What I’m listening to: The Twelve Days Of Christmas by Ray Conniff
Welcome to Day 24 our Advent series! I can’t believe today is our last day!!If you’re up to speed, congrats(!), if not, be sure to check out the previous posts. The first one explains a little more about the series. Now for today’s verses from Luke.
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”
Luke 2:34-35 (NIV)
It can be easy to feel like nobody, even God, understands us. However, here in Luke we are shown that the Lord does know our hearts, and can fufill the desires within them. Everyone, deep down, has similar true desires; love, acceptance and success are all common. Jesus came to Earth to fufill two of those needs. We have a Savior who both loves us without end and accepts us even though we are sinners. What could be a better present? I certainly can’t think of one. Merry Christmas and praise the Lord.
Prayer Prompt: This Christmas take a moment to thank the Lord for all that He’s done, but especially for sending His Son to Earth all those years ago to fufill your heart’s hopes.
What I’m listening to: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) by The Chipmunks
We are on day 23 of our advent series!! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The first post also has some additional information about our Advent devotionals. Now let’s dive back into Matthew!
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
Matthew 2:19-20 (NIV)
Do you ever feel like God is never going to give you something you want? Whether it be a job, a date or something else entirely, most of us have wondered when or even if God was going to come through. As illustrated here in Matthew though, we are reminded that not only does the Lord have a time for everything, He also has a reason. We should not become discouraged simply because something isn’t happening on our time schedule. Just because it’s not lining up with your plan doesn’t mean God is ignoring you. He wants and knows best for us, and He will bring about great things in His time.
Prayer Prompt: Pray for patience so that you may be grateful instead of exasperated when God gives you what you wanted.
What I’m listening to: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy
We are on day 22 of our advent series!! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The first post also has some additional information about our Advent devotionals. Now let’s dive back into Matthew!
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Matthew 2:16-18 (NIV)
Today’s verses come from one of the darkest moments in the Christmas story. Perhaps the slaughter of innocents was a symbol of the struggle the Lord’s children would face in the coming years, and in many cases continue to fight today. For the last two days we’ve been talking about the first two gifts from the Magi. Today we’ll be talking about the final gift: myrrh. Myrrh was used as a anointing oil, a symbol of Jesus’s future death for us. It may have also served as a sign of the massacre described here in Matthew that the baby Jesus would narrowly escape. While it can be hard sometimes to understand why God lets bad things happen, we must always remember that there is a reason. We may not understand that reason, but we do not have to. We only have to trust that our loving God understands the rationale behind it.
Prayer Prompt: Pray for Christians facing persecution this Christmas season, that the Lord will protect them as well as guide them in the new year.
What I’m listening to: Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes
Welcome to Day 21 of our Advent series! If you’re up to speed, congrats(!), if not, be sure to check out the previous posts. The first one explains a little more about the series. Now for today’s verses from Matthew.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Matthew 2:13-15 (NIV)
We often think of Jesus as a savior, a king, and a teacher. However, one of His main roles here on Earth was as a priest of the new church. Yesterday we talked about what the first of the three gifts the Magi gave Jesus represented. The second gift was frankincense, which represented Jesus’s priestly role. Jesus was feared by Herod, and eventually by the Pharisees because He posed a threat. The Pharisees did not want a new church with a new priesthood because then they would be stripped of the power they enjoyed. Next time you feel powerless remember your Savior has been feared by the corrupt and powerful since He was born.
Prayer Prompt: Pray for reassurance in Jesus’s ability to conquer all people and things.
What I’m listening to: Skating by Vince Guaraldi Trio
We are on day 20 of our advent series!! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The first post also has some additional information about our Advent devotionals. Now let’s dive back into Matthew!
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2:9-12 (NIV)
Do you ever wonder about the three gifts that were given to baby Jesus? Each of the, perhaps unusual seeming, gifts has a meaning behind it. Today we’ll be focusing on the first gift of the three, gold. Here in Matthew no real explanation is given, however, through historical reference we know that gold was given to kings as a symbol of their kingship. Although it may be hard as modern Christians to see the gift as anything other than a statement of fact, it was a bold move at the time. By giving this gift to the child of a carpenter it meant that they truly believed He was God’s Son. They believed a newborn was the Son of God, just as we believe that the story of Jesus is true. Remember that faith in the Lord has always been easy for those who seek it; even if faith is the only basis for the belief that you have.
Prayer Prompt: Ask God to help you seek and believe in Him the way that the Magi sought and had faith in the Christ child.
What I’m listening to: Angels We Have Heard on High by The Combined Choirs of Luther College & Symphony Orchestra
Welcome to Day 19 of our Advent series! If you’re up to date, awesome, if not, be sure to check out the previous posts. The first one explains a little more about the series. Now, let’s go back to where we last left off in Matthew.
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
Matthew 2:7-8 (NIV)
God calls us to have trust, but that doesn’t mean we have to trust everyone, only the Lord. Here in Matthew, Herod claimed that he wished to worship the baby Jesus, when he actually meant the Christ child harm. We are not called to be naïve in order to be “good” Christians. In fact, since we trust the Lord, we do not have to rely on putting our trust in anyone else. Trust the Lord to guide your trust in others.
Prayer Prompt: Ask God to show you who is and is not trustworthy in your life.
What I’m listening to: You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch by Thurl Ravenscroft
We are on day 18 of our advent series!! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The first post also has some additional information about our Advent devotionals. Now let’s dive back into Matthew!
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Great things can happen to ordinary places or people. It can be easy to think that nothing extraordinary will happen to you because you are “ordinary”. Here in Matthew, Bethlehem was a regular place that was transformed when the Savior was born there. I’m sure that most, if not all of us, have wished something amazing would happen to us at some point or another. The crazy thing is, something amazing already has! Jesus Christ was born onto this earth to die for us, saving us from the death we deserve, and offering us the salvation we need. Remember that we are made to do incredible things for Jesus because Jesus did incredible things for us.
Prayer Prompt: Ask God to replace your feelings of self doubt with feelings of motivation to serve Him.