Welcome to the first devotional of our new series, Come Closer at Christmas! From now until Christmas, each day we’ll share a few words to encourage our hearts to draw closer to Christ and one another during this season. I can’t wait to see how God uses this series to provide more intimate moments with Him. Happy reading!

We Can Come Closer

We come closer to God and approach him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from him. For our hearts have been sprinkled with blood to remove impurity and we have been freed from an accusing conscience and now we are clean, unstained, and presentable to God inside and out! Hebrews 10:22 (The Passion)

Daddy. are we there yet? Yes, I’m guilty of saying those words. We had an 11+ hour ride from Tennessee to Missouri. A 1972 deep forest green Ford Country Squire station wagon was our means of transportation. We slid from side to side on the plastic seats. We still owned that car years later when I was learning to drive.

I knew that all the pain of travel would be overcome when we arrived at grandma and grandpa’s house. We would get to run and play. Grandma Jackson said on the phone, “I have some cookies you can help me decorate and I have a special gift for all the grandkids.” There were nine of us grandkids and I was near the tail end. It didn’t matter where you fell in the tribe you were special to grandma. I can still feel her hold her cheek next to mine. I can almost smell her oil of Olay lotion and red lipstick.

I think the arrival of Jesus in Bethlehem and in a humble stable for a nursery certainly puts God on the lower shelf, easy to touch and love. We all have small starts and the thought that God would do that to come near you and me. It is like God chose to bend over and pull us close to His cheek. He said, “We are blood relatives. We are family. I love you!”

Today soak up His love for you. You may not be there yet, but you are getting closer. Join us this Christmas as we get closer to God’s love, grace and joy.

That Christmas my grandma hand made all nine of us cowboy and cowgirl outfits, hats, boots and cap guns. She also made us Indian outfits with the cool fringe like Daniel Boone, moccasins and headbands with feathers. We all still talk about that when we see one another.

I didn’t know at the time why it was so important; it was her last Christmas with us. A few weeks later she let my parents know she was sick. She focused on us and loving us. That is the spirit of Christ. He came to love us and pour into our lives. Receive His love; come closer.


Father in heaven, thank you for sending your son Jesus so we could come closer. I want to lean into your embrace. Open my eyes to see your love in my home. Help me welcome others to the journey. Father pour out your spirit on our home and community so others might know Jesus as Savior. -Amen


Pastor Doyle Jackson

Pastor Doyle invites everyone to experience a new way of life in following Jesus. As a pastor he has witnessed many lives transformed by God’s grace and the good news of Jesus. He is energized by leading The Church Next Door to care for and minister to Columbus, Ohio. He loves being married to and working with Jennifer for 28 years; they enjoy their two grown sons and daughters-in-love.