Week 52: CHRISTMAS VERSES
- NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… plus a revelation of what is to come.
- CONTEXT OF THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS: For this last installment of this year-long blog, I’m sharing my favorite verses related to Christmastime and the significance of the Christchild.
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A and Z Reading Tip: Blessings on you both this Christmas 2013. May all these verses be a blessing to you. My recommendation for memorization would be from John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
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Isaiah 7:14 ~ All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
= Isaiah’s references to the Messiah are not the only ones in the Old Testament , but they are the best known to us. Take time to reflect on the importance of the concept of “Immanuel”.
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 ~ 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness,a light will shine.
6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor,Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
= In Christ, God sheds a light into our lives that helps us see things in a new and more accurate way. This happens not just once, like when we decide to follow Christ, but over and over again. Sometimes it happens when we are going through a dark time in our lives, and God’s presence helps us see our way through it, and sometimes the light comes as we get to know God better; more and more light, more clarity and understanding of the reality God has given us – these things shine increasingly as we draw nearer to God. He is a WONDERFUL counselor… He is mighty and eternal, and He brings us peace of mind and soul.
Micah 5:2 ~ But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.
= Micah lived in the same historical time as Isaiah, the 8th century B.C., and he gave us God’s message that ties Jesus – through Joseph – to the hometown of the beloved King David. See Luke 2:4, below.
Luke 1:26-38 ~ 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.
28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.
30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
= Mary’s vision. Imagine yourself in her shoes (if she wore any!) – how would you react? What does this teenager’s response imply about her trust in God?
Matthew 1:18-21 ~ 18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
= Joseph’s dream. This message from God comes later than Mary’s vision. Did Mary tell him about her vision early on? Or has her pregnancy already become obvious, so that Joseph starts to stress about it? Are people already talking about this? A more literal translation of the Hebrew says, “before they came together she was found to be with child.” Joseph was an unusual man – a good and righteous man (v.19).
The name Jesus has roots in the Hebrew word for saving/salvation.
Luke 1:67-70 ~ 67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy: 68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. 69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, 70 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.
= This is John the Baptizer’s father, but he is referring to the coming Messiah, Who is soon to be born.
Luke 2:4-20 ~ 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
= There it is, the most famous account of the birth of Jesus. Let’s be like the shepherds, unafraid o “tell everyone” about Jesus, and “glorifying and praising God” for all the things we see Him doing.
John 1:1-5 ~ In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
= John calls Jesus “the Word”, the Logos, the primary thought and concept of all things – creativity itself, life-giving light. He is with God and He is God.
John 1:9-16 ~ 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn — not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15 John [the Baptizer] testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'” 16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
= And this life-giving Logos came to be with human beings and offered us a connection with God. He was full of grace and truth unfailing love and faithfulness (“grace and truth”). And John experienced Him personally, experiencing one gracious blessing after another. May this be true for you, too!
Colossians 1:15-20 ~ 15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
= This passage, written by Paul or his followers, has a lot in common with John’s thoughts above. In Him all things hold together, and He is supreme over all God’s creation, which He miraculously redeemed through the mysterious event at the Cross. He is our Lord. The babe from Bethlehem is the Lord of all creation.
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Thank You, God, for Your Word – both written and living.
Thanks for the Scriptures and thanks for Jesus.
May He be “born anew” in my heart this Christmas season.
By Your Spirit, please help me stay in Your Word so I can slowly and surely come to know and love You more and more – that I may not only receive but also give “one gracious blessing after another” (Jn 1:16), throughout my life.
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