(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Luke Ch. 2 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-21) Several verses in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke are often quoted during the Christmas season. The historical narrative recorded by Luke enables the world to confirm the identity of this baby: Christ our Saviour!
- Time of birth: “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. At that time, Quirinius was appointed governor of Syria, to which the province of Judaea had been annexed for the purpose of a census.”
- Place of birth: Bethlehem; the prophet Micah had said: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2)
- Angel’s Proclamation: The angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
Imagine watching a movie… with a backdrop of the vast expanse of the universe when time stood still…
at the most crucial moment in human history…in the birthplace foretold by an ancient prophet…
From afar and up close, in that space and time, proclaimed by the angels and witnessed by the shepherds, the baby Jesus lay in a manger in Bethlehem. An important person, yet born without pomp and fanfare. The One and Only person who can finish God’s plan of salvation for all nations and for all peoples by bearing the sins of the world. From His birth, death and resurrection, a few objects in the life of Jesus are etched in our minds because of the symbolisms they represent:
- Manger: depicts His humble beginning
- Cross: depicts Christ as He emptied Himself (Philippians 2:6-8)
- Empty Tomb: reaffirms His deity: born in a manager, died on the cross, yet overcoming death once and for all!
Knowing Jesus through these symbols, let us reflect on what these objects represent. Do we have marks on our body, and what do they represent? Would people recognize us as disciples of Christ? When you ask your brothers and sisters today, do they see Jesus in us?
(vv. 22-40) Simeon and Anna were godly people, advanced in years. They were described as:
- Simeon: “…righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
- Anna: as a widow, “She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.”
They were awaiting the coming of the Messiah. Thanks be unto God, Simeon and Anna met Jesus during their lifetime! When Simeon’s hope was satisfied, his life had no regrets. When Anna met Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
We have the same hope. We have met Jesus. As we begin to reflect, do we find satisfaction in life because of Jesus? Do our lives speak to others about Him? Pray that the Lord grants us a fresh set of eyes as we seek Jesus anew every morning!
(vv. 41-52) Whenever I visit a newborn baby in the hospital, I am often reminded of Luke 2:52. “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man”. I would often use this verse as I pray for the infants and bless them. Living life to the fullest requires continual development, growth and progress in its various aspects.
- Wisdom: In addition to studying diligently, we must fear the Lord in all things. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10)
- Stature: In addition to regular physical exercise, we must watch our mental health, keep it from being overly anxious. “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life” (Matthew 6:27)
- Love of God and people: We can start by applying this in our church and in fellowship.
Thanks be unto God, together as the body of Christ we can strive to grow in all areas of our lives. Let us give thanks and praise to God!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)