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12/16/2016

FAMILY GATHERINGS

And Mary remained with her about three months and
returned to her home (Luke 1:56)
 
When we first gather with family at Christmas, it's a
wonderful feeling. But after a few days together, we
begin to notice those things that got on our nerves
as kids and how they still get on our nerves today.
We can manage a couple of days all right, but three
months would be out of the question.
But three months was perfect for Mary, Elizabeth
and Zechariah. They probably would have stayed
together longer if they could. The women talked
about God's plans for their sons, while Zechariah
listened in. These were great days. It is a truly
wonderful experience to spend time together with
people who share your interests and your
fascination with the great things God is doing.
 
Of course, just as our Christmas gatherings must
eventually come to an end, the time finally came
for Mary to return home as well.
 
Our Christmas gatherings can be powerful
glimpses of the great joy those who believe in
Jesus Christ as Savior will enjoy in heaven. We
will get along perfectly, because God will remove
the sin that turns us against each other. Until that
day, we can enjoy more harmonious gatherings,
because Jesus has already begun His work in us,
taking away our sins and God's wrath and making
us new creatures in His image.
 
That process will finally be completed when Jesus
Christ returns to earth on Judgment Day. Then He
will make us perfect. We will live together in joy
and peace in God's presence forever, sharing even
greater delights than Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah
enjoyed during those three wonderful months together.
THE PRAYER:
 
 Heavenly Father, thank You for gathering us as
Your family in Jesus Christ Your Son. Purify our
hearts that we may enjoy our time together this
Christmas -- looking to the eternal pleasure of being
together in Your presence. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 
Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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