Dec 18, 2016

Devotion for 18 December - Christmas Cheer

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin for today.  Today is the fourth Advent sermon where we explore “Christmas” as an adjective instead of a noun. The prayer and an idea for the devotion conclusion came from the LSB,  page 2124.
EPISTLE READING Hebrews 12:1-3 (English Standard Version)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Devotion: Christmas Cheer
When I mention “Christmas cheer”, some folks think of a liquid libation of some sort. If I say just “cheer” you might think of what a cheer leader does: shouts of encouragement, praise, and joy. The kind of “Christmas Cheer” we are talking about today is cheerfulness, optimism, or confidence. The text today uses a foot race as a metaphor for life. Our existence here is more like a marathon than a sprint and the writer urges us to have endurance to make it as a Christian all the way to the finish. We do have cheerleaders: the “cloud of witnesses” are the saints who have gone before us and are praying and cheering us on. Our joy this time of year should be about celebrating the birth of our Savior and the knowledge that He would give His life that we might live eternally. Have you noticed how so many of our uplifting Christmas songs have these words:  Happy, Jolly, Merry, Joy, Wonderful?  This time of year can cause us to be overwhelmed by the stress of earthly events. If this happens can we focus on the fact that Jesus, through His grace has blessed us and in Him our race is already won! Let’s crank up the carols and try for some Christmas Cheer.
We pray: Lord give me the endurance to do Your will.  Amen