV

Source 3: Curtis, Lang & Peterson, The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History, p. 131

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