I'd like to do something different with our family this year during the last week before Christmas, and have us read part of the Christmas story together each night. Where would you suggest we begin reading? — Z.B.
I commend you for wanting to turn your family's attention to the birth of Jesus during these next few days. It's easy today to lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas, but your plan will do much to restore it. After all, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago, and that event should be at the heart of every Christmas celebration.
Let me suggest you begin by reading some passages from the Old Testament that foretold the coming of the Messiah into the world. The Old Testament includes dozens of these remarkable prophecies, and for hundreds of years people looked forward to their fulfillment. You might, for example, read Isaiah 9:1-7 one evening and Micah 5:2-4 the next.
Then turn to the narrative of Jesus' birth as it is recorded in the New Testament. Luke 1:26-38 and Matthew 1:18-24 tell of the angelic announcements to Mary and Joseph, while Luke 2:1-7 tells of His birth in the town of Bethlehem. Luke 2:8-20 continues the story, telling of the angel's announcement to the shepherds and their visit to Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1-12 recounts the visit of the wise men, who came hundreds of miles to worship the Messiah.
Most of all, remember why Jesus came. John 3:16 tells us: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." May you respond by putting your faith and trust in Him.