Links Daily Devotional

Birthday Gift

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (Galatians 4:4-5, TNIV)

If you have you played golf or otherwise met with your buddies in recent days, you’ve probably heard many of them wish you Happy Holidays! I like to reply, “Merry Christmas!” Then sometimes I ask, “What are you and your family planning to do for Christmas?” Sometimes building friendships is as simple as cultivating conversations like this.

Some of our Links Fellowships this month have been asking these questions around the table: What does Christmas mean to you? What are some of your family traditions during Christmas? Whom would you like to share the good news of Jesus with this Christmas? They’re good questions for getting folks talking, and they lead to a key climax: our willingness to exalt the One the day is meant to honor.

Today’s passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians reminds me that it was God’s perfect timing to send his son Jesus Christ into the world. Mary, a virgin, gave birth during a time when the world needed hope.

But consider Joseph, Mary’s betrothed husband, for a moment. He loved Mary with all of his heart, but then he found her to be pregnant. Can you imagine what was going through his worldly mind? Then the angel came to him—again in God’s great timing—and gave him the security he needed. This child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. There was no need to fear; he could take Mary as his wife. With such assurance, Joseph was faithful to God, knowing that God had a perfect plan.

Do you get fearful? Do you doubt whether God knows your struggles and pain? Just like Joseph, we need to look and hear God’s voice. In His perfect timing, He is faithful and will give us the strength we need.

As you celebrate Christmas this year and run into friends at parties and shops and at the club, maybe some of these people are on your of those with whom you want to share the good news of Jesus. They need to know that in the same way God calmed Mary’s fears, and Joseph’s, and yours, He will step into their uncertain hours and fulfill His promise of lasting peace. In fact, as Paul told the Galatians, Jesus came not only to give us peace, but to make us sons and daughters of peace, adopted into His family. Sometimes the power of that possibility—that we might live forever alongside the One who was born in Bethlehem—is forgotten among even the best traditions of the Christmas season. It’s our job to talk and laugh and love in a way that shows that Jesus not only lived, but that He lives!

We love to buy a birthday cake in our home each Christmas and sing Happy Birthday to our brother, the King, who is Jesus. But we never lose sight of the fact that the truest birthday gift of this day was given by Him, when He chose to be Immanuel, God among us. And this is what we desire to share with as many friends as possible.

Dereck Wong

December 13, 2011

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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday through Friday and is archived by passage and topic at