Advent devotional week 1: The first proclamation of the Gospel

Dear Friend,

When I was a young girl, our home was filled with rich Christmas traditions. From the decorations and food to family and activities, each memory is dear to my heart. I can still recall the aroma of my mother’s sweet potato soufflé drifting through the house and the scent of fresh-cut pine filling our living room.

These cherished memories prepare my heart to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, the day when God gave this world the greatest gift of all—His Son, Jesus Christ.

There was no stress that day in Bethlehem’s manger. No one rushed about to make sure the greeting cards were sent or the decorations were put up just right. The sole focus on that first Christmas was a precious baby in the arms of His mother. That baby brought the greatest joy of all: salvation to the world.

As you read this devotional, I hope that you will take a moment to quiet your heart from the busyness and demands of this season and let the Lord speak to you. I pray that you will respond in praise to Him this holiday season—the way the shepherds and wise men did: “They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy … and they fell down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:10–11).

Merry Christmas!

Cissie Graham Lynch

Week 1: Victory in Jesus
Week 2: Rejoicing in God’s promises
Week 3: Understanding who Jesus is

Week 4: Sing praises to God

Week 1: The first proclamation of the Gospel

Throughout the Old Testament, we read prophecies of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. His coming is first foretold in Genesis 3:15:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

It’s the first time the Good News is mentioned in the Bible. Right after Adam and Eve had fallen into sin, God immediately revealed His plan to send a Redeemer, His Son, to offer salvation to a sinful world.

Can you see the promise of Jesus in this passage? The phrase “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman [symbolizing all of humanity]” describes the coming, longlasting struggle between good and evil. “You shall bruise his heel ” refers to Satan’s attempts to defeat Christ, the woman’s offspring. “He shall bruise your head” foretells Christ’s victory over Satan when He defeated death.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, by Charles Wesley, is one of my favorite Christmas carols. In the original version, Wesley refers to that passage of Scripture:

Come, Desire of nations, come, Fix in us Thy humble home; Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed, Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Since the beginning of time, Satan has been out to steal, kill, and destroy us. He desires for you to follow his evil, destructive, and deadly path. He repeatedly attempted to defeat Christ during His 33 years on earth, and I am sure Satan thought he had the final victory when Christ took His last breath. But when Jesus rose from the grave, He conquered death and defeated Satan. Remember, Jesus came to give life to you and me:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it  bundantly.”—John 10:10

Whether you are dreading this Christmas season or excitedly anticipating all it brings, keep in mind that Christ stands in victory. Don’t let Satan rob you of the joy of the season.

Christmas is the time when we remember that God’s Son was born—born to live so that He could die for you. What a precious thing to celebrate! What are you doing to take time to appreciate and focus on the gift of Christ this Christmas season?


Father, I pray that You will open my eyes to the gifts You give each day—and open my lips so that I can give witness of Your gifts to others. Help me to celebrate the miraculous birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and share the Good News of salvation because of His ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

More Prophecy Readings for Week 1

Numbers 24:17
Deuteronomy 18:18–19
2 Samuel 7:12–14a
Job 19:25
Psalm 2:7
Isaiah 7:14
Isaiah 53
Micah 5:2

Do you have the hope of Christ this holiday season? Start a relationship with the Savior of the world.

Cissie Graham Lynch is the daughter of Franklin Graham and granddaughter of Billy Graham. She is a ministry spokesperson for Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Cissie and her husband, Corey, have two children and live in Florida.