You had great intentions at the beginning of December, and so did I. There’s a Bible beside the table, there in the kitchen nook. There’s another on the coffee table, mere feet from the fireplace and the tree. But our family has been running a million miles an hour… until today. Today is our first quiet day, and tonight will be our first Silent Night.
The temptation, one week before Christmas is to say “I’ll try to be more spiritual next year.” But, my friend, you don’t have to be anything at all… other than you today, slowing down to spend time with the Father, the Son, in the Presence of the always faithful, near and abiding Spirit. With or without your family. Today. beside the tree or right where you are, all you have to do is show up, because Jesus showed up. It’s that simple. If you don’t know where to start or what to read, here are a few simple suggestions:
Read The Gospels
The word Gospel translates Good News. And that’s good news for us who haven’t yet cracked open an advent devotional or lit one single light on the advent wreath. Preparing your heart for Christmas is as easy as turning to the Gospel accounts of Christ’s coming. Here’s my suggestion:
Read the first couple of chapters of Matthew today,
read the first couple of chapters of Luke tomorrow,
then read the first couple of chapters of John on Christmas day.
But here’s the catch. After Christmas, don’t stop reading. Read all the way to the end! The really Good News comes at the end of each Gospel account! Because the Good News isn’t simply that Jesus came the first time, but that He is coming again! That’s the advent we can live year round!
Read the Prophecies of The Messiah’s Birth
The shepherds returned, glorifying God and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them (Luke 2:20).
”As it was told them” speaks to more than what the angels said. The sentence before states that. “As it was told them” refers to centuries of prophecies about His coming! They didn’t advent for the month before His birth. Their advent had taken forever… but God said, “Wait no more! Emmanuel! He’s with you now.” One of the most thrilling ways to advent in the last days before Christmas is to read through some of the most familiar prophecies that Christ fulfilled when He showed up!
Remember, we show up because He first showed up. So crack open your Bible today. Here’s are some Scriptures to turn to:
Matthew 1:21-23; Isaiah 7:14
Matthew 2:6; Micah 5:2; John 7:42
Jesus wasn’t simply born in Bethlehem to be a shepherd, he was born in a stable near the shepherd’s field. And He was born to die as our final and forever Passover lamb. The reality of who Jesus was and why He came comes to life when we consider his humble beginnings and His triumphant exit. For through Christ, death has passed us by that we might live forever with Him! That’s the expectancy we live with now! Not simply for the month of December, but all year, every year!
Matthew 2:18; Jeremiah 31:15
Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1
This one’s my favorite fulfilled prophecy, however, it’s a little confusing because the Old Testament doesn’t actually say that the Messiah will be from Nazareth. But Matthew 2:23 says that it does. Here’s the explanation that I love the most! The word Nazareth comes from the root word netzer, meaning branch. Many of the prophets referred to the Messiah as a branch. This is a direct play on words and I love it! (See Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15; Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12.)
So what if you didn’t start on December 1st or the 1st day of advent… you’re starting today. And if you keep on reading through 2019, you’ll be ready for next Christmas for sure! But ultimately, you’ll be on your toes, expectant for the Messiah’s return!
That’s the way to advent.
Merry Christmas to you and those you know and love. If you haven’t yet signed up to receive our free downloadable prints, you’ll want to do it now. (These make wonderful last minute gifts too.) This winter we’re giving away three free Christmas-themed decorative prints, including a Bible verse, a lyric from one of our favorite Christmas hymns, and a quote by C.S. Lewis that reminds us what Christmas is all about.