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A Season of Joy: Jesus Christ is Born

Keep Christ at the center of your family’s Christmas celebration by reflecting on the birth of Jesus.

With Christmas quickly approaching, stress levels are at an all time high and to do lists are longer than ever. Keep your family focused on the reason for the season by reflecting on the birth of our Lord and Savior.

The Christmas Story: Luke 2:1-20 NLT

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

The great news from an angel of the Lord filled the shepherds living nearby with absolute joy. The most amazing event in history had happened — the Messiah had been born! With Jesus’ birth came hope for the entire world, hope we continue to believe in today. We encourage you to look toward Christ’s second coming with a joyful spirit and a hopeful heart.

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Merry Christmas!

Stephanie Raquel DECEMBER 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!
STEPHANIE RAQUEL

{Editor’s note: Today’s devotion recounts the Christmas story through Scripture. Jesus’ birthday is so much more than a story worth hearing; it’s a gift to be shared — tied to enriching our everyday lives here on Earth and more importantly, our days spent for all eternity. So from all of us at Proverbs 31 Ministries, we hope and pray you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas!}

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” John 8:12 (NLT)

We begin the story of how Jesus came into the world with these reminders from the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah:

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you” (Isaiah 9:2-3a, NLT).

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end” (Isaiah 9:6-7a, NLT).

Then we learn from the prophet Micah that this Prince of Peace will be born in lowly Bethlehem:

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf” (Micah 5:2, NLT).

It took hundreds of years before these prophetic words were actually fulfilled. But indeed, the pieces were in place for them to become a reality some 2,000 years ago.

The first Roman emperor (who happened to be Julius Caesar’s adopted son) was named Augustus. He decided to count his citizens through a census so he could tax them. That sets the stage for our first encounter with him in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2:

“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them” (Luke 2:1-7, NLT).

From the beginning, God wanted His people to share the good news of Jesus’ birth with the whole world, which we see in Luke 2:8-17:

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’

“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’

“When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.” (NLT)

The shepherds could easily have kept quiet about the miracle. But instead, they “told everyone what had happened.” God had given us the ultimate light in the darkness, the gift of eternal life with the King of Kings, and this gift was meant to be shared.

If you know Jesus, we pray you’ll go and do likewise!

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending light in the darkness through the gift of Your Son Jesus. I know I need a Savior from all my problems, but also from living apart from You. I’m amazed by Your gift of eternal life. Help me this Christmas, and always, to never take this for granted, and to follow the shepherds’ example to go and tell everyone what happened. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 3:16, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you know Jesus? If so, thank Him for His presence in Your life. If not, click here to learn more about a life-saving relationship with the God of the universe.

© 2015 by Stephanie Raquel. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org