The Worship of Christmas

The Worship of Christmas

“Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.” // Matthew 2:2

Christmas Day. It’s almost here. All the decorations, parties, and gift-wrapping leads up to this one day. December 25th. But 2,000 years ago, this holy day was something so much more. The day when the long-awaited promise of a Savior of God’s people came. The day the baby was born in a lowly manger. The day that would begin the most beautiful, radiacal, redemption plan known to mankind.

This baby in a manger was born for you and me. He was born in a world full of darkness, choas, and sin. This baby was born so that we may have peace and life for all eternity.

This baby was born so He could one day die for all of humanity. To take our sin, take our pain, take our wrath so we could have forgiveness and be set free. This is no ordinary baby. This is no ordinary day. This is Jesus. Born as a child. The One who always was, always is, and always will be. The day our redemption … our hope … came to life.

This Jesus is worthy of every single ounce of our worship. He left His throne, the comforts of heaven that surrounded Him from eternity past to eternity present. He chose to be born to redeem His people, to provide a way for life. This Jesus was born to die for us. This Jesus was born to be raised from the dead. This Jesus was born so that we may have everlasting life.

This Christmas, let the holiness of His birth wash over you. That majesety would become a baby and turn a manger into holy ground. That the King of Kings would humble Himself into the verunablity of a baby. To be raised by human parents, to go to the cross to pay a pentaly no one else in human history could have. A penalty He willing paid.

On this holy night of Jesus’ birth, peace had dawned. Grace became a reality. Hope became a promise fulfilled. A baby was born to die. A baby worthy of all our worship.

This Christmas, let’s worship Jesus. The baby in the manger, the Savior on the cross, the King seated on His throne, the One who is coming back for His church. This Christmas, and always, He is worthy. ❤

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas with your loved ones. May the peace, joy, and hope of the season fill you all week long.

Until Next Time,

Stephanie Jacqueline 💜

@stephanie_jacqu

P.S.! Check out these Christmas songs that’ll stir your heart in worship this Christmas.

The Joy of Christmas

The Joy of Christmas

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.'” // Luke 2:9-11

Hey guys! Happy Sunday!

The Christmas season is so busy, isn’t it? Shopping, baking, traffic … the list could go on and on! And sometimes in the busyness of the Christmas season, we lose arguably one the biggest reasons we celebrate Christmas: The JOY that comes from the Reason for the Christmas season.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus Christ, they told the shepherds not to be afraid, that they were bringing them “good news that will cause great joy for all the people”. 

When I read Luke 2:9-11 last year, something really stuck out to me. When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus Christ, they told the shepherds not to be afraid, that they were bringing them “good news that will cause great joy for all the people”. In today’s day and age, joy is a rarity. It’s similar to the peace that we talked about a couple weeks ago. Something that seems so elusive in our culture in 2018. But when Jesus was born, the angels said His coming would bring great joy to all the people.

The birth of Jesus isn’t something to just study, or even to just believe. The birth of Jesus is something to be celebrated, something that should overwhelm us with joy. We were lost in our sin, dead and on a road to eternal separation from God in hell. But because Jesus was born, everything has changed. Because Jesus was born to save us, we can now have forgiveness for our sins and eternal life in Christ (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9). Because of Jesus’ birth, we can now have reconciliation with God our Father, the exact relationship we were born to have (2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Colossians 1:16). We can now have a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We can now have a peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). We can now have the Maker of Heaven and Earth living inside us, securing us for the day Jesus returns (Ephesians 1:13). And we can now have access to all of God’s amazing and precious promises (2 Corinthians 1:20). And this is all because Jesus came as a baby, born to be our Savior.

Jesus Himself told us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Jesus came so that our life could one day be all it was meant to be. Because we live in a fallen world, that’ll never happen in this life. But we do have the promise and hope that it’ll happen in the life to come (Revelation 21:5). Because of Jesus’ birth, we have every reason to be joyful. We were dead and now we’re alive (Luke 15:24). We were once slaves and now we’re children of God (Galatians 4:3-7). We were headed for hell and now we’re headed for an eternity more unimaginable than anything in this world (John 14:1-6).

So this Christmas, don’t let the presents, traffic, and people drain your joy. Let your joy come from the best present of all … Jesus Christ.

So this Christmas, don’t let the presents, traffic, and people drain your joy. Let your joy come from the best present of all … Jesus Christ.

And I believe if we let our joy come from spending time in His word and prayer, letting His joy brim over and spill out into our lives and others, someday we might just change the world. ❤

Until Next Time,

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@stephanie_jacqu

P.S.! As I mentioned in last week’s post, I went to a Christmas concert featuring Jason Gray, Stars Go Dim, and Jilian Linklater (And it was amazing, BTW. All the artists were so great at what they did and just great people in general). Check out a couple of their songs below that’ll be sure to bring some JOY into your Christmas season. Also, I’ve left a couple pictures I took from the concert below for you to see.

P.P.S.!! I put out a special mid-week blog last week (on Tues. Dec 11th). Please check that out if you haven’t read it. It contains a big part of my testimony. See you next week!




The Promise of Christmas

The Promise of Christmas

“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.'” // Luke 1:35-37

Hey all! We’re almost halfway through the month of December and we’re already knee deep into the Christmas season. I’ve noticed the lines at the stores are getting longer, Christmas parades are underway, and before you know it, it’ll be Christmas Day.

Today, I want to continue our series on Christmas. I want to talk about the promise of Christmas. Out of the many things I love about Christmas, this is toward the top of my list. When we talk about Christmas, we’re talking about Jesus being born as a baby in a manger to save the world from their sin. The thing about the baby in the manger is that … this is no ordinary baby born on a whim one night. Instead, this is a miracle child … born of a virgin … in a town his parents didn’t even live in. Everything surrounding the birth of Jesus fulfilled all the prophesies given about Him. And God didn’t overlook one detail in this miracle story. Here are just a few:

  1. Jesus was to be born of the line of David. Jesus’ earthly father (though not conceived by him) was from the line of David. (2 Samuel 7:12-13, Matthew 1:1, Luke 1:32-33)
  2. Jesus was to be born of a virgin. Mary was a virgin, therefore Jesus was conceived without sin and by the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31-25)
  3. Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem. While Joseph and Mary actually lived in Nazareth, they ended up having to travel to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem due to a census being called … just in time for them to arrive in Bethlehem where Mary would give birth to Jesus, just as the prophecy foretold. (Micah 5:2, Luke 2:1-7)

The night Jesus was born, every promise God made … He kept.

What all this means is this: God made promise after promise after promise to His people. A promise that’d He would send a Savior to save His people. And He told them the signs to look for, how He was going to fulfill this promise. And the night Jesus was born, every promise God made … He kept.

A couple weeks ago we talked about how there was a 400 year silent period from God before Jesus came onto the scene. There were 400 years without a prophecy, without a word from God. It might’ve been tempting to think God forgot about His promise of a Savior. But He didn’t. In fact, the whole time He was setting the scene so at the right time Jesus would be born and the world would have a Savior at the best possible time.

What Christmas tells us today is that God doesn’t forget. That not only does He make promises, but that He keeps them. This is great news for us today! Not only did He promise to provide a Savior, He did. Not only did He promise to save us, but through this Savior, He made a way for us to do just that. And it’s through this same Savior that we have many, many more promises that are alive and well today. The promise that God is with us (Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 1:23) is alive and well today. The promise of peace in abundance is ours today (Isaiah 26:3, John 14:27). The promise that God is quick to forgive when we repent is ours today (1 John 1:9). The promise that He will reward our faithfulness is alive and well today (Galatians 6:7-9). The promise that He’ll provide for us is ours today (Matthew 6:25-34). The promise that one day Jesus will come back is our hope today (Revelation 1:7).

Take heart today, friends. God sees you, just like He saw His people over 400 years of silence. God is not slow in keeping His promises, even though that’s what it may look like (2 Peter 3:9). It just means that He’s setting the stage for the most amazing thing ever. Be it a baby born in Bethlehem or the very thing He knows you need. If you have a need, God has a promise for you this Christmas. He gave and delivered the best promise that very first Christmas. And because of that, we know that every single promise He’s made to us in His word will be kept, too.

The promise of Christmas means that not only do we have a Promise Maker, but we have a Promise Keeper.

The promise of Christmas means that not only do we have a Promise Maker, but we have a Promise Keeper. And because of that, someday we might just change the world. ❤

Until next time,

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@stephanie_jacqu

P.S.! I’m going to a Christmas concert tonight with some great Christians artists (maybe I’ll post some pictures in a couple days if you guys are interested). What fun things are you doing or have done this year to celebrate the season? Tweet me or leave a comment below letting me know!

P.P.S.!! I will be a posting a special mid-week post on TUESDAY (Dec. 11). Make sure you check back for that or sign up for email notifications here on my site to get that delivered right to your inbox so you don’t miss it! Also, keep an eye on my Twitter for the announcement it’s posted also!

The Peace of Christmas

The Peace of Christmas

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” // Luke 1:78-79

Hey all! Happy December! We’re officially into the Christmas season, and I still can’t believe it’s the last month of the year already. This year literally flew by!

Maybe this year has been good to you, or maybe it’s been something unlike you ever imagined. Either way, it seems like every time we turn on the news, there’s another story of tragedy, loss, and heartbreak. The word peace seems to be a thing of the past, something so elusive that nobody on planet earth right now could experience it.

Last week we talked about the hope of Christmas. This week I want to talk about the peace of Christmas. Because even though we live in a world of chaos, confusion, and fear, peace is a real thing that we can have. Not because of what is going on all around us, but because Peace is a Person who was born and lives right now, even in the midst of everything going on around us.

We give Jesus a lot of names, but one of the most powerful names we can give Him is the Prince of Peace. Isaiah gave Him this name when He prophesied about Him in Isaiah 9:6 when he said, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

When you read that, how does that make you feel? Jesus, born in a manger to a young women, fully God and yet fully man, is the Prince of Peace. If you believe that Jesus came and lived a perfect life, conquering death on the cross and then rose again for the forgiveness of your sins, then the promise of peace is yours in abundance today.

If you believe that Jesus came and lived a perfect life, conquering death on the cross and then rose again for the forgiveness of your sins, then the promise of peace is yours in abundance today. 

There’s never been a moment out of God’s hands. He’s never once been freaked out by the latest news headline. He’s never once been caught off guard by something that’s happened in the world, or to you. He’s full of peace. It’s who He is. Because of this, here are three things that the Prince of Peace born in the manger can mean for you this Christmas season:

1.Because Jesus was born, we can have peace with God.

We were separated from God because of our sin. Because God is completely righteous and is just (Psalm 89:14), He had to punish sin. So instead of leaving us in a completely helpless state where we’d be separated from Him and punished for our sins forever (Romans 6:23), He sent Jesus to be born, live a perfect life, and then pay the punishment for our sins on the cross. Because of this, anyone who believes in what Jesus did and receives His forgiveness as their own is completely forgiven and has a new life in Christ (Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17). They’re reconciled with God. Therefore, we have peace with God. No matter what you do or don’t do, you’re covered by the grace and forgiveness Jesus purchased for all of us. This allows us an intimate relationship with God. Because of the baby born in the manger, we can have peace with God.

2. Because Jesus was born, we can have peace with ourselves.

Guilt, shame, regret, and fear are a host of reasons why we don’t have peace within ourselves. We struggle with addictions, decisions, and consequences for not-so-great choices. But all of these things can be overcome and healed with Jesus. When we know Christ as our Savior, we are dead to guilt, dead to shame, and can trust God to take whatever bad mistakes and choices we’ve made and use them for His glory and our good (Isaiah 1:18. Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:28). When we trust God, He takes away our fear and gives us life to the full (Isaiah 41:10, John 10:10). Because of Jesus, the inner turmoil caused by our own doing and fears can be replaced with His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

3. Because Jesus was born, we can have peace with others.

In a broken world, we have conflicts with others, and others may not always agree with us. But forgiveness is essential in the Christian life (Ephesians 4:32). But in our own strength, we can’t forgive others. We may not even want to. But because Jesus was born and by His sacrifice we have received forgiveness, we can now access the Holy’s Spirit’s powerful to forgive others and have a chance of having once broken relationships healed again. Because Jesus was born, we can have peace with other people.

As we enter into a Christmas season full of busyness, parties, and endless crowds of shoppers, let us take a moment and quiet our hearts, resting in the peace God provides. Your provision of peace started in a manger many, many years ago, because God knew you would need peace right where you are today, for whatever is going on around you.

Your provision of peace started in a manger many, many years ago, because God knew you would need peace right where you are today, for whatever is going on around you. 

If your heart’s anxious, wrestling, or overwhelmed, you can find your peace in the Prince of Peace today.

When we fix our hearts on the Prince of Peace, others will notice. Things in our live may not be perfect, but that’s not what God ever promised. But He did promise peace every step of the way through His Son, our ultimate peace. When we walk hand in hand with His peace, you never know, someday we might just change the world ❤

Until Next Time,

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@stephanie_jacqu

The Hope of Christmas

The Hope of Christmas

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” // Matthew 4:16

Hello all! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Now that we have Thanksgiving behind us, I think it’s fair game to dive into Christmas! Usually we celebrate Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas, starting four Sunday’s out from Christmas, but I thought we might as well start this week (five Sunday’s out from Christmas). It’s never too early to start reflecting on this season of Celebration and Hope!

This week, I want to talk about the Hope of Christmas. Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that we forget to stop and remember what it’s really all about. Before we start shopping, attending parties, or baking Christmas cookies, let’s take a moment to prepare ourselves and set our hearts in the right place for this season.

We’re all hoping for something. Somewhere deep inside us, we all long for God to move in our lives. We hope for a better future, a new opportunity, maybe even a Christmas miracle. One of the greatest things about Christmas is the reminder that even though life may be dark, it won’t stay that way.

One of our favorite Christmas verses is Isaiah 9:6, which reads, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This prophecy was given about 750 years before the birth of Christ. 750 years! There were 750 years from the time God promised a Savior until He actually appeared on earth. If we fast forward a little bit, we have the last prophecy in the book of Malachi, and then we begin the New Testament, which opens with the birth of Jesus. But between Malachi and the birth of Jesus, there were 400 years of silence.

Silence.

There were 400 years of silence. Silence. Not a word. No prophets from God, no voice calling out in the wilderness, nothing lighting up in the night sky. Nothing but silence.

Not a word. No prophets from God, no voice calling out in the wilderness, nothing lighting up in the night sky. Nothing but silence.

What an agonizing time for the people who had hoped God would send a Savior, a deliverer. They were waiting in complete silence for this promised Savior. But it wasn’t 350 years. Not 385 years. But 400 long years after the last prophecy that Jesus came. And when He did, was it amazing.

The hope of Christmas is that we have a Savior. That there is healing, redemption, and power available to us because God sent His son, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. That darkness, silence, and death wouldn’t have the final word. And it was all for us.

But before there was a baby lying in the manger, angels announcing His birth, a star leading the wise men on their way, there were 400 years of silence. 400 years of darkness. But that didn’t mean God had forgotten. It meant that He was working in ways humanity couldn’t see, in ways that only He could move. He was waiting for the right time, aligning everything perfectly.

If you’re in a season where your hope is running thin, if it feels like you’re somewhere in year 35 of 400 years of silence, have hope this Christmas. God never forgot about His promise to His people–not even after 400 years. 

And He hasn’t forgotten about you, either.

As we kick off this Christmas season, let’s pray for God to fill us with the hope only He can give. Let’s ask Him to open our eyes to see Him working, even if we can only look back and see the miracle He did 2,000 years ago. To the day He changed the world. And if we do, maybe someday we might just change the world, too. ❤

Until next time,

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@stephanie_jacqu

P.S. This year has been a year I’ve really hung onto the word “hope” for myself. If you want further reading on the topic, check out this article I wrote on 412teens.org. It’s very near and dear to my heart, and I hope it encourages you, too.

Good News and Great Joy

Good News and Great Joy

“An angel of the LORD appeared to them, and the glory of the LORD shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the LORD.'” – Luke 2:9-11

Many people are familiar with this passage taken out of the Christmas story in Luke 2. As I was thinking about Christmas and heard this passage, two things stuck out to me this year. Good news and Great joy. This angel was sent from God in heaven to announce the birth of the Savior to a group of Shepherds in the field at night, and when the angel arrived, they announced that there was no need to be terrified at its appearing, but in fact the angel was bringing an announcement. This announcement was good news that would cause great joy. And that this announcement was good news that would cause great joy for all people.

Just like today, the people in Israel 2000 years ago could use some good news that would cause great joy. The people of God had been long awaiting a Savior to rescue them from their oppression of their time. In fact, at the time Jesus had been born, the people had gone 400 years since a word from God. But all the while, they trusted and waited that God would send a Savior to them. And that the Savior had been born was the greatest announcement ever made, and the Shepherds tending their sheep in the field—a people group who was considered too unclean to even worship in the temple at the time no less— received this announcement. The announcement proceeded with this: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the LORD” (vs. 11). The long-awaited, long-promised Savior had been born. The one who would free them from their bondage had come! God hadn’t forgotten about them! God hadn’t forgotten His promise! God hadn’t forgotten His people! This indeed was good news that would cause great joy, not only to the Shepherds and the people of Israel of that day, but to us as well. We are included in this good news that causes great joy today just as much as the Shepherds were that night when the angel appeared. Jesus wasn’t just born for HIs people, though He was born for them too, but He was born for us. He was born for you.

But there’s more to the story then just an angel appearing at night to a group of Shepherds. I mean, nothing ordinary was happening surrounding the birth of  Jesus. A young women yet to be married and who was a virgin was pregnant and called favored by God while society would see her much differently? The angels announced the birth of Christ three separate times? A star indicated where the Savior had been born? The Shepherds were the first people group to know the Savior had been born?

Let me say this: the birth of Jesus just isn’t some event that took place 2000 years ago by chance. Every detail about His birth was carried about by the exact plan and will of God. It was 2000 years in the making. Every event in history leading up to that point happened so that this event could take place at this exact moment. The roads built years before Jesus came so that this message could be spread to people around the world. The census that was called right before Jesus was born. And the list of God preparing the stage goes on. And why did it take place? That you and me might be saved and forgiven by that same baby and have an eternity in the unending presence of God Almighty. That He might show us His love and power in an unimaginable way. And that we might have a relationship with Him once again.

That’s what Christmas is all about.

Its about a God who keeps every promise to a T every single time. Proving that He does what He says He’ll do. That His love for us is more than we can fathom. And that He deserves the highest of praise. Every detail of the Christmas story was set in place at the perfect time. That a perfect Savior might be born. And God’s perfect plan would unfold. It was a plan set in motion from the beginning of time. From when God knew Adam and Eve would sin in the garden. He knew it before He created Adam and Eve with a free will. He knew it before He spoke the world into motion. The same world He would send His Son into at that precise moment in history to undo all the wrong humanity had done. And He did all of it knowing that the greatest and most costly price would be paid at the end of this baby’s life. But He did it because He’s a God of His promise. Because He is a God who loves us that much. Because He’s a God who went to the ultimate length to buy us back to Himself. And this is the good news that causes great joy for us today and forever. So when you think about the birth of Jesus this year, remember the reason He came. The love that was given. The price He came to pay. And the victory He came to win. This is the good news. This is the thing that causes great joy. And it’s the thing that will last into eternity.

So, yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate. This is the single event in human history that allows us to be free from every sin that held us captive, and be engulfed forever in a love that is unimaginable. Indeed, we who are forgiven have received good news that will cause great joy. May this good news and great joy consume your heart this Christmas season and in the year ahead.

Merry Christmas!

❤ Stephanie

And for fun, here are my top picks of Christmas songs this year:

When I Think Upon Christmas- Hillsong Worship

Little Drummer Boy (Live) – For King and Country

Baby Boy (Live) – For King and Country

White as Snow – NewSong

Noel – Lauren Daigle

I Celebrate the Day – Relient K

His Favorite Christmas Story – Capital Lights