Luke 2:1-7

Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!

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At a time when Rome ruled the known world, these events took place.  Romans were looked upon as being like gods.  Yet, born in a grimy stable was a baby who truly was God.

True to Your character and faithfulness, Lord, You orchestrated the events of human history to bring about the fulfillment of Your promises as You brought our Messiah into this world.  Rome’s reign meant taxes must be paid.  A census aided in the collection of those taxes.  This government required each person to be in his or her home town during the census.  So, a decree from an ungodly government brought the parents-to-be to the very town which had been prophesied to be the birth place of the child who would restore godliness to Your creation.

So many of Your followers at that time had been expecting a royal parade with pomp and splendor to herald the arrival of the prophesied King and Messiah.  But Your plan is always perfect and the very best.  You chose to arrive as a dependent human baby born in a filthy stable.  This just highlights another truth about You: You are always at work wherever You are needed–not just in the clean and beautiful areas, but also in the dark and dismal.

You came as a baby, yet You grew up, Jesus.  Let me never only think of You as merely a cute baby on a Christmas card.  You grew up, taught me how to live by Your words and example; then You died for me, so that I might become like You!  Like that song I sang as a child:  “Little Baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem… Little Baby Jesus, born to die, to suffer on the cross for You and for [me]…”  You cried out in the manger-crib and later cried out from the cross …all because of Your love!  Thank You for coming to save me, Jesus!

Luke 1:39-56

Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!

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“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (v 45 NIV)

Here’s Elizabeth speaking a blessing over her cousin, who just received, and wholeheartedly accepted, phenomenal news and a tremendous promise from You, Lord!  (It was a lot like Elizabeth’s own news — yet on an even greater magnitude!)  Elizabeth could see Mary’s submission to Your will for her life.

Father, with every promise You convey to me and every task You call me to carry out as I fulfill Your purpose for me here, make my submission to be so childlike and full as Mary’s.

“I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.  God took one look at me, and look what happened — I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! … His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before Him… He embraced His chosen child, Israel; He remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.” (v 46-48, 50, 54 MSG)

When Your eyes are on me, Your love is conveyed through Your gaze.  When You grafted me into Your kingdom, considering me to be part of “Your people,” I became one of Your chosen children.  Thank You for Your embrace.  Thank You for Your mercy.  Keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Luke 1:26-38

Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!

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“A woman, who trusts God, even when He’s not making sense, will never be disappointed.” — Katherine Boone

THE GREETING

“Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.” (v 28 NIV)

A young girl suddenly encounters a messenger from God … saying such out-of-the-ordinary words for her to hear (based on her reaction described by Luke) … No wonder she wondered about that greeting, seemingly curious about what was behind it.

THE CALMING

“Mary, you have nothing to fear.  God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call His name Jesus.” (v 30-31 MSG)

“Don’t be afraid … You have found favor with God.” (v 30 NIV)

Several times it’s been recorded in Your Word, Lord, where You send a messenger to one of Your followers to let him or her in on what You have designed his or her life to do.  What a wonderfully shocking experience that would surely be!  And here, Mary learns that she’s found favor with You, the God of her people.  It’s not known what she knew of You before this, but definitely, at that particular moment, she could be fully assured that the Creator God of all things had His eye on her and loved her.

THE QUESTIONING

“How will this be … since I am a virgin?” (v 34 NIV)

In previous verses of this chapter, Zechariah had questioned this messenger’s message to him and was taught a lesson.  However, his question, “How can I be sure of this?” reflected his wavering faith in his God.  Whereas, Mary’s question reflected her curiosity in the process with which this awesome God would fulfill His promise.

THE EXPLAINING

” … The Holy Spirit will come upon You and the power of the Most High will overshadow you … For nothing is impossible with God.” (v 35-37 NIV)

When it comes to accomplishing Your will, Lord, You go to whatever lengths it takes to make it happen.  You are God.  All things come from You.  You can do ANYthing!

THE SURRENDERING

“I am the Lord’s servant … May it be to me as You have said.” (v 38 NIV)

She heard Your plan and she knew You, her God, and then she chose to follow You, to submit to Your will for her life.

In my own life, Lord, You have provided many messengers who’ve stepped into my life to convey to me that You are aware of me.  Your will for my life has been shared with me, even through my own questions and ponderings.  You have conveyed that You want to use even me to bless this world, as You work through the person You are making of me to make disciples as I go.

Father, I am Your servant.  May it be to me as You have desired.  May I trust in You whether You’re making sense or not, as You make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Luke 1:1-25

Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!

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“…Do not be afraid…Your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13 NIV)

Time after time, Zechariah had most likely prayed to You about many things, Lord.  Since his wife had been barren for several years, surely some of those prayers contained a plea for a child.  Then, at a particular time in their lives and at just the perfect time in Your plan within human history, You stepped in to answer those prayers with a booming “YES!”

How interesting that a man who had been serving You for so long, had prayed many times in intercession for the people around him, would’ve stood before Your messenger with such phenomenal news and ask, “But how can I be sure?”  Since You hold our belief in You with such high regard, You showed Zechariah that You meant business.  When his tongue was unwilling to confess a trust and belief in Your ability, it was struck speechless.

“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:5-6)

“…And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17 NIV)

Centuries before this encounter, Gabriel was God’s messenger to another man.  To Daniel, he revealed the future messianic times (Daniel 9:20-27 etc.), when the Anointed One would come.  Generations later, You send him again to reveal to Zechariah the dawn of the Messianic age–when Jesus, our Messiah, would come to reach us, ransom us, raise us, and reign over all.

In preparation for this coming One, You chose to send someone to prepare the way.  John’s name means “God has been gracious,” and indeed You have been.  Nothing this human race has done could ever be said to have deserved the act of love You chose to show toward us in Jesus.  Yet, You truly do love us–You love me tremendously more than my imagination can fathom.

Thank You for Your messenger who announced Him, Your herald who prepared for Him, and Your grace which provided Him–a SAVIOR, Jesus my Lord!  Amen.