Updated: Jan 9
It is hard to believe that Christmas is just one week away! I don't know how it has been for you but the holiday season has really snuck up on me.
As I am reflecting on the birth of Christ, I have decided to share a two-part study series with you all. In it, I will list Bible verses that you can read telling Jesus' story, and then a short personal commentary on what the verses say. I hope that in the days leading up to the big day, this study might be enjoyable for you or your family during your devotional time.
I personally study from the NIV version of the Bible, but feel free to use whatever version you love the most!
Happy Holidays- and thank you so much for supporting my writing journey and reading my content.
Study Part 1- A Savior is Coming
READ Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4
COMMENTARY- As we are introduced to the recollection of the story of Jesus, I am reminded of an interesting fact I learned while studying the validity of the Bible. Historians and scholars consider something credible depending on how many sources it has. For example, if they are looking for proof that a person lived at a certain time, they seek out multiple artifacts mentioning that person. In the Bible, the story of Jesus is told in not one but four different accounts. It seems to me like God was pretty serious about proving to us that Jesus was indeed a real person who came to earth! Many historians who do not believe in God or participate in Christian practices will agree that Jesus was a real person who impacted the people of his time because of the historical proof they have seen.
READ Luke 1:5-25
COMMENTARY- I can't help but feel a bit sorry for Zechariah in these verses because I find his doubt very relatable. His interaction with his angel messenger reminds me of how hard it can be for us as humans to live by faith. Even though the angel said very clearly what was about to take place, Zechariah doubted because of his wife's old age. I used to think that the angel cursed Zechariah by causing him to become mute, but the more I think about it the more I think it was a blessing. Because Zechariah lost his voice, I believe more of his friends and family were impacted by what was taking place. They experienced Zechariah's lack of speech and it made this upcoming birth that more unusual and meaningful. I can imagine that everyone who knew about it was curious about it. What a clever way for God to share the message of his soon coming son.
READ Luke 1:26-38
COMMENTARY- It is fascinating to read about Zechariah's angel experience and parallel it with Mary's. In many ways they were similar. Both of them saw an angel and received unbelievable news. Both of them even asked questions! But there is a subtle difference between Mary's intentions with her question and Zechariah's. Mary takes an attitude of submission and acceptance. On the surface, it almost seems like the angel could've made Mary mute too, but he didn't. I think he was looking at their hearts. I also think, as I mentioned above, that Zechariah's lack of speech was ultimately a blessing. I thought it was interesting that the angel referenced Elizabeth to Mary in his message almost like a reassurance that what he was saying was valid. The timing of both pregnancies was undeniably intentional and in some ways vital to the success of Jesus' coming.
READ Luke 1:39-45
COMMENTARY- This is one of my absolute favorite parts of the story. Can you imagine what a relief it was for Mary to have a friend and relative to confide in? We have to think about the context of this story for a moment. Being pregant without being married was a way bigger deal in Mary's society than it now is in ours. Mary could be stoned for it. As a young woman, I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to be pregnant in a time like that. How do you tell your friends? Your neighbors? Your family? Worst of all... how would she tell Joseph? He would know it wasn't his child. God knew Mary would have all these pressures and concerns in her mind and so he gave her a safe haven in Elizabeth. I can't help but think that her time with Elizabeth gave her the support and confidence to go out and face all those other people. Elizabeth immediately accepted her and knew she was pregnant from God. There was no condemnation and no need for explanation. I can't imagine the relief that helped Mary feel.
READ Luke 1:46-56
COMMENTARY- Mary is a wonderful woman. This passage which my Bible calls, "Mary's Song" is a beautiful monologue of Mary's thoughts and feelings. She puts a lot of emphasis on humility and on God being a sort of rescuer for her and other people like her. Again I can't help but think about the attitude someone in Mary's position could take on. They could be angry, scared, or even proud. But Mary was able to trust God beyond whatever she was feeling. She gave him all the credit. God knew she would take this approach and that is probably why he chose her. I think we as followers of Christ can learn a lot from Mary's attitude. How would we react if God gave us such life-altering news? It is my goal to be able to handle it with as much grace and acceptance as Mary did.