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Shepherd of the Hills Christmas Day 2011 Devotional Instructions: Find a place for your Christmas morning family and friends to gather and read aloud the following devotion. Print out copies for everyone and have your family share the readings. If appropriate, take time to have several or all gathered answer the questions following the scripture and then close with the prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson. A prayer for your Christmas dinner is included and can be read together by all those gathered to eat. The words to Joy to the World are also included to be sung around the tree or at the dinner table.

Devotion: Every year we celebrate the birthdays of the people we love. We recognize them by giving gifts and cards that show our love and our gratitude for their lives. We sing for them and share a special dessert in their honor. On Christmas we do the same thing. However, our gift giving, our cards, our singing and our eating might all be focused on the people who are gathered around our Christmas tree, and we could forget about the one whose birthday brought us together. This Christmas, whether your Christmas morning is filled with many people or just you, remember to turn your heart to the one whose birthday we celebrate today—Jesus Christ.

Read aloud one or more of the passages: John proclaims the good news about Jesus Christ John 1:1-5, 9-14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the 11 He came to that which was his own, but his Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through receive him, to those who believed in his him all things were made; without him nothname, he gave the right to become children ing was made that has been made. 4 In him of God— 13 children born not of natural dewas life, and that life was the light of all scent, nor of human decision or a husband’s mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, will, but born of God. and the darkness has not overcome it. 14 The Word became flesh and made his 9 The true light that gives light to everyone dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the the glory of the one and only Son, who came world, and though the world was made from the Father, full of grace and truth. through him, the world did not recognize him. A prophecy about the coming of Christ Isaiah 9:2,3 6,7 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;

they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. 1


And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

This is the scripture we read last night at the candlelight service Luke 2: 1-12 and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the an4 So Joseph also went up from the town of gel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a house and line of David. 5 He went there to Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, register with Mary, who was pledged to be the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths

Answer one or more of the following questions: Ÿ What are you most thankful for this Christmas? Ÿ If were able to go to the manger in Bethlehem, what would gift would you bring Jesus? Why? Ÿ At Christ’s birth: The angels proclaimed Mary pondered The crowd was amazed The wise men brought gifts The shepherds glorified In your life, what has been your response to Christ birth?

A Christmas Prayer Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

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May the Christmas morning make us happy to be your children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen. by Robert Louis Stevenson

Prayer Before Christmas Dinner God of all gifts, we thank you for the many ways you have blessed us this day. We are grateful each of those who are gathered around this table. We ask you to bless us and our food and to bless those we love who are not with us today. In our gratitude and love, we remember your humble birth into our lives and pray for those who are without enough to eat. We remember the stable in which you were born and pray for those who have no place to live. We remember your challenging message of caring and giving and we pray for peace in families and nations throughout the world. We bless you and give you thanks in your Spirit who brings our hearts to life the Christmas Day and forever. Amen.

Christmas Song of the Day: Joy to the World Joy to the world! the Lord is come;

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Let earth receive her King;

nor thorns infest the ground;

Let every heart prepare Him room,

He comes to make His blessing flow

and heaven and nature sing,

far as the curse is found,

and heaven and nature sing,

far as the curse is found,

and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

far as, far as the curse is found.

Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns;

He rules the world with truth and grace,

Let men their songs employ;

and makes the nations prove

while fields and floods,

the glories of His righteousness,

rocks, hills and plains

and wonders of His love,

Repeat the sounding joy,

and wonders of His love,

Repeat the sounding joy,

and wonders, wonders of His love.

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

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2011 Christmas Devotional  

Materials for worshipping at home on Christmas Day, Sunday December 25, 2011.

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