Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 2:10 – When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (ESV)
A childhood memory that has left a permanent imprint on my heart is my father and mother pulling me in my wooden sled through the town streets to purchase our yearly Christmas tree from the downtown Boy Scout lot. As I peered out from under my plaid wool blanket, the snowbanks beside me loomed like mountains, and far above them, the starry sky would cast curious snow shadows all around. On those unforgettable trips, we would search for the biggest star and make a wish together. I am embarrassed to admit that, at such a tender age, my wish was not for world peace, but for a farm set. Alas, under our tree, there was usually a Barbie doll. I never gave up hope, however!
Children wish upon stars and dream of a knight in shining armour, but during this relentless worldwide pandemic, surrounded by chaos and discussions of war and the newest variant of COVID-19, our families struggle to dare to dream of finding hope. Still, night after night, God's stars faithfully shine, and He provides us sure and certain hope of eternal glory in Christ.
Romans 5:5 – And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (NLT)
The Christmas star still shines like a beacon from the past, reminding us that we, like the wise men, have good reason to put our trust in God's promises. We can believe the miracle of Christ's birth: "The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.'" (Matthew 1:23 NLT). The birth of Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled over 300 prophecies — the most convincing validation for the inspiration of the Bible. We have a true knight in shining armour Who came to defeat evil and save us.
Thirty years later, as Jesus hung on the cross, He promised all humanity that whoever repents and asks Him to be their Saviour will be with Him in paradise.
The beauty of Christmas is that those who wish on the star of Bethlehem and trust in Jesus' promise of paradise will abide in peace. They understand that the events impacting our lives today were foretold 3,000 years ago in the Old Testament.
Thankfully, we can believe there will be a happy ending no matter what the world throws our way. For God's love inspired the story of salvation, and He has never broken a promise. So, wish upon the star — Bethlehem — and dream of a knight in shining armour – Jesus — and happy endings — the Promised Land.
Revelation 22:16 – I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. (ESV)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send Your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of Your presence. We are Your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To You, we say, "Come, Lord Jesus!" Amen. – Henri Nouwen