December 14, 2017
One thing we all look forward to in Christmas time is eating a lot and eating well. Even now, we can picture of meals we will eat and we’re automatically brought back to memories of happier times.
While it’s good to celebrate with physical food, let’s also remember that it’s good to grow in spiritual food also. The Bible is our spiritual food. (Matthew 4:4) Most of the time, when we hear this, we think that it means the Bible is important and crucial for life. And that’s true.
But the Word of God isn’t just a necessity. It’s also a delicacy, something you eat and it gives you pleasure and joy, something you chew on and savor every bite. David described it this way in Psalm 119:103, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Since honey was their go-to dessert item in those days, we can say he’s saying something like this: “How sweet are your words to my taste, better than that warm and moist salted caramel cake with deep chocolate frosting!” David discovered the joy of eating God’s Word.
Here are some really good Christmas bites of the Bible to chew on this holiday season. Don’t rush through them; savor them like a great dessert. We’ve given some recommendations on how to enjoy them, but please don’t be limited to this. You can come up with some great insights and applications with the help of the Holy Spirit. Bon appétit!
Ah, the classic Christmas story. You can’t go wrong with spending time meditating on this text. Please do your best to fight the tendency to romanticize the whole scene and picture peaceful belens full of docile animals all looking angelically at a glowing baby. Try to read this text for what the Bible says, not what tradition has passed to us. Try to reconstruct the scene using only the words in the Bible. How is it different from our usual manger scene?
If we’re gonna read the night of the first Christmas, it would also be good to read the earlier part that set it up. In this place you’ll see Mary receiving the message from Gabriel. What must that have been like? Also, why is John the Baptist’s birth so prominent? He must be an important part of this story.
Here we see a very different approach to the same events. Try to see the difference between Matthew and Luke. What events does Matthew highlight? Again, removing yourself from all the holiday spirit and cheer, what does this feel like? If these verses were made into a film, what kind of movie would they be?
You may ask, “What does this have to with Christmas?” A lot! This is Messianic prophecy, a time when Jesus’ coming was predicted in the Old Testament. (There are a lot of those.) Pay attention to the strong images and symbols used. What does the coming of Jesus bring? What parts have been fulfilled in His first coming as a baby in the manger? Which parts will be fulfilled when He comes again as a king?
This is another Messianic prophecy. Here Micah specifically predicts where the child would be born. (Could you remember where this verse in Micah was quoted in the previous texts we gave?) Reading this text, what does the coming of the Messiah bring?
Again we might ask, “What does this have to do with Christmas?” If the Messianic prophecies give us perspectives on Christmas before they happened. This text gives us a perspective on Christmas after it happened. What does it mean that God sent His Son “when the fullness of time had come?” What was the purpose of Jesus’ coming? What were we before He arrived? What are we now that He has come and we have believed in Him?
Here’s another angle for what Jesus’ coming to earth accomplished. If the text in Galatians was about adoption, what is the theme in this text in Hebrews? What were we before Jesus came? What did we have to do for ourselves? What did Jesus do for us? What does the conversation in verses 5-7 tell us about the relationship between the Father and the Son?
We hope you get to digest one or two or all of these verses well, over the long break. God bless you with a powerful revelation about Jesus’ birth, as you read it through the different books and perspectives from the Bible!