Today’s Monday Motivation reflections about Christmas remind us that Christmas is an invitation for everyone.

Lisa Samra shares ‘Joy to the World’ here:

Every Christmas we decorate our home with nativity scenes from around the world. We have a German nativity pyramid, a manger scene fashioned out of olive wood from Bethlehem, and a brightly colored Mexican folk version. Our family favorite is a whimsical entry from Africa. Instead of the more traditional sheep and camels, a hippopotamus gazes contently at the baby Jesus.

The unique cultural perspective brought to life in these nativity scenes warms my heart as I ponder each beautiful reminder that Jesus’ birth was not just for one nation or culture. It’s good news for the whole earth, a reason for people from every country and ethnicity to rejoice.

The little baby depicted in each of our nativity scenes revealed this truth of God’s heart for the entire world. As John wrote in relation to Christ’s conversation with an inquisitive Pharisee named Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The gift of Jesus is good news for everyone. No matter where on earth you call home, Jesus’ birth is God’s offer of love and peace to you. And all who find new life in Christ, “from every tribe and language and people and nation” will one day celebrate God’s glory forever and ever (Revelation 5:9).

Amy Boucher Pye shares ‘Welcomed Into God’s Family’

We were singles and couples and a family with children, together celebrating Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. The conversation flowed, the food tasted scrumptious, and we even had fun washing up the dishes. Between courses we read through the Christmas story from Luke’s gospel, marveling over the greatest gift of the season, Jesus. Because of Christ, we who previously had been a ragtag bunch of strangers were now sisters and brothers.

Jesus always welcomed the stranger. Even as at His birth God beckoned the shepherds to come and worship the newborn baby: “The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (LUKE 2:11). Curious, the humble shepherds hurried Bethlehem. And after they saw the baby, they went and spread the good news about Jesus the Savior, and “all who to heard the shepherds’ story were astonished” (v.18).

As Messiah, Jesus the baby grew up to be the Man who died on the cross, the perfect sacrifice who wipes away the sins of those who follow Him. Jesus, the Son who is God, humbled Himself to be born in a stable and then willingly sacrificed His life for us.

When we bow before Him in worship, even as the shepherds did as they glorified and praised God for all they had seen and heard (v. 20), He makes us part of His family. Jesus welcomes us into His worldwide community of those God uses to spread His love and light.

Name the top two desserts people eat a lot of at Christmastime:
1- cookies (54 votes)
2- pie (12)
3- pudding (7)
4- fruitcake (6)
5- fudge (5)
6- candy/candy canes (4)
7- gingerbread (2)

Congratulations to Danelle of Fredericktown, who guessed correctly and wins the $5 gift card to Everlasting Cup!

Amy from Howard
Jeff from Mount Vernon

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Jonathon