Advent Tree Family Devotions – December 7

Twelve Pointed Star

Luke 6:12‑16; Philippians 2:12‑18

The twelve pointed star represents the twelve apostles of Jesus.

Simon Peter was married, owned a house in Capernaum, and ran a fishing business with his brother Andrew on the Sea of Galilee. He, along with his business partners James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were the disciples closest to Jesus. Peter is mentioned more times than any other of the twelve, wrote the Gospel of Mark (with John Mark) and first and second Peter, and is generally considered the leader of the apostles.

James and John, who Jesus nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” for their zeal, were with Peter at the Transfiguration and close to Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane on His final night. James became the first disciple to be martyred, and John, the “one who Jesus loved”, led the church at Ephesus, was exiled to Patmos, and wrote the books of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and Revelation.

Philip of Bethsaida was a disciple of John who came to Jesus and brought Nathaniel (possibly also called Bartholomew), whom Jesus identified as meditating under a fig tree, as well. Matthew was a tax collector from Capernaum who wrote the first gospel. Thomas followed Jesus with intensity and loyalty, but refused to believe in the Resurrection until he saw for himself. Less is known of James, son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot*, and Judas the son of James. Judas Iscariot, another Zealot, and one who never grasped Jesus’ nature or mission, was His betrayer.

Jesus personally picked these twelve ordinary men to deliver His message throughout the world. Each failed miserably at times to obey in faith, as when Peter denied the Lord and when they all fled at Jesus’ arrest. Each failed miserably at times to even understand Jesus’ message, as when James and John wanted to call fire to consume the Samaritans (Luke 9:54), and Philip said “show us the Father…”, even though he should have known that seeing Jesus was seeing the Father (John 14:8). Yet on the whole, with the power of the Spirit working in the hearts of men to reveal the Gospel message, they prevailed. Christianity, which started out as 120 people in 30 AD (Acts 1:15), grew to over 100,000 in the Roman empire by AD 100, only 70 years later. Today, about 2 billion people worldwide proclaim the name of Christ. No other religion touches so many lives.

As Christians, we can remember the men represented in the 12 pointed star. We can take comfort because if God can accomplish His perfect will through them, He can do the same in us, no matter our background and past. Just as the moon reflects light, we have been chosen by Jesus to shine in a corrupt and broken world, reflecting His light to those around us.

In the hustle and bustle of this special time of year, don’t neglect the feeding of your light which enables it to shine forth with the story of our Savior. Let these times of devotion provide discipline and strength for the times in which it is most difficult to shine for Him.

*the Zealots were a nationalistic political group wishing to overthrow Roman rule

O Holy Night

O holy night! the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope – the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine! O night when Christ was born!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the Wise Men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need – to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Enjoy a light-hearted Christian Christmas romance, A Cup of Crisp at Christmas.

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