2022 Advent Devotion: Beacons of Christ’s LIGHT

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“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV)

Have you ever received an extravagant and unexpected gift that left you speechless? Or have you been with someone when they received such a gift?

When my grandson was almost three years old, we went to Hilton Head, SC, for a week at the beach. It was his first time to the ocean. During the drive down, he expressed excitement and anticipation. We immediately went to the beach when we arrived at our rental home. When he saw the ocean, he ran around in circles for several minutes, joyously laughing and celebrating this wonderful gift. Yet he had no words. He had received and experienced what for him was an indescribable gift.

Today we celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus, the incarnation – God becoming flesh and blood  – a gift St. Paul calls indescribable. Think for a moment of how beyond human imagination this day became: a baby born of a virgin and destined to be the Savior of the world, the promised Messiah. The eyewitnesses  –  Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, government officials, and religious leaders – each tried to understand, describe, and respond. So God sent Angels to proclaim the good news, calm fears, warn, and foretell. 

Years later, Matthew and Luke attempted to capture how those involved reacted to the miracle birth of Jesus in a Bethlehem stable where God the Son became “Immanuel, God with us.” I know these Gospel accounts are very familiar to you, but this year, I ask that you read them slowly, experiencing all the emotions, surprise, and wonder. Ponder in your heart as Mary did. Worship with the shepherds and the wise men. Obey as Joseph did. Celebrate the indescribable gift and share the joy that fills your heart with everyone you encounter.

When John, through the Holy Spirit, set about to write his birth account, he wrote,The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:9-12, NIV)

What a great joy to celebrate the “true light” we received from Him, becoming children of God. And as we give thanks for our salvation, let us light up our world with the Good News of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior. Let us be beacons of the light of Christ as privileged sons and daughters of the King. 

Yes, Jesus is an indescribable gift. Because of the “true light” of His birth, life, death, and resurrection, we enjoy His fellowship and blessings. As disciples, He commissioned us to share the indescribable gift of the Gospel with the world’s militaries. Be a blessing by being a beacon.

Prayers for the week ahead:

Day 1 – For family: 

O Jesus, You have called us with a holy calling. We desire to be worthy. You have redeemed us by Your blood. You have taken us into fellowship with Yourself. You are not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. You have made us heirs of God, joint heirs with You. You have given us eternal life! Make us indeed worthy of this exalted honor. Please give us the grace to trust and obey. Amen

Dear Heavenly Father, we are very thankful for your Son’s birth, and we celebrate with great joy. May we be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the Three Kings, and the peace of the Christ child. Amen.

Day 2 – For friends and neighbors:

Abba Father, we desire to be blessings to our friends and neighbors, and ask You for grace to reach the world around us. Fill us with Your Spirit, and then Your true light shall shine in us. May the joy of Jesus be in our hearts. Please help us to be comforters to those in sorrow. May we be enabled to help others in their time of need. Please help us to be beacons of light and winners of souls.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Day 3 – For those at work:

Father God, As we meditate on the beautiful story of the birth of your Son, we pray that this day may be for us a day of growth in all godliness — in whatever things are true, whatever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely. May we be more gentle, thoughtful, patient, kindly, and unselfish to those with whom we work. We need Your help at every step. Amen

Day 4 – For those in the military:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the indescribable gift of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for loving all who serve worldwide: Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Guardians, police, para-military, and their families. We also thank You for all the mercies we now enjoy, the good things of Your providence, and the better things of Your grace and salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Day 5 – For our nation’s leaders:

Father, we desire to make this a season of loving ministry in the name of Jesus. Fill us with Your Spirit so that wherever we go, our faces may shine, a beacon reflecting your light. Fill our nation’s leaders with Your love, Your peace, and Your compassion. Enable them to be a blessing to everyone they meet. Fill them with kindness, gentleness, and love. And please give us words of encouragement and comfort. Amen.

Devotion by General Jeff Oster, USMC (Ret)

Jeff Oster served in the U. S. Marine Corps for 35 years and later in a civilian capacity in Iraq in 2004. He is in his 20th year as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Military Ministry. From 2011 until May 2014, he also had the privilege of serving as the Interim Executive Director. Jeff and Chris have been married for 53 years and have two daughters and three grandchildren.