Day 15

Day 15

Day 15 - The Actors: Joseph’s angelic encounter.

Matthew 1:20-25 - 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. (21) She will give birth to a son, and you are

to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from

their sins.” (22) Now all this took place to fulfill what

was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: (23) 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.” (24) When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s

angel had commanded him. He married her (25) but did not

have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a

son. And he named him Jesus.

As we celebrate the Christmas season, Mary rightfully gets the lion’s share of attention,

but notice also that Joseph interacted with God too. God sent an unnamed angel to him

to calm his fears about Mary and not only told him what was going on but gave him a

bible passage from the Old Testament as proof (Isaiah 7:14).

After the angel revealed the big picture, Joseph embraced his part of the Christmas

story.

Day 14

Day 14

Day 14 - The Actors: Insights into Joseph.

Matthew 1:18-19 - 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. (19) So her husband

Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting

to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce

her secretly.

We gain two insights into Joseph here that reveal God’s hand in his life. First off, when

he discovered Mary was pregnant I don’t think he bought the story that God had made

her pregnant. That would be the second shock after the discovery. That Mary would say

such a thing. Although his heart was broken we see that he was a tender hearted man,

he could have had Mary stoned to death. In addition the text reveals he had a heart for

God as he was called a righteous man. Women who are blessed with such a mate are

indeed blessed.

God shaped Joseph for his role as much as He did Mary in the Christmas story.

Day 13

Day 13

Day 13 - The Actors: Mary and Elizabeth rejoice.

Luke 1:41-43 - When Elizabeth heard Mary’s

greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

(42) Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“Blessed are you among women, and your child

will be blessed! (43) How could this happen to

me, that the mother of my Lord should come to

me?

It would have been wonderful to listen in on Mary and Elizabeth’s conversation, wouldn’t

it? Both women had been given priceless gifts from God to carry children of destiny.

Elizabeth was six months into her pregnancy and Mary was just starting, but she was

far enough along that John the Baptist recognized the presence of Jesus in her womb

and jumped for joy.

The Holy Spirit oversaw every aspect of the Christmas story!

Day 12

Day 12

Day 12 - The Actors: What Gabriel told Mary.

Luke 1:34-37 - Mary asked the angel, “How can

this be, since I have not had sexual relations

with a man?” (35) The angel replied to her:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the

power of the Most High will overshadow you.

Therefore, the holy one to be born will be

called the Son of God. (36) “And consider your

relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son

in her old age, and this is the sixth month for

her who was called childless. (37) For nothing

will be impossible with God.”

Zechariah dared to doubt what Gabriel told him, whereas Mary’s question is along the

lines of ‘How is this possible?’ God has time for honest questions. How Mary came to

carry the Christ child was a divine miracle. Interestingly when we accept and believe

Jesus died in our place we experience a divine miracle too! Our sins are forgiven and

we become a member of God’s extended family! For nothing will be impossible with

God.

The Christmas story reveals God’s power is unstoppable; nothing is impossible with

God!

Day 11

Day 11

Day 11 - The Actors: What Gabriel told Mary

Luke 1:31-33 - Now listen: You will conceive

and give birth to a son, and you will name him

Jesus. (32) He will be great and will be called

the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will

give him the throne of his father David.

(33) He will reign over the house of Jacob

forever, and his kingdom will have no end.”

The CHRISTmas story is one miracle after another. That God would take on human

form. Wow. And Mary gets the greatest privilege any woman would ever be given. And

His name? ‘Jesus’ means something very special. His name speaks of His character

and work. Translated it means ‘Savior’ or ‘He will save His people from their sins’. His

name reveals His mission; He came to die in our place!

Even the choice of our Lord’s name tells a part of the Christmas story!

Day 10

Day 10

Day 10 - The Actors: Gabriel, God, and Mary.

Luke 1:26-28 - In the sixth month, the angel

Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee

called Nazareth, (27) to a virgin engaged to a

man named Joseph, of the house of David. The

virgin’s name was Mary. (28) And the angel came

to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The

Lord is with you.”

Everyone sees Gabriel’s announcement and actions in these verses. We also learn a lot

about Mary as well, her character and lineage come out. But do you see God? God

arranged this meeting. He cared enough about Mary personally that He wanted her to

know what was happening. He sought her agreement to be the Son’s mother.

God’s love is showcased not only in the Christmas birth of Christ, but also in how He

lovely dealt with Mary.

Day 9

Day 9

Day 9 - The Actors: Gabriel.

Luke 1:19 - The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel,

who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to

speak to you and tell you this good news.

Luke 1:26-27 - In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel

was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,

(27) to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of

the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

Hebrews 1:13-14 - Now to which of the angels has he

ever said: Sit at my right hand until I make your

enemies your footstool? (14) Are they not all

ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are

going to inherit salvation?

You know, the Bible is very clear. God empowers certain people with gifts and then

sends them to perform His will serving other people. From the people serving in the

choir to those serving as custodians all are empowered and motivated by God to do His

good will. But did you know the same is true for Angels? The word ‘angel’ means

messenger, and here we see God sending Gabriel to spread good news to us!

Interesting that in the Christmas story the Angel Gabriel played a major role.

Day 8

Day 8

Day 8 - The Actors: Elizabeth.

Luke 1:39-43 - In those days Mary set out and hurried

to a town in the hill country of Judah (40) where she

entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.

(41) When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby

leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the

Holy Spirit. (42) Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“Blessed are you among women, and your child will be

blessed! (43) How could this happen to me, that the

mother of my Lord should come to me?

There is so much to learn in these verses. Did you know that Jesus and John the

Baptist were cousins? That’s here. Did you know that Elizabeth sheltered and cared for

Mary during her time as a pregnant single ‘betrothed’ mother? That’s here. Look closely

and you’ll perceive another interesting fact. Zach and Elizabeth were rustic people and

lived in the hill country of Judah. That’s the people God entrusts great things to.

Elizabeth doesn’t get much bible time, but here she performs her greatest service. She

gave Mary the gift of perspective. And now our Lord has come to us!

Day 7

Day 7

Day 7 - The Actors: Zachariah.

Luke 1:5-6 - In the days of King Herod of

Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division

named Zechariah. His wife was from the

daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

(6) Both were righteous in God’s sight, living

without blame according to all the commands and

requirements of the Lord.

Not only do we celebrate Jesus’s coming at Christmas but also that of His herald, John

the Baptist, six months earlier. A little known but critical role, Zechariah was entrusted

with caring and training of John the Baptist to his destiny. I can’t help but think it’s not an

accident that he was a priest of the Lord. Who better to train the one ‘who would go

before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah’? (Luke 1:17)

As we examine scripture, there are many other actors in the Christmas drama.

Day 6

Day 6

Day 6 - God sets the stage. Roman Times.

Luke 2:1-5 - In those days a decree went out

from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire

should be registered. (2) This first

registration took place while Quirinius was

governing Syria. (3) So everyone went to be

registered, each to his own town. (4) Joseph

also went up from the town of Nazareth in

Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which

is called Bethlehem, because he was of the

house and family line of David, (5) to be

registered along with Mary, who was engaged to

him and was pregnant.

You might not have thought about this, but do you realize that the timing was perfect for

Christmas when it happened? Palestine had been conquered by the Romans and their

military strength made the roads safe. For the first time the Romans had created an

excellent road system to link their empire together. A ‘freeway’ existed for the first time

for Joseph and Mary to follow. A Greek common trade language even allowed everyone

to communicate together. God had the technology and social engineering in place for

Christmas!

God orchestrated society and technology to make the perfect time for Christ to be born!

Day 5

Day 5

Day 5 - God sets the stage. Our Father’s view of Christmas.

John 3:16-17 - For God loved the world in this

way: He gave his one and only Son, so that

everyone who believes in him will not perish

but have eternal life. (17) For God did not

send his Son into the world to condemn the

world, but to save the world through him.

Remember Jesus’s words about the Father in the Sermon on the Mount? He said we

should revere His name as holy. That we should praise Him for His coming kingdom

and that His will be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven. The verses above reveal that

God’s entire rescue mission to save us started with our Father. Jesus was doing His will

at every point in His life.

Our Father doesn’t get as much press as Jesus at Christmas time, but really the whole

thing was His plan...

Day 4

Day 4

Day 4 - God sets the stage. How Jesus viewed it.

Hebrews 12:2 - keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Several of my SSBN patrols, (missile boat runs), were from American home ports. As

we embarked, the wives of the married guys would all be waving and crying as they sent

us off on the pier. I don’t think anyone wanted to go on the three month patrol cycle, but

we all knew what we were doing was necessary for keeping our country and our

families safe. No pain or danger was too great to face compared to seeing their smiles

at our safe return. Love is like that.

Interesting, isn’t it? That for Jesus it was a joy to come at Christmas, knowing He would

suffer and die to restore us to His side.

Day 3

Day 3

Day 3 - God sets the stage. How Jesus viewed it.

Philippians 2:5-8 - Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, (6) who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. (7) Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, (8) he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.

In America, the higher up in the business world you go usually the more detached you

get from the work force. The perks are given from the top down. If you watch the show

‘Undercover Boss’ it’s always amazing to see the education the bosses get as they face

the challenges their workers face. I have to think each business was blessed as each

boss humbled themselves during the experience.

Jesus was and is the CEO of the universe. That didn’t stop Him from coming for us.

Day 2

Day 2

Day 2 - God sets the stage. Why?

Ephesians 2:4-5 - But God, who is rich in

mercy, because of his great love that he had

for us, (5) made us alive with Christ even

though we were dead in trespasses. You are

saved by grace!

Colonel Joshua Chamberlain’s speech to mutineers before the battle of Gettysburg –

(edited)

“This is a different kind of army. If you look back through history, you will see men

fighting for pay, for women, for some other kind of loot. They fight for land, power,

because a king leads them or -- or just because they like killing. But we are here for

something new. This has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an

army out to set other men free.

But it’s not the land. There’s always more land.

It’s the idea that we all have value -- you and me.

What we’re fighting for, in the end, we’re fighting for each other.”

The reason behind the cross, behind His coming at Christmas, is the surpassing value

God sees in us. No price is too high to pay to rescue the ones you love.

Day 1

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Day 1

Day 1 - God sets the stage. When?

Ephesians 1:3-10 - Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus

Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the

heavens in Christ. (4) For he chose us in him, before the foundation

of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. (5) He

predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself,

according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) to the praise of his

glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One. (7) In him

we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our

trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (8) that he richly

poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. (9) He made known

to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he

purposed in Christ (10) as a plan for the right time—to bring

everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on

earth in him.

As a child I looked forward to Christmas rather selfishly. I loved the lights, the

family get-togethers and, of course, the gifts. As I’ve matured over the years, though, the

allure of Christmas has changed for me. The Christmas season now has become an

opportunity to reach out and love on others. To do it right you really need a plan and

usually it’s best to start making or buying presents as early as possible. To touch hearts

and encourage others takes effort.

God started planning for Christmas back before the formation of the Universe.

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Coming Soon!

Starting December 1, tune in here for brief daily blog posts to help keep Christ at the center of your Christmas season!