DEC 05 / Sunday – Overview | Matthew 1:1-16
Christmas foods can do more than add to our waistline – they can help us see what God was doing back then, and what God is doing today.
06 / Mon – Ancestry | Read Matthew 1:1-16
A connection to the past is important. It helps us understand who we are and can give us a feeling of belonging. Perhaps that explains the popularity of genealogical websites and DNA tests. When Matthew wrote to the Jews, who were looking for the Messiah, he started with Jesus’ family tree. This helped them understand who he was as a descendant of Abraham. Do you know much about your family tree? Whether you do or not, the most important thing to remember is you have been born into God’s family (1 John 3:1-2) and you belong to Him.
07 / Tue – Traditions | Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Making lefse and lutefisk was one of the ways Scandinavian immigrants connected with memories of home. It is still a Christmas tradition for many of their descendants. What are some traditions in your family that connect you to your past? There are also traditions that can connect you to your spiritual heritage. Communion is one of those. Whenever you celebrate this custom, does it give you hope in the present and encouragement for the future? It can.
08 / Wed – The good, the bad and the ugly | Read Luke 23:39-43 / 2 Corinthians 5:21
The past can be a double-edged sword. Good memories make you smile and bring gratitude for those experiences. The past can also make you wince. Some memories might make you feel regret or shame. Left unchecked, these lead to despair. Jesus was crucified next to a man whose past led to his death sentence. His sorrow was too late, some would say. But Jesus redeemed him. Every previous event brought him to the moment when he was forgiven. Can you relate to this?
09 / Thu – Backstory | Read Romans 15:4
God’s plan to save you began long before you were born. That story started in Genesis and ends in Revelation, describing a future so beautiful it is almost incomprehensible. When you focus only on the history of the last 2000 years, it is a partial view. The backstory in the Old Testament is what makes Jesus’ life, death and resurrection so powerful. As you read scripture, will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the amazing connections between these two?
10 / Fri – Spiritual DNA | Read 2 Corinthians 5:17
When you give your self to Jesus by believing who he is, accepting the life he offers and following his teachings, you are infused with his spiritual DNA. Isn’t that amazing? You are actually becoming a new person from the inside out. It is a process that continues throughout the rest of your life. You belong to Someone who will never reject you or leave you. And someday you will have the great joy of hugging him in person. Is there anything greater than that?!
11 / Sat – Put yourself in their place | Read Luke 2:8-20 / Matthew 2:9-12
In the meantime, between your past and your future, you have wonderful opportunities to share the hope you possess. Especially in this season. Take a moment to set aside all the lovely traditions of Christmas and focus on the simple scene in Bethlehem. Allow the glory, which appeared to those shepherds, to fill your vision. Let worship overflow as it did in the wiseman at the end of their long search for the Messiah. True joy comes from this place. Who will you invite to join you there?