Wonder: Christmas isn't Over

How do you feel when Christmas is over? Some are thrilled that they survived awkward and tense family gatherings, while others are grieved by the impending timeline of leaving their loved ones once again. Some are relieved that the stress of preparation of cooking and shopping and decorating has ended in success, while others are disappointed about all the ways their expectations did not materialize in reality.

Whether excited or disappointed, we now have this feeling that the season is done.

But what, then, do we do with the biblical Christmas stories? Do we wait another year before we revisit them?

The beauty of the Advent and Christmas season is that we push ourselves once a year to reflect on the coming of our Savior. The downside is that we do this only once a year. We shove these stories that explode with wonder into the small box of a few weeks, and expect to squeeze all the reflection out of them during that time. 

Can I encourage all of us to keep exploring them? To continue to see the way these stories of waiting and wonder and worship speak to our lives? Can we acknowledge that our souls ache for our Messiah in February just as much as they do in December?

I'd love to end this wonder series with a recap of where we have been this month. Perhaps you can bookmark this post and come back to it in March, when you feel those feelings of longing, and desire those feelings of wonder, but aren't sure where to go with them.

Thank you to everyone who has read and participated in this Advent series. It has impacted me in so many ways to not only reflect on these stories myself, but read the perspective of others that I was lucky enough to host on this site.

Here is a recap. If you missed some of the posts, perhaps you would like to go back and take a look?

Now, I would love to hear from you. Which of these posts impacted you post during this season? Is there another Advent post from another site that touched your heart?

Let's not let Advent end in December. Our longing for a Savior continues all year long.

Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.

Wonder: He is Here!

I had many grandiose ideas about what the Christmas Day post should be in this Advent series.  

But nothing felt quite right.

 

What can I say about this story of Jesus coming to earth beyond what has already been said?

 

Yesterday I celebrated Christmas Eve by posting prophecies of the Messiah’s coming. Today I would like to celebrate Christmas by posting stories of the Messiah's arrival.

 

The words of the biblical Christmas stories may be familiar, but would you take the time to read them, and really take them into your heart and soul today?

 

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:26-38

 

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. – Matt 1:18-25

 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – Luke 2:1-20

 

Our Messiah is born. May today be a time of worship and joy as we celebrate the birth of Immanuel, Jesus, our Savior.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.

Wonder: Prophecy of His Coming

The years and years of waiting for the Messiah were not silent.  

The prophets filled those waiting years with words about whom their Savior would be, how He would be born, and what He would come to do. Their words would have filled the Israelites with anticipation of what it would be like when the Messiah finally came.

 

On this Christmas Eve, the final day of anticipation before celebrating the Savior’s birth, instead of reading my words, let’s read some of these words written about Jesus before He ever came.

 

Some of these prophecies speak words about what Jesus did when He arrived on earth and lived as a human. Some speak about what He will do when He comes back to this earth again.

 

 

Old Testament prophecies should fill us with wonder at the greatness of the One Who came to save us.

 

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. – Genesis 3:15

 

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. – Genesis 49:10

 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

 

The people walking in darkness     have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness     a light has dawned. - Isaiah 9:2

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7

 

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. – Isaiah 11:1-5

 

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior." – Jeremiah 23:5-6

 

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. - Micah 5:2

 

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our Messiah. The fulfillment of these prophecies has begun.

 

That is the wonderful news of Christmas.

 

Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.

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