When I was growing up, like most kids, Christmas was all about the gifts! I can only remember a few disappointments, one of which was our stockings. My mom didn’t allow us to have sweets, so she stuffed our stockings with apples, oranges and sugar-free gum. Since we couldn’t have sugar, guess what I always fantasized would fill my stocking? Yep. Candy! I really wanted and hoped one of those plastic mesh stockings full of candy. Remember those?
Under the tree, my sister and I would have several smaller gifts to open, mostly practical things we needed, and then one “big” gift each – the one we anticipated, savored all year and remembered forever!
Whether it was our stocking or presents under the tree, our parents gave us what they determined was best or needed; I wanted what would satisfy my flesh! There’s all kinds of spiritual truth behind that statement, isn’t there?!?! God’s like that with us as His children: He always gives us exactly what we need, and sometimes He delights us with what we want.
As I sought to prepare my heart for Christmas this year, to anchor my focus on Jesus and the very real, every day implications of His birth, I ended up in the first chapter of Luke. Like digging around underneath my childhood tree, God revealed piles of presents in the form of truths just waiting for us to unwrap and receive them – make our own – as we learn to know and love God more and really believe Him! There are “smaller gifts” and some “bigger” ones. Every single one is what we need and every single one is a truth to savor and remember forever. Over the next few days leading up to Christmas morning, I pray these gifts of God’s word encourage you and give you hope, especially if you’re facing your own form of impossible, like Elizabeth and Mary!
Let’s start by reading the passage together. Will you take a moment to read it in your own Bible or you can link to the chapter here.
As an eyewitness and minister of the Word, it seems good to Luke, “having a perfect understanding of all things from the very first , to write to you an orderly account…that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (verse 2-4). It is an account of “those things which have been fulfilled among us” (verse 1). But Luke 1 isn’t just a historical account of a story back then; it’s a story with profound implications for our relationship with the Father now!
We’re actually going to pull out the big gifts from under the tree first. These “big gifts” are the context for all the others – like opening an American Girl doll first and then opening the furniture, clothing and accessories that go with her! Opening the doll first makes everything else make sense. In the same way, these truths provide the context for the rest of the gifts under the tree and are foundational for our relationship with the Father as we see His goodness, power and faithfulness to accomplish His plan for saving us!
Here are the “big gifts” or over-arching truths of Luke 1:
- God says what He’s going to do and does what He says so we will believe and rejoice in a God who makes all things possible;
- God’s purpose and plan for us precedes our birth – both our physical birth and our spiritual re-birth;
- God’s word is certain and He is able to bring it to pass no matter what insurmountable obstacles appear to make it impossible;
- What God conceives He brings forth – naturally and spiritually.
Set these gifts before you. Look at them. Consider them. Admire them. Think about how they will make a difference in your life. Thank the Giver for His great wisdom and generosity to know this is exactly what you needed, even if you didn’t know to put them on your wish list this year. Savor them.
I think that’s all we’ll open for today, but we’re just getting started. The tree is overflowing!
I do hope you’ll come back tomorrow. It’s no fun without you! Together, we’ll dig under our tree and discover more gifts of God’s word. We’ll also clean up the mess together. Just like opening gifts creates a lot of trash, God’s word often reveals “messes” in our hearts and lives that He wants to clean up, so as we go, we’ll ask ourselves some hard questions based on what the scripture says. Let’s answer honestly, not with what we know we’re supposed to say, but with where we really are so God can take us where He wants us to be. Many times hard questions open the door for honest answers that usher in repentance and humble obedience.
May the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus be tangibly real to you in this moment, this day, this season. Seek Him, for the Father promises:
You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
Do you know someone who needs some encouragement in the Lord this Christmas season? Will you share this message with them or on your social media? Let’s spread some real holiday cheer, the kind that can last the whole year long! Also, if you’d like new posts to come directly to your inbox, you can enter your email up at the top right of this page where it says “Sign Up!” For this series, you may receive an email every day, but after this series closes with Christmas, you’ll only receive one email a week (and only when there’s something new to share).