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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Today’s scripture reading:
The astrologers traveled thousands of miles to see the king of the Jews. When they finally found him, they responded with joy, worship, and gifts. This is different from the approach people often take today. We expect God to come looking for us, to explain himself, prove who he is, and give us gifts. But those who are wise still seek and worship Jesus today, not for what they can get, but for who he is.
The astrologers brought gifts and worshiped Jesus for who he was. This is the essence of true worship—honoring Christ for who he is and being willing to give him what is valuable to you. Worship God because he is the perfect, just, and almighty Creator of the universe, worthy of the best you have to give. (NLT)
Matthew 2:1-11 – Jesus was born in the town of 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 have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him.”
Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. “Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?” he asked them.
“In Bethlehem,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
Then Herod sent a private message to the wise men, asking them to come see him. At this meeting he learned the exact time when they first saw the star. 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. Once again the star appeared to them, guiding 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 where the child and his mother, Mary, were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Tim Tate (Virginia) titled his story “A GIFT GIVEN;” here is a portion of Tim’s story:
“I vividly remember one December 23rd when a friend stopped by with a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, I did not have one to give in return. I had already purchased all my Christmas gifts, and she had not been on my list. I awkwardly invited her in and opened the gift. I thanked her, we talked, and she left with empty hands.
“. . . Just then, an internal voice reminded me of how much my situation was like what we all encounter in God’s gift that we celebrate and receive at Christmas.
“We can never repay God’s gift of Christ. Often we try to make it up to God by doing good deeds, regularly attending church, and seeking to grow spiritually. Sometimes we feel so unworthy that we resist God’s grace. But in the end we realize that a gift is a gift. Gifts do not demand repayment; they are freely given out of love. All we can do is accept God’s gift with joy, then allow that gift – Jesus Christ – to become a part of who we are.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – What does the gift of the Christ child mean to me?
Prayer: Dear God, may we freely receive the greatest gift ever with thanksgiving and love. Amen.
Prayer Focus: RECEIVING GRACE
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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