“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “ God with us. — Matthew 1:23
My friends, can you believe Christmas is just five weeks away?!?! Right now I'm doing a series with my life group at church in preparation of Christmas this year. We're not following a book or script—we're just letting the Holy Spirit walk us through the story of Christ's birth and I'm discovering stunning details in the process. What a great way to walk into this blessed season with hearts focused on and full of the story of our Savior's expected and revelational arrival so long ago.
So, my heart is to share this with you too. It's a great way to set our sights on what really matters in the midst of all the preparations and celebrations, and I believe we will feel more like we've appreciated the truest meaning behind it all, along with valuable time with our loved ones.
Let's start with Matthew 1-2. Set aside some time and read through these two chapters and take notice of the people present and what they are doing. Who seems to be more in the forefront of the unfolding events? What is the turmoil surrounding them? How is God putting people and things into place? How is He communicating with the people involved?
As I read these chapters, I was stuck by how this time of anticipation over two thousand years ago seems so reflective of this time of anticipation that we are living in right now.
For hundreds of years, Jews had anticipated the coming of the Messiah. Their culture, rituals and the Pentateuch all pointed to this impending event. Then comes Mary and Joseph's generation and it actually happens. Take a moment and imagine what they may have felt.
Along with what I can imagine was a fair amount of doubt and wonderment, these two young people stood right in the middle of the biggest revelation of all time. All that they'd heard from their ancestors was now unfolding right in their very own lives.
The Messiah was coming?
Their anticipation was about to become a reality. Maybe not as they had imagined it—who but God would bring the Savior of the world into that same world as an infant first? Have the generations before who'd imagined His coming even contemplated this possibility? Did they assume He would arrive in full form more in a blaze of glory like Elijah left this world?
Now, bring those thoughts full swing to the here and now. This present generation stands in a time of acceleration. More things are being revealed and more signs and wonders are happening than ever before. It is entirely possible that just like Mary, Joseph and those who went before them anticipated the Messiah's coming and then witnessed it, that this generation in similar manner is anticipating the Messiah's return and could wind up witnessing that as well.
Unbelievable? Is it? I say astonishing for sure.
My friends, we stand in anticipation just as Mary and Joseph did. Who knows when Jesus will return—only Abba knows—but I find such striking resemblance right now between us and Mary. Many of us are carrying our hopes and dreams in gestation, waiting for Abba to bring them to term and birth. So let’s walk in Mary and Joseph’s sandals and stand in wonder of what this miraculous birth brought us and praise God for this and the many things He’s birthing in our lives too.
Now, go read the first two chapters of Matthew and take notes. Then come back here and share what stands out most to you. On Saturday, I’ll share some of my own insights as well. I can’t wait to read what you share! I know this will bless all of us too.
Holy Spirit, I ask for a deeper revelation of God’s Word for our community as we seek to draw nearer to Jesus during this time of remembrance and celebration of His birth. Also bring a fresh awareness and appreciation of Christmas to our hearts and inspire us with ways to share this with those around us. We love You so much, Jesus. You are truly the greatest gift we will ever receive. Amen!
Love being on this journey with you, my friends!
Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo
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Marching Around Jericho is a spiritual guide. As you read through the pages, powerful and transformative instruction and equipping takes place. We follow Jesus as he leads us around the walls, imparting kingdom truths with each passing, finally arriving at the gates of the walled-off city, our spouse’s unbelieving heart. After the circles in prayer are complete, we arrive fully prepared to command the walls to crumble and be removed, making a way for our spouse to step from the rubble of lies and captivity, into faith and freedom!