Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Luke 2:8–20 in the English Standard Version. Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Luke mentioned the manger twice in the text this week, and three times in the whole chapter (starting at verse one). This is because the manger points to something amazing. It points the child who is Jesus. When the shepherds heard what had taken place from the angels, they immediately took action and went to find this child for themselves. Sometimes we get caught up in the manger itself and forget the purpose of what it was meant to be. It was always meant to be a sign. The strength of your faith is not in the signs themselves, but in the One whom the signs point to—Jesus Christ. The strength of the Christmas story is not simply in Jesus being a baby, but the miracle of the Incarnation. Emmanuel—God is with us. The strength of the story is not that the chapter has ended, but that the book is not over, God was with us, He is with us, and He promises to return to be fully with us again. Meanwhile, He will help to shape us until that moment—as long as we allow Him to do so.
This is why I love how Luke describes what Mary's response to this moment was (Luke 2:19). She stored the memories in her heart. She treasured them. She pondered them.
There are so many great memories that we treasure. No painting, no photo, no video, nothing can really capture any of these. They exist in our memories alone. You would have had to have been there, we say. We all have memories like these. Memories shared with a close friend or loved one. These memories are worth storing in your heart—and every Christmas needs to be one of those. And every Christmas can be, if you answer this question—what child is this? If your answer is Jesus—and your eyes are on Him—you will want to store those moments up through your journey as a disciple. That is my wish for you and for your loved ones this Christmas season.
Recalibrate: Whom should you create a moment with today?
Respond: Pray for the joy of Jesus in every moment of life you have.
Research: Read one of the recommend commentaries on any of the chapters from this week.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
The shepherds went back to taking care of their sheep after seeing the baby Jesus, but they returned with thanksgiving and praise in their hearts. Pray “Thank you, Jesus, for…” prayers with your child throughout the day.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
What do you think it means to be thankful? How can you show that you are thankful without saying words? Think of some creative ways to be thankful.
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
When was the last time you really felt thankful? Do you think that thankfulness is a natural response or that sometimes it takes some intentionality to show your thankfulness? How are you going to express thankfulness today?