Years ago my husband started a Christmas tradition where he gives me a nativity set every year. He searches for nativities that are made from different materials — porcelain, wood, pewter, or even glass.
When I set out my collection of creches, I ponder each person’s perspective. Joseph doesn’t have a single word recorded in Scripture, yet he was the faithful man God chose to raise the Christ-child with Mary. Similarly, the shepherds play a seemingly “lesser role,” yet they teach us the importance of coming to worship the King.
And then there’s the wise men, who traveled a great distance to lay eyes on the promised Messiah and bring Him gifts. Though prominent in every nativity scene, we know they didn’t actually arrive until sometime later. After the angels sang and the shepherds came, the wise men traveled another two years before reaching the young King in Bethlehem.
I often wonder . . .
Were they wise because they understood the significance of the new star in the sky?
Or were they wise because of who they journeyed toward?
Can we be as wise today?
Can we stay the course when the road is long?
I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we don’t have to ride a camel across a desert to find Jesus. All we need to do is open our Bibles. He’s right there. On every page.
As we near a new year, we often make certain plans for change.
But all resolutions aside, most Decembers I spend some time thinking about which books of the Bible I’ll want to study in the coming year. I may even try to read the whole Bible in 365 days. Some years I’ve made it all the way through Revelation, and some years I haven’t. (Thank you, Leviticus!)
A Bible reading plan can be helpful as it removes some of the guesswork each day when we open the Word, because we already know what we’re going to read. But a plan can become a taskmaster, too, with unrelenting expectations to check the box and say, “There, I’ve read my Bible today.”
That’s not why we read God’s Word though. We read it to know Jesus better, to know why He came, and why we need Him so. To know why Christmas is made beautiful.
Because Christ came, we can be redeemed.
The Bible isn’t always the easiest book to read, but when we’re willing to wait for a deeper understanding to come — just as we’re willing to wait until Christmas morn to open our gifts — God is faithful to reveal more of Himself to us through the pages of His Word.
The wise men may have needed two years to journey toward Jesus. Thankfully, we won’t need that long to understand the major parts of the Bible, but we do want to be committed for the long haul. The beauty of God’s Word is so wonderfully deep that we could spend a lifetime mining its depths and still find new gems each day. Every day is another step in the journey toward our true home with our Father.
As you prepare your hearts and your home to celebrate Christ this Christmas, perhaps spend a few minutes asking Him which journey (or journeys?) He’d like you to take through His Word this coming year.
by Denise J. Hughes, author of Deeper Waters
Many wonderful Bible Reading Plans are available, but here’s one I’d like to share with you today.
This Bible Reading Plan is a free downloadable PDF. Just for you. Merry Christmas, friends!
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