-Same old, same old-

Every year, same story - Virgin Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, wise men, Jesus, miracle. No doubt you will hear the birth story this year as well, maybe more than once. But let me encourage you to be a student of the Word. Now think about what that means - a student studies, does homework, and interacts with fellow classmates and the teacher. That’s exactly what I mean by being a student of the Word. Christians need to be doing that very thing with the “textbook” that God has given us. The Word of God is alive; treat it that way. Explore what it really means and how God can use it to change your life. The more you study, the more God will show you. However, as Oswald Chambers once said, God isn’t going to show you anything new until you do something with what He has already given you. Here’s a different aspect of the Christmas story to think about . . .

Pick up the story in Matthew 2:11. The 3 Magi have followed the star to Bethlehem and are about to see the newborn king. They see Jesus, present him with gifts, and then they head back to their homeland. Good story, huh? Wait… go back to verse 12. Read it. Notice any peculiar phrases? What about: “they walked a different way”? Now granted, the literal meaning of the text is that the Magi just chose another route to get home. But think about the sequence of events. The Magi came one way, met Jesus, and left another way. The question is: Is that true in your life? Before you were a Christian, you had a certain lifestyle. You walked a certain way. But then you met Jesus - King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior of the world. And then, hopefully, you walked a different way. You examined your life, made the changes, put God as your top priority, and walked a different way.

A true encounter with the Savior changes your life. You look at people in a different way, you treat people a different way, and you try to show the same grace and mercy that God has shown you. This holiday season as you hear the birth narrative, think about your life now as a Christian. Are you truly grateful for what God did for you on that first Christmas night? And after meeting Jesus, are you proving that by walking a different way?

-Spending time in the Word-
The birth of Christ was a much anticipated event. Take time this week to read these passages in the Old Testament predicting the birth and arrival of Jesus: Psalm 132:11, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 16:5, Jeremiah 23:5, Daniel 2:44, Daniel 7:14 and 27, Obadiah 21, and Micah 4:7. So much hype, so much anticipation, so much hope on the birth of one man. Imagine their response when they found out he would be born in a stable, of a virgin, and come from Nazareth. No fanfare, no parties, and no kingly celebrations; just a humble birth for one that was to be the Savior of the world.

-Hiding the Word in your heart-
Memorize these verses as you continue to study the Word of God daily.
Luke 2:11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Psalm 62:2, “He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

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