There are days when it’s wise for us to stop and look and listen. Some people schedule such days once a month. Others make time once in every season of the year to consider their lives. Whatever the frequency, we place everything else on hold during these times, thinking through where we have been, where we are, and where we want to go. We scrutinize our lives, examine Scripture, and spend extended time in prayer as we gain a clearer sense of what God is doing in our lives and what He has for us in the future. As the new year rolls around, take some time for reflection and renewal.
Have you ever been given a gift you needed but didn’t want? We’ve all received disappointing gifts. But there are gifts, which never disappoint. They’re often unseen gifts like forgiveness, compassion, grace, understanding, and kindness. And they’re priceless.
We’re all familiar with the familiar saying that familiarity breeds contempt. This is not always true; sometimes, familiarity breeds boredom. And boredom is the real danger we face when we approach the Christmas story. It’s so familiar, our minds just hit the highlights, because we think we’ve already plumbed the depths of every detail. But if we could approach the nativity as if we’ve never read it before, we’d discover something new and exciting—we’d discover the birth of Jesus is a gift too wonderful for words.
If you aren’t Jewish, then you’re what the Bible calls a “Gentile.” Most folks who follow the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, are just that—Gentiles. And as Gentiles, most of us don’t always understand Jewish Scripture, the Old Testament. This is particularly true when it comes to reading the prophetic books of the Bible. However, it’s helpful to keep in mind that the Old Testament makes the first announcements of Messiah’s coming and ministry. And few prophetic books have more prophecies about Messiah Jesus than the book of Isaiah.
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