Day 25 - Merry Christmas!

Day 25 - Merry Christmas!

Day 25 - The Arrival: The Birth of our Savior.

Matthew 2:1-2 - After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of

Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the

east arrived in Jerusalem, (2) saying, “Where is he

who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his

star at its rising and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:9 - After hearing the king, they went on

their way. And there it was—the star they had seen at

its rising. It led them until it came and stopped

above the place where the child was.

Not only did the shepherds get an announcement of Christ’s birth, these ‘wise men from

the East’ did, too. We have no idea how many there were, we infer 3 due to their gifts

but the number is not important. Take a step back though from the text and look close at

these men. They were ‘from the East’. That means they were Gentiles and not Jews.

That’s so important. And they too were supernaturally led to where Christ was! God

leads all peoples to Jesus!

Christmas reveals Jesus came for all peoples. Christmas reveals He came for you!

Day 24

Day 24

Day 24 - The Arrival: The Birth of our Savior.

Luke 2:13-14 - Suddenly there was a multitude

of the heavenly host with the angel, praising

God and saying: (14) Glory to God in the

highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he

favors!

Boy, did the shepherds ever get an earful! That little word ‘στρατιας’ from which we get

the word ‘Host’ literally means ‘Army!” The night literally came alive with angels

cheering the great coming of Christ! Not only did they cheer the works of God though;

they also were cheering for us!

Understanding Christmas is our first step to experiencing ‘peace on earth to people He

favors’!

Day 23

Day 23

Day 23 - The Arrival: The Birth of our Savior.

Luke 2:8-11 - In the same region, shepherds were

staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night

over their flock. (9) Then an angel of the Lord stood

before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around

them, and they were terrified. (10) But the angel

said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim

to you good news of great joy that will be for all

the people: (11) Today in the city of David a Savior

was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

Isn’t it interesting that the first announcement of the birth of Christ was given to

shepherds? There’s so much hidden here. To be a shepherd was to have a dirty,

ceremoniously unclean job. They were kind of despised because their work kept them

from the temple for long periods of time: unclean and without the ability to become

clean. And their sheep? Those were the animals used as sacrifices in the temple. God

shows His respect for the lowly by choosing them to hear the angel’s tidings!

Christmas reveals God’s grace for all of us. Everyone is important to Him!

Day 22

Day 22

Day 22 - The Arrival: The Birth of our Savior.

Luke 2:7 - Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son,

and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in

a manger, because there was no guest room available

for them.

1 Timothy 3:16 - And most certainly, the mystery of

godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh,

vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached

among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up

in glory.

Most of the commentators make two points here. First is the Inn mentioned was

probably a two story structure with rooms on the second floor and the first was a stable

where the people staying there would park their mules and livestock. Jesus, the newly

born King of Kings, after being wrapped up was laid in a feeding trough where animals

would eat. The sheer humbleness of where He was born speaks volumes about Him as

a person. God has a humble heart.

Christmas manger scenes shadow the humble state of Christ’s real birthplace!

Day 21

Day 21

Day 21 - The Arrival: The Birth of our Savior.

Matthew 1:23 - 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.”

Philippians 2:6-8 - 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.

God invaded planet Earth personally, wow. Literally, when Jesus was conceived He

was a wholly human baby, (Mary’s side), and totally Divine too, (Holy Spirit’s power), at

the same time. Imagine it, He was totally unique. He’s the only person who has this dual

nature and His prophesied name foreshadowed His coming. And they named Him

Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us”!

Christmas reveals the baby whose birth we celebrate came on a mission to save us.

Day 20

Day 20

Day 20 - The Arrival: The Birth of our Savior.

Luke 2:6-7 - While they were there, the time

came for her to give birth. (7) Then she gave

birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped him

tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger,

because there was no guest room available for

them.

One of the things that never ceases to awe me is just how humble God is. About 3 miles

away from Bethlehem was the palace of Herodium. Herod’s summer palace loomed

over Bethlehem and provides us a stark contrast. Within sight of the humble stable

where the 2nd person of the Godhead was born was a towering testimony of the

arrogance of man. He could and merited being born in luxury, but He chose to identify

with us.

Christmas gives us insights into God’s soul.

Day 19

Day 19

Day 19 - The Backstory: Why did Jesus have to come?

Romans 5:19-21 - For just as through one man’s

disobedience the many were made sinners, so

also through the one man’s obedience the many

will be made righteous. (20) The law came along

to multiply the trespass. But where sin

multiplied, grace multiplied even more (21) so

that, just as sin reigned in death, so also

grace will reign through righteousness,

resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ

our Lord.

One of the most amazing consequences of Christmas is how God now views you and I

because of Jesus’ obedience. He took all our sins on Himself on the cross; we get that.

But did you know there was a divine exchange that happened, too? He took our sin and

gave us (imputed) His righteousness in return. When the Father looks on you and I He

sees Jesus, literally He sees you and I being as righteous as Jesus Himself! The result?

We can now be with God throughout eternity, nothing is left that can separate us.

Christmas is actually a Hallelujah story. Ephesians 1:9-10 - 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.

Day 18

Day 18

Day 18 - The Backstory: Why did Jesus have to come?

Romans 5:16 - And the gift is not like the one

man’s sin, because from one sin came the

judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from

many trespasses came the gift, resulting in

justification.

When Jesus came at Christmas time, His path to the cross was set. When we believe

and accept what He did for us on the cross, suddenly God can look at us and declare us

justified. By Jesus taking our penalty for our sins on Himself, God can look at us as

totally clean. Now we have access to God, have peace with God, have hope in God,

have confidence in God and are able to experience the love of God. Wow. No sin remains

between us and God, we’ve experienced justification!

Christmas is actually the first step towards our restoration!

Day 17

Day 17

Day 17 - The Backstory: Why did Jesus have to come?

Romans 5:15 - But the gift is not like the

trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the

many died, how much more have the grace of God

and the gift which comes through the grace of

the one man Jesus Christ overflowed to the

many.

Do you like presents? God has given you the best one already. Everything that Jesus

did flows from grace. Grace is the gift that keeps on giving, grace is the gift where we

receive the benefits of His work, and grace is the gift where we receive what we could

never accomplish on our own. Grace is literally love expressed. Everything Jesus did in

coming at Christmas time is an expression of His deep love for you!

Christmas is actually an expression of Divine love!

Day 16

Day 16

Day 16 - The Backstory: Why did Jesus have to come?

Romans 5:12-14 - Therefore, just as sin entered

the world through one man, and death through

sin, in this way death spread to all people,

because all sinned. (13) In fact, sin was in

the world before the law, but sin is not

charged to a person’s account when there is no

law. (14) Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam

to Moses, even over those who did not sin in

the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a

type of the Coming One.

Before the fall, man and woman walked together with God in the garden of Eden. We

were created to relate to God and each other. When Adam sinned he took all of

mankind down. From that point on all who were born have a sin nature and God’s

judgment resting on them. Jesus actually is on a rescue mission to save us from

judgment; it’s the reason He came! It’s all spelled out in two famous verses, look up

John 3:16 and 17.

Christmas is actually a Divine rescue mission!

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!