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Monday, December 10, 2007

So This Is Christmas

I want my children to see that the Bible is more than a collection of stories.  I want them to see that it is more than great literature - poetry and prose.  I want them to see that it is the Word of God and that He is faithful to keep His Word. 

So I had an idea to study the prophecies in the Bible that relate to the birth of Jesus for Christmas.  Then on Christmas day we’ll read the story and see how these prophecies were fulfilled.  We will highlight one prophecy each day as a way to count down the days till Christmas.  This is my alternative to an advent calendar, where you open the 24 little doors, from December 1st through 24th.  You could do this any time of year, with other topics in the Bible, as well.  I found 14 prophecies, so we will start this December 11th.  Here are the verses we will cover – Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:5, Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 2:44, Micah 4:7, II Samuel 7:12-16, Genesis 49:10, Micah 5:2, Genesis 12:3, Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 8:14, Hosea 11:1, Jeremiah 31:15, and Isaiah 53:2-3.  These prophecies range in date from approximately 550 BC to 2200 BC.  I find this fascinating, so many people in different places and different times confirming God’s Word. 

We’re going to read the story out of the Narrated Bible because it places things in chronological order.  These are the references - Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25a, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 1:25b, Luke 2:21-38, Matthew 2:1-23, and Luke 2:40. 

Now in our family we don’t really place a lot of emphasis on Christmas being a celebration of Jesus’ birth.  There is not one place in the Bible that tells us to celebrate His birth.  The disciples didn’t celebrate His birth, nor did the early churches.  Therefore when our reading of the story is done I will ask the kids what is even more important than Jesus’ birth.  With most of our Bible reading I like to bring the focus to the central theme – God’s love for man and His plan of redemption.  The Bible is really a love story and it all points to Jesus.  His birth is not where the story ends; the rest of the story is how He died a most horrific death for something He didn’t even do.  He was innocent, but He took our place and paid our debt.  If Jesus had grown up to be a great teacher we wouldn’t have anything to celebrate.  It is His death and resurrection we celebrate. 

So what does this have to do with health?  Our spiritual health is the most important thing in our lives!  Eating right and exercising mean nothing compared to where we will spend eternity.  We can eat perfectly, but that won’t save our souls.  We can exercise and keep our bodies in tip-top shape, but that won’t save our souls.  This Christmas take some time to reflect on your spiritual health.  Have you received God’s free gift?  We don’t have to work for it, it is free, but we do have to receive it.  I can give you a beautifully wrapped gift, but unless you open it up you won’t experience the joy associated with it. 

How do we receive?  We have to realize our need for a Savior, that we are sinners and that He died to cleanse us (Rom. 3:23).  We must repent and ask God to forgive us of our sins (Luke 13:3).  We must believe in our hearts that Jesus died for us and that God raised Him from the dead and we must confess with our mouths (Rom. 10:9-10). 

I hope this Christmas that you see (along with my children) that God’s Word is true and that God is faithful to perform His Word.  I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  John 3:16  “For God loved the world SO much that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.”

1 comment:

  1. Shannon, you always amaze me :) This article is awsome! Thank you for taking the time to write it!
    Merry Christmas,
    Teresa

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