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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#967. Let’s go to Bethlehem - Luke 2:15-16 (25/12/23)

Happy Christmas and today we finish our advent series. There will no devotions until 15th January when we will be resuming our Luke series. 


Today, we reflect on the truth that to enjoy the gifts of God we must keep coming to Jesus (keep going to Bethlehem) because we need the supernatural help that only He can give.


You can listen to this devotional at:


‘When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.’ (Luke 2:15-20) 

Yesterday, we looked at some of the great gifts that God wants us to receive and enjoy; we looked at the promise of less fear, good news that gives great joy, assurance of salvation and peace and favour. God wants us to know and experience these things. These things are recorded for our benefit. The experience of the shepherds and others in this story point to how our lives are to be and today I want us to ask the question: how do I ensure that I’m are enjoying and experiencing these things? 


I think that we can have a number of different approaches to the Christian life that can be very unfulfilling: 

Firstly, we presume that God will do all that’s necessary for our spiritual health and enjoyment; we receive Jesus as Saviour but then keep Him at arms length. Maybe we go to church infrequently and maybe pray and read our Bibles when times are hard, but we are failing to have a living relationship with Him each day. 

Secondly, we can receive Christ but believe that true life and joy are not found in Him and so we fall into sin and compromise. Our lives are displeasing to God as we seek joy away from Him. 

Thirdly, we can imitate the shepherds (and Mary) in our story as they listen to God’s promise and them rush to meet Christ. When the promise of God is met with faith, true transformation happens:


i. Personal impact - They glorified and praised God  with Fresh worship

'When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.’

Like the shepherds, those who go to Christ will return with fresh worship. A true meeting with The Holy Spirit, will revive our worship. If we are to enjoy the great gifts that God offers, let’s go to Christ and be filled with His presence. 


ii. Community impact - Others were impacted  as they spread the word

'When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.’

Another effect of meeting Jesus was a natural sharing of their joy with those who didn’t yet know Jesus. If we ‘go the Bethlehem’ and meet Christ, our communities will be effected. The result will be that we, like them, will speak about Jesus to others.


Today, we’ve reflected on the truth that to enjoy the gifts of God we must keep coming to Jesus because we need the supernatural help that only He can give. As we pass through this Christmas season and approach this New Year, how will you ensure that you keep going to Bethlehem - keep meeting Christ - so as to enjoy and share His gifts? How will you ensure that, like Mary, you continue to ponder and treasure these things so as to know, enjoy and share Jesus with others? 

 

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