A few days ago I posted a short devotional thought on social media. It was based on Luke 2:14 CSB “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!” I titled that post, He is our shepherd, Angels appeared to shepherds , and He gives us shepherds. This Christmas I have been reminded of and drawn into the story of Jesus’s birth in a way I never have been before. This morning I was thinking about that as I prayed. I wondered, could it be making such an impact on me because I walked away from false teaching this year? Is it hitting me in such a way because I wrote short posts covering different elements of the story? Whatever the reason, all I know is that I always want Jesus to be at the forefront of my thoughts like He has been this month.
Matthew 1:18-25 CSB “The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband, Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.”
Let’s pause and just take that in. Take time this week during all the festivities to reread the story several times in Matthew one and two and Luke one and two. Let the majesty of the Christmas story impact your heart. Take time to read Luke’s gospel in these next six days. Reading four chapters a day you will read the entire life of Christ. It’s easy during this season to think about Jesus for a little bit and get distracted but this year, by God’s grace, Jesus has remained the focus. I’m sure studying through the New Testament beginning in October helped and I am looking forward to the rest of that journey that will take me into November of 2023.
If you don’t follow me on Instagram I invite you to do so if you would like to keep up with my New Testament journey. In 2021 I will begin posting notes on the blog from my book by book studies as well as sharing more details as to the process of walking away from the Charismatic Movement. I also plan on sharing reflections from the Psalms, starting book reviews, and having an ongoing thought thread based on insights from John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian religion. I pray you have a blessed and Merry Christmas and I look forward to what is ahead in 2021 on the blog.
One more thing, if you haven’t picked a Bible reading plan for next year, now is the time to do it. I’ve been a big fan of the He Reads Truth Bible the last couple of months. It has two reading plans in it. The MacArthur Study Bible also has a one year morning and evening reading plan. You can always head to your local bookstore and get a new Bible for the new year. You can also find plenty of reading plans on your Bible app, but I still recommend reading in a physical Bible. Set aside a specific time each day to read. Ignore distractions, Take notes, write down questions, journal and enjoy time reading and studying God’s Word.
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