December 19th

Story

The angel explains the shepherds will find the Savior, a baby, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

Activity

The big day is almost here! To prepare, turn up the Christmas music, assign chores, and clean the house from top to bottom.

Adult

Jesus teaches his followers saying, “when people reject you or persecute you for following me, rejoice, be very glad, because your reward is great in heaven.” We see in Jesus’ teaching that true joy can survive the harshest of circumstances because it is not dependent on circumstances. It is instead dependent on God and his promises for his people’s eternal future.

Read

Matthew 5:11-12, Acts 13:50-52, Hebrews 12:1-3

Matthew 5:11-12

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Acts 13:50-52

50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.


Hebrews 12:1-3

1 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.

Reflect

  • According to these passages, how can joy be sustained even in painful and threatening circumstances?
  • Spend time reviewing Hebrews 12:1-3. Jesus endured great pain because he could see a greater joy beyond his suffering. In this passage, followers of Jesus are called to endure hardship with their sights set on Jesus; he becomes the joy set before them. What do you think it practically means to “fix your eyes on Jesus?”
  • Turn your reflections into a prayer from your heart to God.