Devotional for December 22nd

But I will still be glad because of what the Lord has done. God my Savior fills me with joy.

Habakkuk 3:18

PAUSE: The children of Israel were living in disobedience to God. They had forgotten about God. They had forgotten about the commandments He had given them to keep them safe. God had to send them a message. The people had to leave their homes and live in a foreign land for 70 years. But God promised that He would bring His people out of the foreign land, and God always keeps His promises. The problem was that God knew even when He brought His children out of this separation they would disobey again. The separation was not enough to give His children a desire to do the right thing. They always wanted to do the wrong thing. It was like the people had hearts made of stone. Their hearts were hard towards doing right for God. He knew He would have to send a very special present that could soften His children’s hearts and give them a desire to obey Him. This gift was Jesus.

You see, even though the Children of Israel had hardened hearts and disobeyed, God could never stop loving them. He didn’t want to be separated from His children, but the desire to disobey God separates us from Him. That’s why He promised to send Jesus. Jesus changes people’s hearts to obey God and makes it so they never have to be disconnected from God ever again. We are God’ children like the Children of Israel, and God promised the present of Jesus for us too. God’s messengers, the prophets, knew that this was true about God and never stopped telling God’ people He loved them. That is why Habakkuk, one of God’s messengers, stood on his watchtower and waited for God. Even though the Children of Israel were separated from God and it seemed like it would never end, Habakkuk knew it would because God always keeps His promises. So, remember, just like we have to wait for Christmas to get here, it will come just like it did so many years ago with the best gift ever– Jesus!

PRAY:  God, thank You that You will never stop loving me. Thank You for promising Jesus who takes my hard heart and makes it soft so that I can have joy in my heart.

FAMILY ACTIVITY: Wrap an empty box to look like a Christmas present. Ask your children, “What do you need to do to receive this gift?” Help them come to the conclusion “to take it.” Share how God’s gift is Jesus, and the way they receive Him is just like the gift. It is by faith. They don’t have to earn it.