NOT THE HALLMARK VERSION: The way most Americans picture the Christmas story comes from Christmas cards, renaissance paintings and other cultural influences rather than what the Bible actually says about the event. Take a look at this random collection of Christmas pictures on Google Images. Just about every picture has significant differences with the Biblical text or artistic interpretations which reflect the artist's culture rather than the actual 1st century Bethlehem context. The point isn't to hate on Christmas cards, the point is to make sure that you're basing your understanding on God's Word itself, not on how others portray it.
TIME FLIES: After spending several weeks reading Paul's epistles, we've gotten used to relatively short chapters each day, but now in the Gospel of Luke we're back up to 40-50+ verse chapters. Chapter two however, probably the most famous in Luke, is about much more than Jesus' birth. It covers the first twelve years of His life!
LOTS OF NORMAL IN THE MIDST OF MIRACLES: Certainly the birth of Jesus was an unforgettably amazing event, with an entire host of angels singing in the sky, as was the reaction of Simeon and Anna in the temple, and even the sight of their twelve year old son schooling the most educated minds in the nation, but remember that the life of Mary and Joseph included vast times of boring normalcy when nothing miraculous or even sort of significant occured. Their bills needed to be paid, their work needed to be finished and they went on to have several other children as well. Just remember that not every day as a Christian is spectacular, even for the mother of our Savior.
HOLY SPIRIT WATCH: As we read through Luke, keep your eye out for mentions of the Holy Spirit. In just two chapters so far, the Holy Spirit has been mentioned in five separate occasions. Remember, the Spirit is part of eternal God, and He is active in the world from creation on. He doesn't just show up out of nowhere in Acts 2.
This Sunday (June 28) we look forward to coming together to celebrate Communion. Tuesday we were reminded to examine our faith in the doctrine expressed in scripture and summarized on our confessions. Yesterday we looked at who and what our hope is based upon.
Today you are called to examine your love, both for God and your neighbors. Remember the great and first commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Consciously determine to live a life of loving service to him, through Christ our Lord.
Search yourself to determine whether you love your neighbors as Christ commands. Do you unselfishly live for the welfare of others? Does your life reflect the godly virtues of obedience, fidelity, integrity, justice, humility, and contentment? Do you seek reconciliation with our neighbors in all cases of offense?
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Glory to God in the highest heaven (v14)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to make you a light for revelation to the Gentiles and that God's salvation will be your glory (v30-32).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: