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1.6 Devotions from the Book of Ephesians

When is the last time you got in trouble with your parents? At one point or another, we’ve all been there. Our punishments may look like losing our phone or screen time or even being grounded from an event we were looking forward to. At the time we were punished, it may have seemed like the end of the world, right?

If you sit back and think honestly, you realize that you got what you deserved. You deserved the punishment because you were disrespectful, or you didn’t do your chores, or you just disobeyed. You messed up and had to face the consequences. As Christians, we mess up every day. We want what we want so we say something ugly or hurtful. We make a bad choice, think a bad thought, or do the wrong thing. In reality, we all deserve to be punished for the things we do wrong.

Thankfully, God did not leave us this way. He provided an amazing gift — Jesus! We have been reciting Ephesians 2: 4-10, so we know that Jesus came because of God’s great love. We know that even when we were dead in our trespasses — even when we were messing up, making mistakes, and choosing wrong, His love provided a gift to make us alive together with Christ. We are forgiven for all the mess-ups and mistakes we make. Now, this is something to celebrate — God’s greatest gift — Jesus!

As we prepare for Christmas, what traditions do you have to celebrate the coming Messiah? The Advent season has officially begun as we eagerly await the celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Savior. Maybe your family or church lights a candle each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas or maybe you have a daily calendar countdown to Christmas. Here’s a special Advent poem to help you prepare for the birth of Jesus.

“The Manger of My Heart” By Renee Swope

This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart. Fill me with Your presence from the very start. As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given, Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven. The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever. You came as a baby born in a manger. Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree, Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me. Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth, When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth. Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night. And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.” “Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field. Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield. Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call. Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all. Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice. Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise. Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush. In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush. This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart. Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part. Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day. Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.

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1.16 Devotions from the Book of Ephesians

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