Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, December 14

By Barry Christmas, in honor of Congregational Care

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!

Read: James 1:17 NKJV

Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

It will soon be that much-anticipated time of the year when we celebrate Christmas with family and friends. Can you sense the excitement already in the air? People are busy as can be, scurrying around, shopping until they “drop,” all in preparation for the “Big Day”. We are tasked with finding the perfect gift for that someone special in our lives and fulfilling the wishes of all our little ones. It’s a tall order, but we absolutely must be up to the task, or Christmas this year will be a bust!

Even under all of this pressure, some people miraculously transform into “nicer than usual” individuals! You might even overhear someone say … “Oh, excuse me, I did not mean to jump in line ahead of you … I suppose it’s a force of habit on my part … please, go ahead of me.” A lot of us tend to make a special effort this time of year to be more kind, polite, and forgiving.  If only we could behave this way all of the time! Actually, we can … IF we have Jesus in our hearts.

At some point in our lives, we all need to look honestly at ourselves and ask, “What can I do to be a better, more loving and accepting person? How can I transform my attitudes and prejudices against certain people, and instead, look at them through the eyes of Jesus?” It’s so easy. Just ask Jesus to come into your heart and transform you into a loving, kind, and accepting human being. If you do, this could be the very best Christmas gift you’ll ever receive, for it’s a gift that keeps on giving for the rest of your life … and for all eternity! This year I hope you invite Jesus into your heart and have your very best Christmas ever.


We pray for … 

  • A couple as they begin second trimester of pregnancy and for the wife as she looks for new employment
  • All of the Angel Tree families and children all across Knoxville who are struggling with so much (we gave gifts to 48 children!)
  • Success for friends who have endured infertility and finally have placement for their one viable embryo scheduled in the next couple of weeks. Thank you!
  • A friend, already disabled as a result of a plethora of medical and financial challenges, now suffers from gastroparesis and is unable to digest solid foods. Pray that his dietary changes can provide needed nutrients and strength.
  • A friend who was just diagnosed with Lymphoma
  • A dear son-in-law in the healing of his cancer
  • One who is depressed this season
  • One who is dealing with feelings of bitterness as Alzheimer’s takes its toll on parents; one who has the disease and one who is caregiver. Feelings of sadness that grandchild will not know his grandfather.
  • A mother who has started dialysis; prayers for daughter who is primary caregiver
  • A husband who has lung cancer
  • For caregivers who are watching their spouse or parent or loved one struggle with dementia, Parkinsons, or other chronic illnesses
  • Friends who are going through difficult times
  • For those who are struggling as the holidays approach
  • For a beloved aunt who is nearing her final days; and for the cousin who has cared so lovingly for her
  • A brother who has pneumonia and elevated liver enzymes
  • A daughter in the death of her father; prayers of thanksgiving for peace of mind and spirit
  • Peace throughout the world … safety in every school. Prayers for every teacher, student, and support staff. Praying for competent young people to take on leadership roles.

We offer prayers of thanksgiving for …

  • A member’s brother who is doing so much better and is home from hospital!
  • Those who are recovering after surgery
  • The students who are learning music, art, and dance, here at the Community School of the Arts

Dear Jesus, please come into my heart and transform my behavior and ways of thinking to be a reflection of you. Help me to pour out your love onto all those I meet, so they too may know of  your everlasting love for them. Amen.

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