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Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent Day 9: The Christmas Stars

Day 9: The Christmas Stars

Meditation (3-5 Minutes)
Begin by being still before God.  Read Psalms 139:23-24 and meditate on the words.

Ps 139:23-24 (NIV)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

1)    Be still and know he is God. 
2)    Sit quietly and let God search you and know your heart.
3)    Give God your anxious thoughts.
4)    Offer God any offensive way in you.
5)    Listen as God leads you in the way everlasting.

Prayer (5-10 Minutes)

1)    Ask God to speak to you during this devotional time.

2)    Requests of the Christ Child (Appendix 1):
a)    Ask God to show you the role he has planned for you this Christmas. 
b)    Ask God to remove anything that is blocking you from fulfilling that role.
c)    Think about the roles you play at Christmas for your family, church, and employer.  Turn to Appendix 1 and ask God to help you with each.
d)    Appendix 1:  Pray and update. 

3)    Gifts from the Christ Child (Appendix 2):
a)    Thank God for Christmas. 
i)    For the first Christmas.
ii)    For this Christmas. 
iii)    For all the Christmas’ in the middle.
b)    Think about the things other people do for you at Christmas. 
i)    Thank God for the people that play a role in your Christmas.
ii)    Turn to Appendix 2 and list them 

4)    Gifts to the Christ Child (Appendix 3):
a)    Offer yourself to Christ this Christmas. 
i)    Offer to be his servant at home.
ii)    Offer to be his servant at church.
iii)    Offer to be his servant in your place of employment.
iv)    Offer to be his servant in the world.
b)    Appendix 3: Pray and update.

5)    Ask God for knowledge of his will for you this Christmas and the power to carry it out. 

6)    Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.

Bible Study (10-15 Minutes)

God was the director of “The Very First Christmas.”  He promoted the event for centuries.  In fact, people had heard about it for so long that many forgot to look for it.  God himself played three staring roles.  As Father, he planned his family.  He picked a mother for his son.  He sent a messenger to tell her the good news.  As Holy Spirit, he came upon this special young woman and the “Power of the Most High” overshadowed her so the “Holy One” could be born.  As Jesus, he came as a baby to save the world. 
God selected the rest of his cast carefully.  He used ordinary people in the process of living their lives.  He used priests, world leaders, and astronomers.  Some played the role of “Good Guy” and some “Bad Guy.”  God even allowed angels to star in his production. 

Background Scripture

Open to the books of Luke and Matthew.  There were many roles played in “The First Christmas” production.  Below, we will examine the personality and character traits of the stars from the very first Christmas.  As you read briefly about each star, write what you think he or she was like.  For example, Mary was bright, inquisitive, humble, fearful, and obedient.  Zachariah was righteous and faithful.  He had a servant’s heart but a stubborn head.  As you write about each person, think about your own personality and character traits.  Who are you like?  Could have used you in his production? 

Angel Gabriel

Read Luke 1:13 and Luke 1:30.  Describe the nature of God’s chosen angel. (Write your answer in your journal.)

Read Luke 1:19-20.  Gabriel was kind but no wimp.  Zachariah confronted Gabriel and demanded evidence of his words.  Describe how Gabriel responded.  On whose authority did he act?  What “proof” did he give Zachariah? (Write your answer in your journal.)

Elizabeth and Zachariah

Read Luke 1:6.  Describe Elizabeth and Zachariah’s character.  Who were they?  What kind of people did God choose to give birth to the forerunner of his son?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Where Elizabeth and Zachariah perfect?  What mistakes did they make?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Mary the Mother

Read Luke 1:26-30 and 46-55.  To her friends and family, Mary may have seemed ordinary.  We know Mary was extraordinary.  What kind of woman did God chose to mother his son?  (Write your answer in your journal.)


Read Matthew 1:19, 24.  Poor Joseph.  Imagine his agony when he found the love of his life, Mary, was expecting.  Describe him and his response to this difficult news.  (Write your answer in your journal.)

The Shepherds

Read Luke 2:8-20.  What kind of men where the shepherds?  How do you think they dressed?  What economic level do you think they were?  How did they respond to God’s instructions?  (Write your answer in your journal.)


Read Luke 2:25-36.  Another simple priest played a humble and prophetic role in God’s production.  What was Simeon like?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Prophetess Anna

Read Luke 2:36-38.  What role did Anna play?  What do you think she was like?  Why do you think we read about Anna in the Bible?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

King Herod

Read Matthew 2:3-5, 7-8, 16.  Every good story has to have “Bad Guy.” Describe the “Bad Guy” of “The Very First Christmas.”  (Write your answer in your journal.)

>u>The Wise Men

Read Matthew 2:1, 9-12.  Here, we see God using people that are very different from the other stars.  Their race, religion, and culture were probably different from Mary and Joseph.  What were the Wise Men like?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

God’s Christmas productions did not end with “The Very First Christmas.”  There has been over 2,000 sequels of “This Christmas.”  Christians have celebrated the birth of Jesus for over 2,000 years.  Year after year, people from each generation play a role in “This Christmas.”  Our good guys have names like St. Nicholas, Mother Teresa, and Lottie Moon.  Modern day bad guys may resemble “The Grinch” or leaders of terrorist countries. 

We celebrate Christmas because we have been given a savior called Christ the Lord.  We are blessed by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  In our Father’s eyes, we are perfect.  God gives us so much.  To whom much is given, much is required.  (Luke 12:48.)  What is your role “This Christmas? 

Application (5-10 Minutes)

1)    Making It Personal
a)    Which of the stars from “The Very First Christmas” are you most like?  Are you a good guy or a bad guy?  Are you a combination of several or are you like none of them?  (Write your answer in your journal.)
b)    Think about your Christmases.  Who are the “Good Guys and Bad Guys” from them?  (Write your answer in your journal.)
i)    Praise God for the “Good Guys.”
ii)    Ask God to help you forgive the “Bad Guys.”
c)    Are you worthy to play a role in God’s production of “This Christmas?”  What would make you more worthy?  (Write your answer in your journal.)
d)    Are you willing play a role in God’s production of “This Christmas?”  What role is he casting you for?  Remember that each year, the roles change.  Listen to God and think outside the box.  God seldom asks the expected.  (Write your answer in your journal.)

2)    Praying Continuously  (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
a)    Every time you see the color red, thank God for his production of “The Very First Christmas.” 
b)    Every time you see the color green, ask God to reveal your role in “This Christmas.”

3)    Ending The Day
a)    On this day, did you play a role in “This Christmas?” 
b)    Were you a “Good Guy” or “Bad Guy?” 
c)    If necessary, confess and ask forgiveness.
d)    Ask God if you owe anyone an apology. 
e)    Think about the things other people did for you today. 
f)    Praise God for them.

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