(Thornwell Home children acting out Christmas story)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.
12/24- John 1:12, 13
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
Calvin Abridged: That we might not stumble at the rejection of Christ, the Evangelist exalts above heaven the godly who believe in him; For he says that by faith they obtain this glory of being reckoned the children of God. “Power” (exousia) means right or claim. It is not that He gives the ability to choose to be a child of God, but God’s grace takes the unclean and profane who have been condemned to perpetual blame, lying in the darkness of death, and gives them the honor and privilege to become God’s children. This highlights God’s grace. Having been engrafted into Him, He now adopts us. An incredible change took place when “out of stones” Christ “raised up children of God” (Mt. 3:9; Col. 1:12). 13- “born not of natural descent” refers to those who think they have inherited Christ by their family. We inherit Him by the renewal of the Holy Spirit. It is only after we have believed that we began to be children of God. If we examine ourselves, we will find nothing that is worthy of being called a child of God except what Christ has bestowed upon us.
Thought: It is early Christmas Eve morning as I write this. I am reminded as I read these verses and think of Christmas of the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” that says, “Where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in.” The holy child descended to earth when he was born and He descends to us that we might be born again. Christmas means we have a change to be adopted- to be children of God. We who were orphans with little hope and little known love, have been taken in by the richest, most blessed person in the universe. While we may be poor now, and life is rough now, the fruits of our adoption- our inheritance, looms before us. Our hope is not in the dirt of the orphanage here (the earth), but in the One who adopts us.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making us your own. Help us to live grateful lives because you came.
Christmas Eve services at Lake Murray Presbyterian tonight: 5:00 (children’s); 7:00 (candlelight and full choirs); 11:00 (candlelight/communion).