Advent 2022: Reflect on the Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Published December 24, 2022 by SMBC

As we reach the end of Advent, we encourage you to take a few moments to read and pray your way through Luke 2:1-20, the story of Jesus's birth. It is our prayer that reading this story, whether for the first or five hundredth time, will remind you of God's great love for you.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Reflect and Pray: The most profound act of love began humbly. Joseph cared for his wife as they traveled to fulfill a mundane task. Mary labored to bring her son into the world. And God himself came near to us, as a baby wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger. No flashy decorations. No big gifts. No fancy meals. Pray that, in the midst of all the busy ?doing? that comes with this season, God would help you prioritize "being" His beloved child.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Reflect and Pray: The shepherds were terrified and uncomfortable, but God sent a messenger to speak of joy and fulfilled hope, borne out of His love for His people. God is still speaking into our lives. Pray that God opens your ears to hear words of peace, hope, joy, and love this advent season and throughout the year.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Reflect and Pray: Take a moment to raise your own praises to God. Tell Him the things that make you want to cry out, "Glory to God in the highest heaven."

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.

Reflect and Pray: The shepherds participated in the miracle that was happening. Where do you see God working? Pray that God opens your eyes to see where He is working and that He blesses your hands and feet to join Him doing that work.