A 15-Day Christmas Devotional for an Untraditional Year

Dr. Rob Rienow

Family Vision Podcast

Gifts for Jesus

(Parents, use the words in bold to help you lead this devotional and allow your kids time to interact and share.)

Christmas is just a few days away! Next to Easter, our celebration of Jesus’s birthday is the most important holiday of the year. Before we talk about Jesus’s birthday, let’s talk about our birthdays. I want to ask everyone a question. What is one of your favorite birthday memories?

• Give your family a chance to share.

Now, what would you say is the best birthday present you have ever received? Perhaps it is still here in the house. If you want to get it and show it to us you can.

• Again, give your family a chance to share their stories and display their gifts.

One more birthday question: How would you feel if you had a huge birthday party with your family and friends and everyone brought presents? But when the time came for the gifts, rather than give the presents to you, everyone at the party gave their gifts to each other! Every person at the party received a gift except for you. How would that make you feel?

• Give your family a chance to share.

Read Matthew 2:1–12 and talk about these questions as a family.

  1. Scholars believe that the magi traveled for nearly two years in order to find Jesus. What does that tell us about their desire to worship him?

    They saw the miraculous star in the heavens and believed that God had sent a king to earth. They likely knew the prophecy from Numbers 24:17 (check it out!). It was a very long and certainly difficult journey, but they were committed to bringing their gifts and worshipping the king.
  2. When the magi finally came to the house where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived, what did they do?

    They bowed down and worshipped Jesus. They presented him with three gifts: gold, incense, and myrrh.
  3. The three gifts the magi gave to Jesus were very important. Do you know what each meant?

    • The gift of gold was a symbol that Jesus was the King of kings and Lord of lords.

    • The gift of incense was a little unusual. Incense was used in the temple as a symbol of the prayers of the people being offered to God. In giving incense to Jesus, the magi were treating Jesus as God.

    • The gift of myrrh was symbolic. Myrrh was used as a spice to help preserve bodies after they were buried. The gift of myrrh reminds us that Jesus was born to die. He had come to earth to take our sins and die in our place on the cross.

Let’s think about Christmas, Jesus’s birthday. Unfortunately, Christmas can quickly turn into a celebration where everyone receives gifts except for the birthday boy, Jesus. Giving gifts to each other is a wonderful thing. It is a great way to celebrate and show our love for each other. But what can we do this Christmas to make sure that we give our best gifts and best attention to Jesus?

• Give your family a chance to share.

What could we give to Jesus for his birthday this year?

This is an important time for you to lead a discussion with your family to help each person prepare a special gift for Jesus this Christmas. Invite the Holy Spirit to lead your discussion as you share ideas with one another. Here are some ideas to consider:

• Give a generous donation to a person or family who is in need.

• Give Jesus an area of your life that you have kept from him. For example, you might give Jesus your pride or anger. You might give him your life at your job or at school and ask him to use you there for his glory.

• Give Jesus a commitment of your time in the year ahead—perhaps time each morning in prayer.

• Choose to use words that build people up rather than tear them down.

• Trust Jesus with an area of your life that is filled with worry and anxiety.

• Do something kind for a brother or sister.

• Obey without complaining when mom or dad gives me an instruction.

Close your family devotion time in prayer, asking God to help you worship Jesus and give your best to him on his birthday and in the new year ahead.

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