Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

James 4:8 (NIV)

8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

DEVOTION -Linda Barrett (Alabama)

I have a wonderful nativity set crafted in beige and brown ceramics that I put on display during the Christmas season.  It sits on a table at the perfect height for my youngest niece, Grace, to reach the figures.  Each time she visits I notice that all the figures have been squished up close to the baby.  All are touching each other, and many of the animals’ noses touch the manager as they look at the Christ child.

Grace’s instinct is to place everyone close to Jesus.  I, on the other hand, place each figure at an artistic distance from that central character.   This last time, as I looked at the distance I placed between the figures, I asked myself, Am I placing distance between God and me?  Why do I shy away?  Little children never seemed to have a problem running to Jesus.  He never turned them away.  And so today I come as a little child.  I’m peeking over the edge and looking into the hope that lies before me – Jesus Christ, the approachable, incarnate God who is humble and able to save.

LINK2LIFE: To see a picture of Linda with her nativity set, go to devotional.upperroom.org/blog.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Today I will draw close to Jesus.

PRAYER: Great and glorious Lord God, help me to remember that you are also a tender Father who sent Jesus Christ to earth to demonstrate that tenderness and love to us.  Amen.