O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. / Cast out our sin and enter in. Be born in us today! / We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell. / O come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel.

from “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks (1868)

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The person whose help is the God of Jacob— the person whose hope rests on the Lord their God— is truly happy! God: the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, God: who is faithful forever, who gives justice to people who are oppressed, who gives bread to people who are starving! The Lord: who frees prisoners. The Lord: who makes the blind see. The Lord: who straightens up those who are bent low. The Lord: who loves the righteous. The Lord: who protects immigrants, who helps orphans and widows, but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn!

Psalm 146:5-9

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The ancient psalmist’s words, if reimagined today, might not be too different from the modern Christmas classic, “Grown-Up Christmas List.” Whimsically, the song pleads for the end of wars, unity among all people, forgiveness, justice, and overwhelming love. These elements seem to match what God wanted to gift creation in sending Jesus to earth.

I wonder, then, if God would carry the words of the psalmist around rather than a catalog of pieces to purchase. Empty checkboxes would surely remain beside the listed items, “feeding those who are hungry” and “bringing justice for those who are oppressed.”

God wants us to take part in completing those tasks, crossing off that next to-do. We weren’t created to simply manufacture these things for others, though. By relying on God for our true joy, in some ways, we also gift others the opportunity to help God complete that list. The reverse is true, too.

If God were to give you joy this Christmas season, how might it happen? And, maybe more important, whom might God use to deliver that joy to you?

Daniel Potter

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My hands are open to receive your joy, God, and to help give it to those around me. Bring your list closer to completion through me and remind me to reach for you as I wait for the true gift, your Son. I long for the joy the Messiah will bring. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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Jesus is coming.

Our Savior is nigh.

Yearn for that gift,

and welcome its light.


Daniel Potter

Daniel Potter is the Minister of Youth at First Baptist Church of Columbus, GA. Daniel is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. In his free time, Daniel loves spending time with his wife, throwing a frisbee for his dog, cheering on the Tar Heels, and everything musical.

Divinium Mysterium

Nathan Hanson

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