NOTE: For the remainder of this month, this blog will be a bit different. Each day, we will present a devotional thought to help center you on the real reason for the season.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,[b] and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities[c] of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
~ Matthew 2:1-12 (NLT)
I don’t know how it is in your family, but I have certain relatives who start asking me in October what I want for Christmas. These same relatives are also not shy about sharing what they would like in return! As a parent, I have further found that whenever my son likes something out of his price-range, he is quick to tell me (even if it is just March) that the item in question would sure make a great Christmas gift.
Funny, how so many of us treat Christmas as if it were our birthday or the birthdays of friends and loved-ones. Why is it that we are so anxious to receive gifts on a day that should have nothing do to with us? After all, Christmas is not our birthday. It is Christ’s. And as I read the Christmas story, I see that He is the one who is receiving gifts on His day not the other way around.
Has Christmas perhaps become gift-centered rather than Christ-centered in your family?
On Christ’s birthday, what gifts did He receive?
What gifts can you give Christ this Christmas?
How can you work at centering on Christ this Christmas and not on the gifts you would like to give or receive?
Thank God for sending Christ that first Christmas
Confess to God, if necessary, making Jesus’ birthday more about you and your family than about Him
Ask God to focus you on the true meaning of Christmas—His Son, Jesus Christ
Ask God to deepen your appreciation for all He has done