Ruth DeCamp

Advent Devotions

Christmas Day

Luke 2:1-20 (ESV)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Advent Devotions

Week Four: Our Sure Hope

Sunday (December 19, 2021)

Today we light the fourth candle of Advent–the Candle of Hope. Our hope is being fulfilled. The circle of candles is completely lit. For weeks we have been planning and preparing for Christmas week. Anticipation is high.

With the birth of Jesus the hope of the ages was fulfilled. The salvation that God had promised was here. God Himself– Immanuel–had come to live among us.       

But that was only the beginning. We have a promise for our day, too. Just before His crucifixion, Jesus said, . . . I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:3).

The last words of Jesus recorded in Scripture repeat this promise.

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end….
Surely I am coming soon…     Revelation 22:12-13, 20

Just as God fulfilled His promises of old, Jesus will fulfill His promise to come again. As we are busy getting ready to welcome Jesus at His birth, let us also be preparing to welcome Jesus at His coronation as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Prayer    Even so, come Lord Jesus.


As we meditate on the birth of Jesus, let us also rejoice in the hope that can be ours when we are born anew through Christ Jesus.

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…    1 Peter 1:3

 New birth in Christ gives us a living hope. Ephesians 2:12 tells us that those without God are without hope. Hope is essential to life. It enables us to go on when life is at its most difficult.
Romans 5:5 tells us that God’s love gives us a hope which will not disappoint us. In life there are many times when hope goes unfulfilled. When you go to a ball game, you have hope that your team will win. But, as the game progresses and you get farther and farther behind, that hope dies.
God gives us a living hope–a hope that will not die–a hope that will never let us down or disappoint us.
In the Bible, hope is the expectation of a sure thing, a firm conviction; not just wishful thinking. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Heb. 6:19-NIV). Therefore, let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Heb. 10:23-NIV).

    I remember my affliction and my wandering . . .
    I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
    Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
        for his compassions never fail.
    They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
    I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
        therefore I will wait for him.”      Lamentations 3:19-24 (NIV)

Prayer     Thank you, Jesus, for giving us a living hope.


For many, Christmas is the most wonderful, hopeful time of year; but, for some, it is the most difficult. When you are suffering  it is hard to enter into the joy of the season. You may even feel abandoned by God.
God does not send suffering into our lives to destroy us; rather, He desires to refine us and make us like pure gold (1 Peter 1:7).

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose….to be conformed to the image of his Son…   Romans 8:28, 29

God’s good purpose for our lives is that we grow to be like Jesus. He is preparing us for an eternity in His presence!

For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison… 2 Corinthians 4:17

Suffering is meant to give us hope–not destroy it.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

Let this sure promise of God be your hope.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11

Prayer     Thank you Lord, for giving us hope even in our darkest hours.


In his gospel, Luke tells us of two people who were waiting with eager anticipation for the coming of the Messiah, the Christ.

One was Simeon. God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Simeon was in the temple when Mary and Joseph came to have their newborn son circumcised. When he saw the baby Jesus, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying:

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32).

Luke also tells us of the prophetess Anna. She was now very old and had been a widow since she was a young woman. Anna spent her life in the temple worshiping, fasting, and praying. When she saw the baby Jesus she was overcome with joy and recognized Him as the one who would bring salvation (Luke 2:36-38).

These were difficult times for Jewish people. Rome ruled with an iron grip. The only hope these people had was that Messiah would come and deliver them. But it had been many long years since the promises had been given. Most had quit looking for Him. Yet, here were two people who believed God and were privileged to see their hope fulfilled.

Let us, too, live in eager anticipation of the coming of Christ.

Prayer     Dear God, please give us faith to keep believing even when the wait is long.


Christmas Eve is almost here! The weeks  of Advent have been busy times of preparation for this special day. One day it will be the eve of our meeting the Lord face to face. This is our great hope! Will you be ready?

For the grace of God . . . teaches us . . . to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.   Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)

As believers, we are the bride of Christ. No bride rushes off to her wedding dirty and bedraggled from a busy day of activity. Rather, with meticulous care she adorns herself as beautifully as possible. Should we do less as we prepare to meet our Lord?

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out


For our Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory,
for the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”–

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”    Revelation 19:6-9  

 Prayer    Lord, may we be ready and eagerly awaiting that day when we will see You face to face.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has come–that most silent, holy night. Tonight we light all the candles on the Advent wreath. We light the candles of Promise, Light, Love, and Hope. Then, in the center, we light the Christ Candle.           

Christ is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. He is the light of the whole world and the light for our lives. Christ is the love of God made visible to us. He is the hope of the world.

Without Christ at the center of our lives we are lost and out of balance. When the excitement of Christmas is over and nothing is left but piles of torn paper, empty boxes and dirty dishes, what, then, will be our hope, our joy?

When Christ indwells us, when He is the center of our heart’s affections, then Christmas is truly only the beginning. His light and love can shine out from our lives all year long. The hope of His coming can fill all our days with meaning and joy.

Paul tells us of a wonderful mystery–Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27b).

Jesus came the first Christmas to dwell among us and one day we will dwell with him in heaven forever. If we repent of our sins and believe in Him, He will dwell in our hearts by His Spirit and the joy of His presence can be ours all year long!

…Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.    Luke 2:10, 11 (KJV)

Prayer     Dear Lord Jesus, please dwell in the very center of my life this Christmas and all year long.

Advent Devotions

Week Three: The Love of God

Sunday (December 12, 2021)

The third Sunday of Advent is already here! This week we light the Candle of Love. Love–perhaps that is what we think of first when we think of Christmas and the great gift God gave us in sending His Son. As John Walvoord’s song goes:

    Love was when God became a man
    Locked in time and space without rank or place;
    Love was God–born of Jewish kin,
    Just a carpenter with some fishermen.

    Love was when Jesus walked in history
    Lovingly He brought a new life that’s free;
    Love was God nailed to bleed and die
    To reach and love one such as I.

    Love was when God became a man
    Down where I could see love that reached to me . . .

God could have left us all to suffer the consequences of our rebellion, but He didn’t. That is what Christmas is all about–the love of God which compelled Him to send His Son to free us from our sin.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your life for us.


As we light the candles of Advent, let us think again of the love of God. We learn what true love is by looking at God’s example.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  1 John 4:10

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

God didn’t choose Israel to be His covenant people because they were the best people on earth. In fact, He called them a stiff-necked and stubborn people. Likewise, He didn’t choose to pour out His love upon us because we were the best people He could find.

God just loves because He is love. He loves everyone, even those who do not appreciate the great gift He has given.   

If we went to a lot of effort and expense to get someone a very special Christmas gift and they just tossed it aside with indifference, we would be very hurt.

Let us not treat God’s great gift of love as a trivial trinket. Instead, may our hearts overflow with thankfulness to Him.

Prayer     We are overwhelmed, dear God, that You should love us enough to give Your precious Son for our salvation. Thank You.


God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is part of God’s nature. His love is unconditional. It is not dependent on what we do or how we behave. God’s love is always there for us.

When God showed Himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai, He passed in front of Moses proclaiming:  

The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…   Exodus 34:6, 7

Over and over throughout history God has demonstrated His love. Yet, as any good parent, verse 7 goes on to say God will punish those who do wrong.
God’s discipline is always exercised in love, always done toward the end that we might repent and turn to Him and find forgiveness.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
…he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:6, 10, 11

This Advent let us respond in gratefulness to God’s discipline in our lives. Let us repent of our resentments and open our hearts more fully to the love of God.

Prayer     Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps 51:10, KJV).


While it is true that God’s love is not dependent on our response, it is also true that God longs for us to love Him, too.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus has a special message for seven different churches. In His message to the church in Ephesus He praises them for their good deeds, hard work and perseverance; but then with sadness adds, But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first (Rev. 2:4).

When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus answered:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30

God has done so much for us. He has made us. He keeps us day by day. He gave His Son to rescue us from an eternity of deserved punishment. How can we fail to love Him in return?

Yet how are we to love God? What could we ever do for Him?

1 John 5:3 says, For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

After Jesus returned to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, to come alongside us, to comfort and instruct us in the way of the Lord  (John 14).

Loving obedience should flow naturally out of a heart indwelt by the Spirit of God.

Prayer     Please give me a heart which obeys out of love.


God stands ready to pour out His blessings on those who lovingly obey Him.
God laid down rules to be obeyed, but they are rules borne out of love. He made us and knows what will keep us safe and make us truly happy. He calls His Law a covenant of love.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.     Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)

God goes on to promise great blessing to those who obey His covenant. God will bless those who obey, but He desires that we obey out of love–not out of fear or duty or for reward.

Our love for God should show itself in love for others. Jesus said the world has a right to judge whether or not we are Christians by the love we demonstrate for one another.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:34, 35

Paul commends the church in Thessalonica for its labor prompted by love (1 Thess. 1:3 NIV). We please the heart of God when we joyfully serve Him from a heart overflowing with love and gratitude.

May all the good things we do this Christmas be prompted by our love for Jesus.

Prayer     Dear Jesus, please let my giving be done out of love for You.


God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son. We are called to show our love for Him by becoming living sacrifices, pouring ourselves out for others.   

 Is not this the fast that I choose:   
        to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free
        and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
        and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
        and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
        and your healing shall spring up speedily
your righteousness shall go before you;
        the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
        you shall cry, and he will say: ‘Here I am.’
Isaiah 58:6-9a 

Ezekiel was a prophet who preached to the Israelites while they were in exile. Listen to what God told him about his sermons.
My people . . . sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.         Ezekiel 33:31, 32  (NIV)

As we hear God’s beautiful love song again this Christmas, let us not just listen, but respond with the gift of our life.

Prayer     Lord, please help me to pour myself out for others.


In the busyness of Christmas have you lost sight of the purpose of your activity? Others need your love more than anything else you could give.

Paul writes about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians. He tells us that we can have all kinds of gifts, but if we don’t exercise them lovingly, they are worthless. Our good deeds just become a lot of irritating noise. Paul then describes how true love–God’s kind of love–behaves and urges us to demonstrate that kind of love to one another.

    Love is very patient and kind,
        never jealous or envious,
        never boastful or proud,
        never haughty or selfish or rude.
    Love does not demand its own way.
    It is not irritable or touchy.
    It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice
        when others do it wrong.
    It is never glad about injustice,
        but rejoices whenever truth wins out.
    If you love someone you will be loyal to him
        no matter what the cost.
    You will always believe in him,
        and always stand your ground in defending him.
    All the special gifts and powers from God will someday
        come to an end, but love goes on forever.                                             
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (Living Bible)

**All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Advent Devotions

Week Two: The Light Is Come

Sunday (December 5, 2021)

At Christmas we are busy giving and receiving gifts. We do our best to choose gifts our loved ones will enjoy, but James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

The Father of lights–what an unusual way to describe God, yet it is a common theme of Scripture. The Bible tells us that God is light (1 John 1:5) and that He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16). The Psalmist tells us that God covers himself with light as with a garment (Ps. 104:2) and that those who walk in the light of His face are blessed (Ps. 89:15).

The Messiah is described as being a star that would come out of Jacob (Num. 24:17). At the birth of Jesus the wise men said, We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him (Mt. 2:2). At the very close of the Book of Revelation Jesus says, I am . . . the bright Morning Star (Rev. 22:16). 

God’s presence is often associated with great brightness. God is not only light, but in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:15). In God there is nothing impure, nothing to dim His goodness.         

In Jesus we have all the light, all the purity, of God Himself, come into the world to live among us–come into the world to show us the Father.   

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.   Matthew 4:16  (NIV)     

Prayer     Thank you, God, for sending the Light of Your presence into this dark world.    


The candles of Advent remind us of the light God’s presence brings into our life.         

When the people of Israel were wandering in the desert, God’s presence was manifest by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night–light which could be seen.            

During this time in the desert God gave Moses very specific directions for building a place of worship. The layout of the tabernacle demonstrated how a sinful people were to approach a holy God.       

As one left the outer court of the tabernacle and parted the heavy curtains to enter the Holy Place, he found the room brightly lit by a golden candlestick.

The rabbis interpreted this light as a symbol of Israel and taught that their mission was to be a light to the world until Messiah came; then, He would be a light to all nations. Imagine what they thought when Jesus stood among them and said, I am the light of the world (John 8:12).

When Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the temple to be consecrated to God, He was taken in the arms of a righteous old man named Simeon. The Spirit of God was on Simeon and as he gazed at the baby he praised God, saying,

Lord, you are now letting your servant depart in peace according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation, that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2:29-32

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for coming into the world as the light to show us the way to the Father. 


Do you sometimes feel unable to do what God asks of you?

When the tabernacle was built God commanded Moses to keep the candlestick burning at all times. The children of Israel were not always faithful in doing this. Sometimes God’s presence seemed far removed from them, as when they were ruled by foreign powers.

One such time was in 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered Jerusalem and set up idols in the temple. For three years the Maccabees (the Jewish army) fought to regain the temple. After their victory the Jews went in to cleanse the temple and restore it as a place of worship. However, they found only enough oil there to light the candlestick for one day. It would take a week to get more. According to God’s Law it should burn continually. What to do? But where God requires, He always provides a way. The meager supply of oil miraculously lasted a full eight days until more could be obtained.

Today the Jewish people still celebrate this miracle of God’s provision. They call this celebration Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah lasts for eight days–one for each day the oil miraculously burned. Each day a new candle is lit on the menorah until all eight are burning brightly.

As we kindle the Candle of Light, let us remember that God always provides what we need in order to accomplish His will.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:19

Prayer     Please give us the faith, Lord, truly to believe that You will supply our every need.`


Just before the birth of Jesus, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit and sang a song of praise and prophecy. Zechariah concluded his song by proclaiming that the Lord was coming to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.    (Luke 1:79).

Oh, how this world needs a light to guide our feet into the path of peace!

Nearly 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that one day a Child would be born who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus is that Prince of Peace Who lights our path and guides us into the way of peace and truth. Without the light of God, we stumble around in confusion. We set off in one direction, seeking answers to our questions and solutions to our problems. We grope around in the darkness until we hit a brick wall, then turn and stumble down another path which looks inviting and holds promise–only to find it also ends in emptiness and disillusionment.        

As you light the Advent candles this year and as you see the beautiful lights of Christmas, remember that you need not stumble around in darkness, for Jesus said,

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.   John 8:12b

Prayer     We ask you, dear Lord, to light our path and show us Your best way for our lives.


 When all else fails
. . . read the directions.

Oh, how much pain we could spare ourselves by studying God’s directions for our life!

Jesus said, as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 9:5). For a time He lived among us, showing us the way to live, guiding us to the Father.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Even though the Word no longer dwells among us in the form of a man, we still have God’s Word to light our path and guide us through life.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.  Psalm 19:7-8

How blessed we are! Not only did God send Jesus to show us the way, He also gave us His Word to teach us His ways. We don’t need to wander in darkness and confusion.

Come. . . let us walk in the light of the Lord.  Isaiah 2:5

Prayer     Thank You, God, for giving us a guide for life instead of leaving us to stumble through on our own.


Have you ever been alone in a dark closet?

That is what our lives are like without Jesus. This Christmas He comes offering you a light, but until you take it and turn it on, you will continue to be in darkness.

Jesus said,
…Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light…I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.   John 12:35-36, 46

Put your trust in God while His Spirit is calling you–before the darkness overtakes you. This Christmas accept Christ’s offer of salvation and let the light of God fill your life.

When we pass from darkness into light we become God’s dear children. We also receive a special calling.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  1 Peter 2:9

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for the great salvation which You offer to us. Come into my heart this Christmas and live within me always.


As we light the Advent candles, we are again reminded that Jesus is the light of the world–the One Who came to bring the light of God’s love to all people. As His followers, Jesus tells us that we are also to be light in the world. 

…Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Mt. 5:16

Ephesians 2:8, 9 make it clear that we are saved by God’s grace alone:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Yet, the very next verse goes on to say:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We are God’s workmanship, His love poem, to a hurting world. Our lives are to reflect His light.

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Ephesians 5:8-10

As God’s love and light fill our hearts, let us spread that love to those around us. This Christmas, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

Prayer     Please teach me, Lord, how You would have me show Your light to others this Christmas.

*Scripture references are in the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Advent Devotions 2021

Introduction: Advent means “coming.”

It is that special time of the year when we remember Christ’s first coming into the world and look forward to the time when He will come again. It is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord.

Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Special activities can help us to focus our thoughts on the true meaning of Christmas. The nightly lighting of the Advent candles has become a very special time for our family.

Advent candles vary in color and name in different traditions. In our home we use a circle of four purple candles (symbolizing royalty) in an evergreen wreath. In the center is the white Christ candle, which is taller than the others. Each night of the first week, one purple candle is lit at the beginning of our devotional time. Two are lit each night the second week, and so on. On Christmas Eve the white Christ candle is also lit.

I wrote these devotions for my family but share them with you in the hope that they will help to make this a Christ-centered Christmas in your heart and home.  

Week One: The Promise Fulfilled

Sunday (November 28, 2021)

It’s here–that wonderful time of the year called Christmas! Today we light the first candle of Advent, the Candle of Promise. As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, let us remember that it is because of God’s promises that we truly celebrate. God promised to send a Savior, and He did. God promises to be with us today, and He is. God promises to be with us in the future, and He will be.

As you light the Candle of Promise this Advent, remember that God always keeps His Word. His promises are sure. He can be trusted.

God is not man, that he should lie,
        or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
        Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Numbers 23:19   

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8

Prayer    Thank You, dear Lord, for always keeping Your Word. Thank You for sending Your Son. Please keep our hearts and minds fixed on You this Advent season.


Are there people or situations which you’ve been praying about for a long time? Do you yearn to see God working?

As you hear the Christmas story this Advent, notice how many times the Gospels say,
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet. Matthew 1:22

The entire Old Testament is woven with the promise of redemption, the promise of the Messiah–the One Who would come and make all things right.

In Jesus every promise was fulfilled–every shadow made reality.

God had preserved a righteous seed of Abraham, a son of David, through centuries of time until every detail was in place.

Through many dark years Israel must have felt abandoned by God, and yet, all the while He was there, working behind the scenes until . . . when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son . . . (Galatians 4:4, KJV).

So it is with us. Remember this Advent that God is working– even when you may not feel it. In the fullness of time, it will come together, for God makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Prayer    We are so grateful, dear Lord, that You love us and never forget us, but are always working on our behalf. Give us the patience and faith to wait on You–trusting You to fulfill every promise.


Do you have fears about the future?

The book of Joshua opens with the Israelites perched on the banks of the Jordan River preparing to enter the Promised Land. They must have been more than a little afraid; after all, this land had been described as being inhabited by giants living in large and heavily fortified cities (Numbers 13:27-33). As they wait to cross the Jordan, God comes to Joshua with reassurance of His presence and of ultimate victory:

Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6, 9

God was true to His Word. In spite of overwhelming odds, Israel was victorious.

Near the end of his life, after God had given Israel rest from her enemies, Joshua called the people together and reminded them of the goodness of the Lord.

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. Joshua 23:14

God also says to us, “Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. The future may look full of giants, but I will be with you. I will take care of you. I promise.”

Prayer     Thank You, Lord, that we need not fear the future for You will always be with us.


Is it possible to be free from fear?

Over and over, as Joshua was preparing to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, God told him not to be afraid, but to be strong and courageous.

This is a continual theme of Scripture. Countless times the Bible tells us not to fret, not to fear, not to worry.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

We also hear these words many times as we read the Christmas story. Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, and the shepherds were all told not to be afraid.

 …an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20, 21

When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds who were caring for their flocks. Naturally, they were terrified.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:10, 11

God has promised His presence and power to those who love Him. When we trust this promise we can have freedom from our fears. That is, indeed, good news of great joy!

Prayer     Thank You, Lord, for the peace which You offer through Christ Jesus.


When the children of Israel were at rest in the Promised Land, Joshua reminded them that their victory had come from God.

For the LORD has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, no man has been able to stand before you to this day. One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you   Joshua 23:9,10

Many times people make promises which they do not keep. Sometimes they are truly sincere but lack the ability to keep their word. Sometimes they change their mind or find the cost is more than they are willing to pay.

Our God has the power to keep His Word. He is God Almighty. He is the God above all gods. If He is for us who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? Our God also has all the resources of heaven and earth at His disposal. He is able to do what He says He will.

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein Psalm 24:1

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

God promised to send a Savior and He kept His Word at the cost of His only Son.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”     John 3:16

Prayer     Thank You, God, for the wonderful gift of salvation which You purchased for us with Your own precious Son.


What is the best gift you could receive this Christmas? What is the best promise anyone could make you?

When the angel of the Lord first appeared to Joseph, he was told not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife:
.…that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.  Matthew 1:20, 21             

Jesus is a very special name. It is the name above all names. It is the name to which, one day, every knee will bow (Phil. 2:9,10).

Jesus is the New Testament Greek form of the Old Testament Hebrew name Joshua which means The LORD Saves. The very name of Jesus carries with it God’s promise of salvation!

The Bible says we are all sinners who deserve God’s wrath (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Yet, in His mercy, God has promised all those who believe in Him the privilege of being His children.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

When we repent and believe, we become beloved children of the King of Kings–forgiven, freed from guilt, possessors of a new life in a new family, and recipients of a new inheritance, eternal life. (1 Peter 1:3,4).

Could there be a greater gift than God’s promise of salvation to all who put their trust in Christ Jesus?

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for the great gift of salvation which You offer freely to anyone who will accept it.


One of the most repeated promises of Scripture is God’s promise always to be with us. Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of that promise when He came and lived among us.   

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  Matthew 1:22, 23 [Isaiah 7:14]

 In the Old and New Testaments, alike, God promised never to leave us–never to desert us. (Deuteronomy. 31:6; Hebrews 13:5)

Jesus’ last words to His disciples reassured them that even though He was leaving them in the flesh He would still be with them always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

We have God’s promise that He will always be with us. He has been with us in the past. He is with us today. He will be with us all the days of our life, and He will be with us for all eternity.

Ezekiel gives us a detailed description of the New Jerusalem and closes with these words, And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.  (Ezekiel 48:35)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:3, 4

Prayer     Dear Lord, please help us to live daily in the peace of Your presence.