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Christmas-Card Perfect

Today's Devotional

Even his own brothers did not believe in him. John 7:5

The Barker family Christmas video was perfect. Three robe-clad shepherds (the family’s young sons) huddled around a fire in a grassy field. Suddenly an angel descended from the hilltop—their big sister, looking resplendent, except for the pink high-top sneakers. As the soundtrack swelled, the shepherds stared skyward in amazement. A trek across a field led them to a real baby—their infant brother in a modern barn. Big sister now played the role of Mary.

Then came the “bonus features,” when their dad let us peek behind the scenes. Whiny kids complained, “I’m cold.” “I have to go to the bathroom right now!” “Can we go home?” “Guys, pay attention,” said their mom more than once. Reality was far from Christmas-card perfect.

It’s easy to view the original Christmas story through the lens of a well-edited final cut. But Jesus’ life was anything but smooth. A jealous Herod tried to kill Him in infancy (Matthew 2:13). Mary and Joseph misunderstood Him (Luke 2:41–50). The world hated Him (John 7:7). For a time, “even his own brothers did not believe in him” (v. 5). His mission led to a grisly death. He did it all to honor His Father and rescue us.

The Barkers’ video ended with these words of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6). That’s a reality we can live with—forever.

How do you try to appear to be perfect? How can you better acknowledge your need for Jesus’ perfect strength?

Father, thank You for sending Your Son to provide a way for me to be reconciled to You forever.


The “Festival of Tabernacles” (John 7:2), also called Sukkoth or the Feast of Ingathering/Feast of Booths, is one of Israel’s fall feasts. Its purpose was to remind the Israelites of the time their ancestors had spent in “booths” (tents or shelters) during the forty years of wilderness wanderings that followed the exodus from Egypt. Sukkoth was one of the three feasts (along with Passover and Firstfruits) prescribed as “pilgrimage feasts”—when observing Jews traveled to a communal celebration as a nation. In Exodus 23:14–17, God listed these three feasts as the times that the people of Israel were to come and stand before Him, which meant a journey to the temple in Jerusalem once it had been built. Israel celebrated a total of seven annual feasts—four in the spring and three in the fall—but only the three feasts listed in Exodus 23 carried the expectation of pilgrimage (see Deuteronomy 16:16; 2 Chronicles 8:13).

By |2022-12-25T01:33:11-05:00December 25th, 2022|
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