How are you feeling as you approach the season of Advent? Perhaps you are weary and see Christmas 2023 as just another year of the “same old, same old”. You might be feeling super excited for all your social plans and the time you’ll spend in the company of the people you love. Maybe you’re feeling anxious about the state of the world, overwhelmed by things you’re facing, or discouraged from experiencing setback after setback.
Our 2023 Advent devotional has been written to help you lift your eyes to Jesus this Advent, however you are feeling, by meditating on his first coming. The devotions in this book have been edited from talks given by much-loved Bible teacher, Dr R.C. Sproul, helping readers to benefit from his enduring insight and wisdom. As you spend time reading the details of the Christmas story, you’ll reflect on how these events impact our lives today.
As R.C. Sproul writes,
“We’re all familiar with that introduction to the narrative of the birth of Jesus. In fact it might be so familiar that the words just slip over us. We race ahead; we want to get to Bethlehem—but it’s worth pausing over these phrases, which place Christ’s birth concretely in the context of real history.”
At the end of each chapter, you will find a prayer written by a well-known Bible teacher of our own day, to guide your own reflections. Here is a collection of prayers that you can use to dwell on the wonder of the Christmas story and to worship our Saviour Jesus, the God who became flesh.
Our Father and our God, holy is your name, and may your name be seen as holy in all the earth. The promise given to Abraham, that in
his offspring the nations would be blessed, you have kept. You are a promise-keeping God, and so we know that the good news of Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of promises acknowledged by your people through the ages. With thankful hearts, we look back at Jesus Christ coming into the world. With trusting hearts, we wait with patient eagerness for the redemption of all things. How long, O Lord, until you come again? We love you, and we long to look on our Savior, who has loved us so faithfully, and to be in the presence of Father, Son, and Spirit, proclaiming your holy name in the new heavens and the new earth.
Joni Eareckson Tada
O Jesus, if it weren’t for your gracious favour toward me, I would be burnt toast. I would be snuffed out in a nanosecond. My sins have earned me a fate worse than death—a ghoulish, hellish existence in a far-flung corner of outer darkness, isolated and in anguish. It’s what I deserve. Oh, but just look at you and your mercy! O mercy, how is it that you, the Father, and the Holy Spirit all agreed to rescue me from myself? There’s nothing I’ve done to earn such forgiveness, but in return for your favour, I can—and I will—live a life needing you and thanking you. This Christmas, help me share my redemption story with my relatives, friends, and neighbours who have yet to know your favour. This season, may the same gospel that saved me also save those for whom I pray right now.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Steven J. Lawson
God, it is so hard for us to wrap our minds around the incarnation of Jesus Christ. How can we grasp that Jesus, as eternal God, took upon himself sinless humanity? But we believe it is true. It is hard for us to comprehend how Jesus is truly God, yet truly man. But we confess that it is so. We are deeply humbled by his humility. May his example produce lowliness of mind in us. We need to have the same attitude in us that was in Christ Jesus. We confess that we have not humbled ourselves enough or assumed the role of a servant to others. Forgive us for when we consider our own interests above the needs of others. Forgive us for when we desire to be served rather than to serve. Make us more like our Saviour, who took upon himself the role of a servant and lay down his life for us.
We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Father, your word is full of treasures, so we pray that we would commit ourselves to reading it carefully and to diligently paying attention to each chapter, each verse, each word. And we thank you that the word does not only withstand such scrutiny but generously rewards it, for as we pay attention to each detail, our confidence increases. We see that your word is true, we see that it is accurate, we see that it is reliable. We see that it is the only trustworthy guide to tell us who you are and what you demand of us, the creatures you created in your image and for your glory. So please, Lord, enable and equip us to be true and lifelong students of your inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and holy word.
Dear Lord Jesus, Ruler of heaven and earth, it is comforting to remember today that you carry the burdens of this world on your shoulders. Thank you that I am not responsible for the world, my country, or my community. Forgive me for worrying about what politicians, military leaders, or bosses may decide. They can decide what they please, but you have your own purposes and the power to carry those purposes through. Thank you that I can have peace in my heart because you are in control. Please help me not to attempt to take on responsibilities that are not mine, and to trust you to help me with responsibilities that you give me. I do trust you, but I want to trust you more. Please help me.
I ask these things in your name. Amen.
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Gracious Lord Jesus Christ, you are David’s greater son, his Lord and mine. From the beginning you have reigned over all things visible and invisible, both in heaven and on earth. You are sovereign over both nature and history. In you the Father’s oldest and most difficult-to-keep promises have been fulfilled. I praise you for bending down and lifting us onto your shoulders to take us home to your heavenly glory. Thank you for coming to conquer the dark powers that mar our lives. And thank you, too, that though you were demeaned and rejected by those who would not have you reign over them, all authority in heaven and earth is now yours. I bow before you as my King and pray that when, today, I stand in the presence of others, your reign over me will be obvious to them.
Hear my prayer, O Lord. Amen.
These prayers are taken from The Advent of Glory by R.C. Sproul. This book of 24 devotions, edited from talks given by much-loved Bible teacher, Dr R.C. Sproul, delve into the details of the Christmas story and reflect on how these impact our lives now. These straightforward, short and profound Advent readings combine scholarly detail with heartwarming application.
Daily Advent devotions that will help you to slow down and appreciate the wonder of Christmas.