DEC 19 / Sunday – Overview | Matthew 2:1-12
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.
20 / Mon – Contrast | Read Matthew 2:1-12
No one expected the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to be announced first to shepherds, considered the lowest level of society. But at least they were Jews. The Magi, on the other hand, were wealthy Gentiles (non-Jews) coming from Persia, most likely present-day Iran. Consider the significance of these two groups. What does God want you to understand about who Jesus came to save? How do you personally view people from both ends of society’s spectrum?
21 / Tue – Unlikely convert | Read Acts 10:1 and 11:1-18
At first, the disciples focused their efforts on telling other Jews about Jesus. It took this unusual experience for them to realize Jesus came to save Gentiles too. Cornelius was not only a foreigner but a centurion of the occupying Roman army. It is easy to forget that God is at work in the lives of those who are different from us. How can you train yourself to be more alert to what is going on around you? Ask the Holy Spirit to see what is beyond the public face most people wear.
22 / Wed – Open the door | Read Luke 2:25-32 / John 8:12
At the temple where Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus for the first time, they were met by Simeon, a godly Jewish man on whom the Holy Spirit rested. The words he prayed over Jesus (v. 32) notes the prophecy, given to Isaiah hundreds of years before, that the Messiah would come for Gentiles too. Jesus said he was the Light of the world. You may not be Jewish but his promise includes you as well. What dark corners of your life need to be illuminated by his Light? Will you ask?
23 / Thu – Don’t set limits | Read Acts 13:42-48
Paul was a highly-educated and devout Pharisee. Once converted, he was able to explain to the Jews how Jesus fulfilled all their prophecies and was most certainly the Messiah they had been waiting for. When they rejected his words, Paul turned to the Gentiles who eagerly accepted this amazing news and were saved. Those you might least expect could be the most open to hearing about Jesus. Are you watching for those opportunities?
24 / Fri – Don’t fall for it | Read Luke 2:11-12
Mincemeat pie was a traditional English dish served at Christmas. Originally it contained finely chopped meat but today most recipes are meatless. Does that seem like false advertising? All throughout history, there have been those who claimed to be saviors. Even today, you see people offering to save your finances, your health and relationships. Only Jesus is the real deal. Only he can save you from the curse of sin that affects us all. How will you express your gratitude?
25 / Sat – Joy, no matter what | Read John 11:25 / 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
It’s here! The day we celebrate the arrival of the most wonderful gift the world has ever received. Everybody loves a baby and it’s easy for most people to be drawn into this season of joy. However, this may be a difficult time for you because of the losses you’ve experienced. Even so, you can have hope because this Baby was born ‘to conquer the grave.’ If you or someone you know is struggling, can you focus on this precious truth? He will give you joy even in the midst of sorrow.