As soon as I started reading Matthew McCarrick’s “12 Days of Christmas: A Christmas Devotional,” I knew it was going to be a different type of Christmas reading plan.
The basics are there: Christmas is about hope, sacrifice, Jesus’ love for the world — and angels. 🙂
It’s also about sorrow, suffering, loss, evil, fear, dragons (yep, you heard that right) and other things that we tend to gloss over this time of year.
McCarrick pulls from stories and perspectives we may not have thought about in relation to the Christmas narrative, and I’m always eager to read familiar stories from a different angle.
Take Joseph, for instance.
How did this young man feel when he was called to stay with Mary, his betrothed, who was now pregnant — but not by him?
What thoughts might have run through his mind as he pondered the wisdom of obeying God — not only the angel’s instruction to take Mary as his wife but, later, to escape to Egypt with his young family because Herod was out to kill the Christ child?
“As I read this story, it struck me that Joseph was afraid,” McCarrick writes.
But Joseph obeyed, despite his fear. And we can take comfort in that because we won’t escape life without fear.
And that’s OK.
In fact, McCarrick devotes a couple of chapters to Joseph and his faithfulness, despite what must have been challenging emotions.
McCarrick also talks about the Year of Jubilee that’s described in the Bible. I’ve always loved the idea of Jubilee (in fact, I’ve given that name to a character in the book I’m writing) — but I’ve never seen the Year of Jubilee mentioned in a Christmas devotional.
When you think of RED at Christmastime, is a red dragon the first thing that comes to mind?
I didn’t think so.
McCarrick — continuing to think outside the stable — refers to the red dragon in Revelation 12:1-7.
“The battle for Christmas is a battle for your soul,” McCarrick writes.
This is where he challenges the reader to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, our rescuer and deliverer.
Yes, this is a different Christmas devotional. It’s full of messy stories, hardship and sorrow — but, ultimately, those stories are grounded in HOPE.
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