Night Vision: Day Nine, 2019 Christmas Devotions for Students
We are loved by a God who makes promises and keeps promises. Join us, along with your teenagers, for a 16-day Christmas devotional on the Rooted blog. Each devotional will center around Messianic prophecies – promises – from the Old Testament, and the wonder that each one came to be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Every day we will release a new devotional that you can either print out or forward along to the teenagers in your care. O Come Let Us Adore Him!
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
Imagine yourself in Daniel’s shoes. He’s been shipped from his home, separated from his family, alienated by a culture he doesn’t fully understand, and controlled by a power who is happy to either indoctrinate or destroy him. While you might not be a political exile, refugee, or immigrant, I’m sure you’ve felt disgusted by politics, alienated from your family, out-of-place among your friends, and just plain alone. You sense you’ve been displaced by a culture hostile to your faith and dangerous to your body.
You are like Daniel. And God encourages Daniel with two dreams. The first is horrifying but the second is hopeful. In the first, four mutant beasts battle each other for dominance. In the second, an all-powerful King delegates his power to a “son of man” who defeats the monsters.
Throughout Daniel, monsters often stand for evil empires. As strange as that might be for you, the point being made is simple. The beasts of the earth are terrifying and have great power. School shootings, your parent’s divorce and morally bankrupt governments seem like forces too powerful to topple. But the good news is, they are nothing compared to the Ancient of Days and the cloud-riding Son of Man.
All of us are subject to powers, governments, people, and cultures beyond our control. But Daniel’s message to you is: don’t lose heart! Don’t let rigged systems, unfair graders, biased coaches, chronic depression, and evil rulers get to you. God will defeat the powers! He will vanquish the monsters. And he will rule forever because the Son of Man is coming on the clouds. So who is this cloud-riding Son of Man?
In the Old Testament, clouds were a symbol of God’s presence and power. Clouds covered Mt. Sinai. A pillar of clouds protected Israel from Egypt. God’s presence filled the tabernacle as a cloud. David sang that God “makes the clouds his chariot” (Ps 104:3). The cloud rider is somehow both a son of man and God himself, and when he takes his throne the monsters are obliterated.
That’s what we’re celebrating at Christmas! God himself is born as the son of a man named Joseph. God, far from riding clouds in the sky above your pain, uses his power to enter into your pain. And as Jesus is being beaten by unjust judges he announces his victory over all powers that would oppress God’s people. “I am… the son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Jesus is the hoped for monster-crusher. In the face of vindictive rumors, chaotic shootings, and oppressive anxiety he announces he rules over them all.
This Christmas, rejoice and hope! Jesus has defeated the powers of our present darkness, and he rules and reigns forever!
Questions for Reflection
- What does Daniel 7:1-14 tell us about the kind of salvation God wants to give his people?
- If Daniel was writing his book to you and your monsters, what would he say? Put the hope of Daniel into your own words, for your own situation.
- Read Eph 1:19-2:7. Who else rules with Jesus on his throne? What does that mean for “monsters” in your life right now?
May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who sits in power above all earthly kingdoms, and Jesus his Son as the guarantee that one day, we will sit in power with him.
Click here for a downloadable pdf to print and share with your student or child.
Click here for the entire series as it is posted.