Of the many famous stories in the Bible, the one we read about this week is very familiar – probably the most familiar – to us and our children. Unfortunately, that can make it hard for our kids (and us!) to be amazed. Please really read the story this year, because it is nothing short of amazing. It should bring us to our knees. One of the best ways to do this is to imagine yourself in the story. How did it feel to be a wise man? What were the shepherds thinking when the angels appeared? Who else was around with Mary and Joseph? (We imagine them all alone, but that’s not how people lived back then.)
As you celebrate this Christmas, I pray that you see the story of the birth of our Savior with fresh eyes and wonder.
Merry Christmas to all our dear Munger families!
Monday, December 21 – Day 16 – Luke 2:1-7
- Jesus was born without any of the expected “earthly pomp and circumstance” that should accommodate a king’s birth. But there was a joyful ruckus coming from Heaven (e.g. the choir of angels). This shows us the paradox of how Jesus arrived quiet, poor, and unassuming on Earth, while heaven celebrated the biggest event in history.
- Note the way Luke describes this event: humbly, simply, and without frills.
- God is in control over events and individuals. Old testament prophecy (Micah) predicted that Messiah was going to be born in Bethlehem, and that came true even though Mary and Joseph were living in Nazareth at that time. As Pastor Andrew said in his reflection on Micah: was Jesus born in Bethlehem “because the Bible foretold that’s where it would take place, or was it because Caesar wanted a census? Yes.”
- Our takeaways today reflect the two main points above: (1) It’s always important to remember God is in control (and He works on His time, not ours) and (2) you should never judge a book by its cover.
Tuesday, December 22 – Day 17 – Luke 2:8-16
- The shepherds were among the first people to hear the good news, that Jesus Christ was born. The angel told them to drop everything and go find the baby. The angel also told them what they should look for when they got there. And as I wrote before, if an angel comes and tells you something or asks you to do something, you’d better listen! And to their credit, the shepherds did.
- The angel said he was bringing “good news”. What makes news good? What makes news a great joy? What was the last great news you’ve heard? How did you react and did you believe it at first? (Was it perhaps too good to be true? Why?)
Wednesday, December 23 – Day 18 – Matthew 2:1-11
- Three wise men or “Magi” travel from the East and visit the ruling King Herod in search of the king of the Jews.
- Herod (paranoid and power hungry) then goes on to try to trick them, asking them to report to him at once when they find the king so he also may go and worship him. Which of course was a lie, his intention was to kill him.
- The wise men succeed in finding Jesus and worship him.
- The wise men (presumably important men in their own right) are willing to go anywhere and do whatever it takes to find the king of the Jews and bow before him. We should be willing to do whatever necessary as well.
- Look up Isaiah 60:5-6 – what detail do you find that repeats in today’s reading. Are you surprised to find that in a book written hundreds of years before Christ’s birth? What does finding these threads throughout the Bible tells us about the validity of these stories?
Thursday, December 24 – Day 19 – John 1:1-14
- Let’s unpack the first 5 verses, which are some of the most beautiful ever written. In the beginning before there was anything else, there was just God, and there was someone with God and this someone was God himself – Jesus. Here is the most important truth: Jesus is God and He always has been.
- Later the Word that was with God became flesh to live among us in order to take away the punishment we so deserve. When John says the Word became Flesh, he’s poetically describing that Jesus became the visible representation of the invisible God.
- Like John, we should faithfully point people to the Light of the world. Do you have any ideas on how to do that?