Looking for something to study out this month? The ICOC Women’s Service Team has compiled a month of daily devotionals for the Advent season to help prepare our hearts for celebrating Jesus’ birth. These devotionals are written by sisters all around the world and translated in Spanish, and sometimes additional languages. Below is an excerpt from the first one, written by Tammy Fleming from Kyiv, Ukraine.

God’s Love: The True Meaning of Christmas

Our Bible text for this first devotional of our Advent series is John 5:16-47 and 1 John 4:9. (You may want to take a moment to read that in your Bible before continuing.)

Derived from the Latin adventus , “advent” is a translation of the Greek word, parousia , which refers to the coming of the Christ – both his coming in flesh at his birth in Bethlehem and his second coming at the end of all things. It is no wonder, perhaps, that the celebration of Jesus’ birth expanded into a holy season – what an event to celebrate! The single most pivotal moment, the most extraordinary, significant event in human history was this miraculous insertion of the Creator God Almighty himself into human history as an ordinary man.

There is nothing like this in any other world religion. No holy “God” would ever stoop so low as to not only walk among common people, but to trap himself in an ordinary human body and lifespan. It’s an earth-shattering idea. Why would the Most High, Yahweh, El Shaddai, the God of Gods, do such a thing?


Most of us could probably perfectly recite the oft-quoted Bible verse about God’s love: John 3:16, “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. . .

Just stop for a moment and think about all the things that are wrong with the world, from your perspective. (On my personal list of complaints for God: corrupt politicians and governments in various places; COVID-19 and all the pain and loss and trouble resulting from the pandemic; a less-than-ideal church environment; the discomfort of aging; and the list goes on.)

All these oppressive circumstances are what Jesus’ birth potentially upends. It’s not hard for God to love the world. It’s not hard for him to love you or me or any political leader or person of any color or lack of color or sexual orientation, or liar or leper or addict or demon-possessed or ignorant self-righteous religious person. Proverbs 8:30 reveals to us that God, in the Spirit of wisdom, was “rejoicing in the whole world and delighting in mankind” at creation. Being all-knowing, God rejoiced and delighted in us then, and I believe he does so even to this day, since our sins and struggles are no surprise to him. He knew and knows what we get up to. His love for us remains undimmed.

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