Daily Devotional November 30th
“The angel reassured the shepherds. ‘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!” (Luke 2:10-11)
Probably the most familiar story from the Bible is the Nativity story. It is the one story that even those with minimal exposure to Christianity have some familiarity with, even if no others. But the Nativity story is in danger of being wrote off, ignored, glamorized and/or misunderstood for its very familiarity. A couple of weeks ago, in preparation for the oncoming celebrations surrounding Christmas, I began rereading this most well-known story. But at one point I caught myself, my mind having completely wandered into the realm of my list of ‘to dos’ for the day and not on what I was reading at all; I wasn’t even skimming the text. My mind had kicked into some sort of ‘auto’ mode that allowed my eyes to travel over the well-known words while my brain went someplace else entirely. To be honest, I was a little shocked at myself, went back to the beginning and started again...with far more intentionality the second time.
It’s got me thinking though especially as we have now entered into the time of Advent, a time to prepare for Christmas. Is it possible to go on auto pilot through our observances of Christmas as contained in the Bible, while all the while engaging in a very different exercise? Has the story become so familiar that we have entirely lost the wonder, the awe, the incredulousness of the events that make up the story of Christmas? Think about it...
• Angelic visitors, proclamations and a heavenly chorus that lit up the night sky.
• A senior couple become proud first time parents to the greatest prophet, John the Baptist.
• A virgin gives birth to a baby boy, the Messiah.
• A group of shepherds find a newborn in a barn, exactly as told.
• A star begins to shine which leads kings from a far off country to travel great distances to pay homage.
• God, in the person of His Son, becomes human...that inconceivable piece alone should leave us in absolute wonder!
And these are all just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, when it comes to the wonderful things that took place just over 2000 years ago, that we commemorate at Christmas.
If you haven’t read the Christmas story recently, I would encourage you to do so again over the next weeks. Ask God to give you a glimpse of what that first Christmas was like–devoid of family gatherings, turkey dinners, decorated trees, presents and cards. Take some time to seek to read the story with ‘new eyes’ as though for the first time...and catch a glimpse of the wonder that is Christmas!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!