by Angie Thomas

May the Lord keep you very close to His heart during this very busy and so often very distracting time of year. May we all have eyes to see and ears to hear God’s still small voice directing and leading us as we walk through this Christmas season where Satan wants desperately for us to be consumed with worry and stress and not be able to enjoy the wonder and anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth!

We have had the privilege of learning so much this semester about Jesus and His words of blessing and wisdom to us in the Beatitudes.  But you know, we would not have Jesus’ powerful teaching recorded in Matthew 5 had Jesus not chosen to humble himself and leave the comfort, glory, and beauty of heaven to come to our broken and dirty world.

May we all follow Christ’s example of humility this Christmas.  Even though we might experience verbal persecution for our faith among family and friends who do not understand or hope and trust in Christ, I pray we will respond in love and grace and that the light of Christ will shine through us…that we will be a City on a Hill.

May we meditate daily on Christ’s example in Philippians 2.  Take a moment to read this passage and let its truths sink deeply into your heart!

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:1-11)

May the Lord keep you near and give you the grace to continue to spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer! There is no greater joy and delight!

Much Love and Merry Christmas,


by Susan Sampson

The pressure is off!  These words of grace minister to my soul.  This is the truth I am taking to heart.  It’s not all on us…it was all on Him!  He took all our sin and shame and guilt upon himself.  Jesus is our burden bearer.  “It is finished,” was His victory cry.  I don’t need to perform or produce.  He doesn’t want me to and I can’t.  He is the Light of the world.  And He dwells in us.  We are the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.

Therefore I want to unplug from the world and plug into Christ!  By God’s grace I want to humbly turn from the pride of self and the love of the world and follow the light and life of my Savior.  This is the way of Christ.  The path of life.  Poor in spirit, mourning our sin, meekly trusting the Lord, hungering for His righteousness, being filled with the Spirit, becoming peacemakers, rejoicing to share in his sufferings of persecution.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:7-11)

Lord, by your grace, please make this true of us.  It is with you alone that all things are possible. Thank you for your promise that the good work you began in us you will carry on to completion (Phil. 1:6)! In Jesus’ name, Amen.