By CTA – Christ to All
Share some things you do almost every night before you go to bed. (Let children respond.) Do you ever do anything special at bedtime—having a great snack or reading a story you really enjoy? (Let children respond.) Is the night before Christmas—Christmas Eve—special? What makes that night special? (Let children respond.) What makes it hard to sleep on that night? (Let children respond.)
Most nights you probably do pretty much the same things at the same time and in the same way. You may read a book, play a game, watch TV, or do something with the other people in your family. (If you have homework, you’ll probably want to do that first, right?)
At bedtime, you probably put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, and climb into bed. You say good night to your family and then snuggle under the covers with a stuffed animal or two.
Wait a minute! Did we forget something? Let’s think. You brushed your teeth (and you did an extra super-duper good job!). You washed your hands. (This time you even used soap!) You said good night and shared some hugs and kisses. And . . . wait! You haven’t stopped for any special “Jesus time” yet! Christmas—Jesus’ birthday—is almost here. This is a great time to talk to each other about him coming to earth to be our Savior and to talk to him in prayer—at bedtime and at many other times, too.
That’s what I want to do right now; I want to talk about the most special night in all of history! Try to picture the special night long ago when Jesus was born in a town far, far away. Imagine we’re in the town of Bethlehem.
For most people it was just another night in Bethlehem. Do you suppose the children there slept with stuffed animals—maybe a stuffed donkey or perhaps a stuffed chicken? How do you think they brushed their teeth? Toothbrushes and toothpaste hadn’t been invented yet! What do you imagine their pajamas looked like? Or their beds? Or their room?
That night—and all that day and for many days and nights before that, a lot of extra people had come to Bethlehem so the government could count them. Hardly any of these people knew that something special was going to happen. Even after it happened, hardly anyone knew it. Hardly anyone had seen it or heard about it. But even so that night that seemed just like every other night turned out to be a super-special, incredible night for the whole world.
On that one night in Bethlehem, God forever changed the lives of Mary and Joseph—and the lives of everyone else who had ever lived or who would ever live on earth.
Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem to be counted. Because of all the visitors in town, no one had a place where they could stay. Mary was pregnant, and she was ready to have her baby at any minute! Who would help Joseph find a place that was dry and safe and warm so the baby Jesus could be born?
Finally, they found an innkeeper who offered to let them stay in the place where his animals lived. This place was called a stable. It might have been a small cave in the backyard of the inn. It might even have been in a room built onto the inn where the innkeeper fed and sheltered his animals.
We don’t know exactly what it was like, but we do know that baby Jesus was born there that night, that one very special night in Bethlehem. God’s holy angels came down to earth to tell some shepherds about that birth. One of the angels told about that. The angel said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Did you hear those words clearly? “For unto you . . .” the angel said. You! Baby Jesus was born for you and you and you and you (point to individual children) and me and for everyone in the whole world. Does the birth of Jesus really make a difference in your life? It does!
Jesus came to earth from heaven to live for you and with you. He’s here to love you, forgive you, help you when you’re sad or upset, and place in you the love that makes it possible for you to love others. One day, Jesus will take you to live with him forever in heaven—the most perfect, wonderful place ever! This good news isn’t just for you—it’s for everyone in the world and, especially, for everyone who believes in Jesus as the one who came to be their Savior!
(Pray:) Dear Jesus, one very special night in Bethlehem, you were born. You were born for me! Thank you for coming to earth for me. Thank you for forgiving me, for loving me, and for promising me the gift of heaven you have waiting for me.
This is a special night for me because you are in my life. Jesus, this is a special night because one night in Bethlehem, you were born for me! I love celebrating your birth. I love sharing this news with my friends and family.
It's almost Christmas, and that's a very special day. But you make every day and night special. I love you, Jesus! Amen.
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from the free Ministry Message that accompanies the One Night in Bethlehem line of products.