Weekly Devotionals – 25 December 2023

Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus begins with the indication of the time and circumstances surrounding His birth. He was born during the reign of Augustus Caesar and when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. It was at that time that a census for the purpose of tax was ordered by the emperor. As prophesied in Micah 5:2, Jesus’ birth took place in Bethlehem. This census made it needful for Joseph to take Mary and journey from Galilee, a town in Nazareth to Judea.

Though Mary was in the final stage of her pregnancy, they had to make the long and arduous journey, arriving at Bethlehem known as the city of David. In biblical times, the inn was an open concept, it was just an open sleeping area for everybody. The inn was full and there was no more room for Joseph and Mary. So, they had to go to what seems to have been a stable referred to in Luke’s Gospel as a ‘manger.’ This was possibly constructed from a natural cave. And in the privacy of the cave, Jesus was born to Mary. It may appear strange to us that not even the inn had room to accommodate the Saviour’s birth. The angel had spoken of Christ’s glorious coming into humanity, yet there was no place to which He could be born. So, in the unhygienic environment of the manger, Jesus was born, but the parents made sure He was safe by wrapping Him in clothes. And there in that manger, the Lord Jesus laid His sweet head.  

Although we read of the magi’s visit from Matthew 2:1-12, we are told that they saw the Saviour in a house. It was likely that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus moved into a house shortly after Christ’s birth. Luke tells us that it was a group of shepherds that were first told of the birth. For they were out in the field nearby watching their flocks when an angel of the Lord appeared and stood before them. Then a flood of glorious light shone around. And they were startled and frightened. But the angel then told them of the great news of the Saviour’s birth in the city of David. The angel said in no uncertain terms that He is the Saviour, Christ the Lord. They were told where the Baby Jesus was, wrapped in cloth in a manger. Immediately a heavenly host appeared, saying “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” The shepherds left the field immediately and went and found Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in the manger. They made known the statement of the angels and those who heard it wondered. But Mary kept pondering those words in her heart. 

The point cannot be missed. This account is included to enforce the truth that the real Saviour of the world was not Augustus Caesar. Neither will it be any great world leader. Christ Jesus the Lord is the real Saviour. He is the Son of God who came into this world in human flesh. He came through Mary’s womb and lived and died as a human. But He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is now seated at God’s right hand. Christ’s incarnation is real. Because of what Jesus went through, we now have a High Priest who can fully understand our plight.  Our Lord and Saviour know exactly what we feel in our experiences because He has completely identified with us in every way. We can draw near to Him with confidence. He came that we might find the solution to our struggles, peace in our fears, and life in our pursuit. He know exactly where we are and what we are going through. He understands and He wants to see us through!

Monday – Matthew 1:23
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

Tuesday – Matthew 1:21b
…you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

Wednesday – Isaiah 9:6-7
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Thursday – John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Friday – John 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Saturday – John 1:18
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Sunday – Matthew 2:11
After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

All Scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995.
By Pastor Clarence Goh