Christmas Devotionals Series
On the night when Christ was born, some shepherds stood watch over their flocks in the fields near David’s town. Luke tells us that, all of a sudden, an angel of the Lord appeared. Overwhelmed by God’s radiant glory, the shepherds cowered in fear. But the angel reassured them with good news of great joy: The Savior – the Messiah, the Lord – had been born in Bethlehem!
This unlikely audience for such a heavenly announcement then saw the skies filled with angels, each one praising God, saying:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
This Advent, as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, we especially remember and pray for our brothers, sisters, and neighbors who endure war and persecution in so many places, including in the Holy Land. May we continue to find the peace that surpasses understanding in Emmanuel, our God who is with us in every circumstance, who has come to defeat sin and death, and who will come again in glory and righteousness.
This year, we have again invited several leaders from around the world to offer a meditation on Scripture and to share about celebratory customs in their home countries. We hope that these Christmas devotionals and stories will encourage you as we celebrate the Lord’s first coming and anticipate his next.
Image: “The Angel Brings Good News to the Shepherds” (1948) by Luke Hua Xiaoxian (Credit: Art & Theology)
We are under a partial lockdown from 5pm until 5am daily. Typically crowded places like restaurants, malls, churches, and mosques are completely closed until permission from the government. Actually, it has not been easy to stop Sunday worship meetings and all gatherings in our church building. We had to cancel our Holy Week and Easter services in the spring. This has especially challenged traditional Christian communities, especially those with their own liturgies and rituals.read more
With heavy hearts, we request prayer for the people of Lebanon, after two explosions on August 5 killed 150+ people, wounded 5,000+, and displaced 300,000+ in Beirut. The blasts damaged buildings several miles from the port, where fires had detonated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, sending shock waves that reached neighboring Cyprus. Several leaders in the ScholarLeaders community live and minister in and near Beirut. We have communicated with each of them and, thankfully, they have all survived and are now participating in cleanup and relief efforts.read more
In Palestine, things are getting more complicated politically, unfortunately. With the news of the proposed Israeli annexation of the West Bank, the future is all the more uncertain. It is in these times that we need to firmly place our faith in the Lord, and to continually pray for justice and peace in our region.read more
In Lebanon, the governance system is based on power sharing between Christians and Muslims. In theory such a system underwrites coexistence, but in practice it is a recipe for division and inter-communal conflict. As community gatekeepers, clergy have been framed as part of the problem, but I am investigating how they can be part of the solution. I hope my research can contribute to peacebuilding in Lebanon and to creating an environment that encourages Gospel growth.read more
Like most churches in Romania and beyond, our church has been holding Sunday church services on Zoom and YouTube, but we are slowly attempting to get out of Internet mode. We are trying to move out of a state of emergency into a transitional state of alertness.read more
It has become a common thing to say the world is not going to be the same after the pandemic. Let us pray that the Church will come out of the crisis with fresh vision and strength to fulfill its mission in whatever circumstance we may find ourselves tomorrow.read more
This past week, thousands of protesters in hundreds of cities across the United States and worldwide have joined in anti-racism solidarity demonstrations, following widespread circulation of graphic video footage showing George Floyd’s death. In the Body of Christ, when “one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor. 12:26). We are grateful for every message we have received from members of the ScholarLeaders fellowship around the world, asking how to pray for those of us in the United States during this painful time.read more
Today, life in Russia, and all around the world, has been influenced by COVID-19. Herzen University was closed for more than a month. The pre-defense of my thesis took place without my participation and now I need to make adjustments to the text, because I could not personally answer the Committee’s questions.read more